Baptist volunteers minister amid ‘unimaginable’ suffering along Ukrainian border
Maryland Christian Travels 4,400 Miles To Encourage Ukrainian Refugee Families (+podcast)
Wednesday, June 8 2022 by Richard D. Hunt
“Being Ukrainian and seeing the injustice that was happening, it just broke my heart. My heart still isn’t settled, knowing everything that is going on, knowing all these innocent people that – one day they’re living their normal lives – and the next day everything that they know and are familiar with is just taken away.” So when an SBC opportunity to travel to a Ukrainian refugee center in Poland was made available, Victoria Kolosey said, “It was just kind of a no-brainer,” a gift from God.
Victoria’s home church in Baltimore, Kingsville Baptist Church, has a large number of members of Slavic descent, many from the former Soviet Union and Ukraine. “We are very true to our culture. We love our culture. So when everything happened, we didn’t think about it, we had to do something, we had to help.” The church is very active in financially assisting refugees and plans to support those who come “to start life in America.”
Arriving at a major refugee center in Warsaw, Poland, Victoria noticed something that hadn’t been reported much in the media. Some of the refugees who had made it to safety across the border were also returning to Ukraine and then back to Poland now and then, despite the risks, to check on family members who remained. “If anything meant the most, it was family.”
And “a lot of refugees were just kind of hopeful that they’d be able to return home and stay with their families and not have to start a new life in other countries.”
The Russian invasion has created millions of refugees and displaced families. And the war is causing extensive trauma.
“There was one woman that we had talked to had come out of Bucha, and the story she told…she lived in the basement of her own house for weeks and when they left they were kind of scared that they were going to be under fire from the Russian soldiers. So a lot of these families, they left as quickly as they could. There was no time to even think or comprehend. They grabbed whatever they had, pets, clothes, minimal money and they just left” hoping to make it to safety.
It was “just kind of crazy to see how many mothers and children there are – and then also, elderly. And it was just incredibly sad to see everybody escape from their homes and not knowing what to do.”
What did Victoria do to encourage and comfort the refugees she met? “Honestly, my approach to this was just to meet them where they were. I could never begin to try to understand what they went through, to understand the terror and the fear that they had in them.” In what was often a ministry of presence, “I just let them talk. And a lot of times I found that I was silent because they had so much on their hearts, there was so much in their souls just to say, somebody needed just to cry with, just to sit there and pray and give them encouragement.”
Victoria is American-born. Her mother is Ukrainian, her father is Belarusian, and she grew up speaking some Russian, which came in handy on her mission as Russian is a prominent language in parts of Ukraine.
One thing really stood out to Victoria. “So many of them are just so hopeful…that what is right will be right and it’ll just happen that way.” Much of the hope comes through faith, “they did have hope that God would show his way through all of this.” She also noted, “there’s such a lack of anger towards the situation,” which Victoria and those she traveled with found very inspiring. Many refugees were learning that the only thing they could count on for certain was God, “somebody that is stable, that is always there…and that’s God… they knew that God wouldn’t fail them.”
We asked Victoria a theoretical question. If she had 10 minutes for a face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin, what would she tell him? You’ll hear her bold, passionate, from-the-heart response in our complete interview podcast just below.
Collected $550. This year it will go toward helping a church in Irpin, Kiev region. Ukraine. The city was occupied by Russians and one of the shells hit the church building and was severely damaged. All Sunday school supplies were burned. Their Pastor Victor Munko is asking for help in replacing Sunday school supplies.
Children of our church will send packages with Sunday school supplies and toys to that church for church members and community. There are three bins downstairs – you can also help with donations. We need at least 5 packages to get more favorable shipping costs. Please spread the word.
Pastor Andrew Goins is working on raising funds to fix the building of the church.
Thanks to everyone who donated so generously and helped with the packing.
We sent 10 parcels full of Sunday school supplies, toys, games, arts and crafts materials, and, of course, tasty snacks.
The parcels were delivered for shipment to Ukraine last week. They are expected to arrive in about 6 weeks.
Five parcels were sent to Irpin (Kyiv region) to the New Community Bible Church. Their church building was severely damaged during shelling by the Russian invaders. Their Sunday school classrooms and supplies were burned and destroyed by an explosion and fire. Their pastor, Victor Munko, pleaded for help in replenishing their Sunday School supplies. In addition, he asked for other materials that they can use in their children’s ministries. The Church hosts a community center and is very involved with children and teenagers from neighboring communities. Because of their outreach, many children are hearing the Word of God for the first time. 96% of the children who come are from non-Christian families and are now coming daily to the church where they study the bible, play, and enjoy Christian fellowship.
The other 5 parcels were sent to Rivne to the Mission of Light of Hope. The mission is to bring God’s Word to deaf people in Ukraine and other countries of the former USSR. Their director, Leonid Mulik, visited our church together with his son Ivan visited a few years ago. Speaking with Leonid on the phone, he shared that these were very difficult times for the Deaf as they are especially vulnerable during the COVID pandemic and now in the time of war. In normal times, Leonid and other brothers regularly visit deaf communities and churches. Unfortunately, their visits became less frequent due to COVID restrictions, but the mission remains. He said that deaf people are in need of encouragement in their Christian walk and greatly enjoy it when their Christian brothers and sisters visit and fellowship with them. Because of the war, the mission is now also helping and distributing supplies to Ukrainian refugees that have moved to Rivne from war zones.
Victor Munko and Leonid Mulik have expressed their thanks to our church and wish our church God’s blessings.
Children and youth ministries.
Как многие из вас знают, дети решили использовать деньги которые они собрали во время VBS для отправки посылок в Украину. Дети и молодежь остались после церкви и упаковали посылки.
Спасибо всем, кто так щедро пожертвовал и помог с упаковкой.
Мы отправили 10 посылок с принадлежностями для воскресной школы, школьными принадлежностями, игрушками, играми, материалами для творчества и, конечно же, вкусными закусками.
Пять посылок были отправлены в Ирпень (Киевская область) в Библейскую Церковь Новых Кварталов. Здание церкви сильно пострадало во время обстрела русскими оккупантами. Kлассы воскресной школы и принадлежности были сожжены и уничтожены взрывом и пожаром. Их пастор, Виктор Мунько попросил о помощи в пополнении запасов воскресной школы. Кроме того, он попросил другие материалы, которые они могут использовать в своих детских служениях. Церковь активно работает с детьми и подростками из соседних общин. Благодаря их работе многие дети впервые слышат Слово Божье. 96% детей которые приходят являются детьми из нехристианских семей. Они ежедневно приходят в церковь, где изучают Библию, играют и наслаждаются христианским общением.
Остальные 5 посылок были отправлены в Ровно в Миссию “Свет Надежды” которая работает c глухим людьми в Украине и других странах бывшего СССР. Их директор Леонид Мулык посетил нашу церковь вместе со своим сыном Иваном несколько лет назад. В разговоре с Леонидом по телефону он поделился, что это были очень тяжелые времена для глухих, поскольку они особенно уязвимы во время пандемии COVID, а теперь и во время войны. В обычное время Леонид и другие братья регулярно посещают общины и церкви глухих. К сожалению, их визиты стали реже из-за ограничений связанных с COVID. Он сказал, что глухие люди нуждаются в ободрении в своем христианском хождении и очень радуются когда их братья и сестры-христиане навещают их и общаются с ними. Из-за войны миссия теперь также помогает и раздает гуманитарную помощь украинским беженцам, которые переехали в Ровно из зон боевых действий.
Виктор Мунько и Леонид Мулык выразили благодарность нашей церкви и желают нашей церкви Божьих благословений.
Спасибо еще раз.