A report from Marek and Marta of Chosen People Ministries Poland
People stand in lines kilometres long at the borders awaiting clearance. Lines change into crowds at the train station, with 2800 people going out on each train but not knowing what to do next. Up to 150,000 refugees were going into Poland daily, and also many to Slovakia and Romania, Germany, Italy and other southern European countries.
The Polish government didn’t appear to have any systematic help however every single refugee is helped and taken care of by local people.
Our ministry has worked closely with the Cracow-based Polania Foundation with financial and logistics help. And together with them, and also help from Celebrate Messiah in Australia, CPM Canada and CPM Global Ministries, we are sending aid to our brothers in Lviv, Chmielnicki and Usgorot (near Slovakia). There are very well organised synagogues and few churches that not only receive help but also give help to others.
We are working closely with CPM Finland, who have bought a 9-seater car that will be used to help bring people out of Ukraine. The aim is to take Jewish people first, but some are stubborn or just don’t want to leave their homes.
Maxim and Slavna from Beit Sar Shalom (CPM Israel) are working with us in Poland with around 200 Ukrainian children, bringing smiles onto their faces.
Our congregation is uniquely situated just 300 metres form the Ukraine embassy, so we have about 400 Ukrainians visiting our place daily, with 40 people each night sleeping in the congregation’s building.
The scale of this operation is huge; my wife Marta coordinates up to 250 volunteers just to run this place.
So, If I may ask, please ask God to give us strength so we will be able to continue the good work. Your prayers and the help we have already received from you is wonderful.
Maxim and Slavna, from Beit Sar Shalom Israel, report from Poland
We were supposed to fly home back to Israel from Poland, but seeing how much our help is needed here, we changed tickets and stayed on for a few more weeks.
Thanks to your support and prayers our days were jam-packed. The camp remains 100 per cent full. As families leave, new ones immediately arrive. We have 189 people living here, and more than 200 come to the canteen. Last night, an 18-year-old girl gave birth to a little girl, who they named Anyuta. Her husband stayed in Ukraine; he’s in the Army, and there is no connection with him yet, so he doesn’t know about the birth yet, which upsets her. The child was born healthy, and she and her mother should be back at the camp this afternoon.
We communicate with people, listen to their stories, and pray with them. On Sunday, a family with five children came to us. An explosion destroyed their house. They miraculously escaped and travelled to Poland, which took almost a week. They don’t know what to do next; they have nowhere to return. They have many questions, and the most important thing is, what next? Back to Ukraine, or to another country? I don’t have answers; I didn’t even know how to pray for them and what to say to them. There are so many stories like this. It isn’t easy to listen to what these people have gone through. I thank God that He has prepared me. In Israel, I have already organised seminars and camps for child and adult survivors of the post-war syndrome.
I continue to conduct Bible studies, counselling, and organise various events. Only believers came to our meetings in the early days, but we managed to gather almost everyone on Tuesday. We celebrated Purim. I told the holiday story, shared a word from the Bible, and the children received gifts. Slavna and her assistants spent the whole day buying and forging 130 gifts for the children, and when we handed them out, the faces of the children shone with joy. For almost everyone, this was the first celebration of Purim in their lives, and while reading the book of Esther together, we prayed that the Lord would do the same miracle with the people of Ukraine.
In recent days, many have developed a cold. We bought a lot of medicines and vitamins. Slavna became a ‘nurse’, distributed medicine, and gave vitamin drinks to children to strengthen their immunity.
During these days, we have also provided a lot of practical help. The most significant need was to organise teenagers and youth. We are coping with this,and are already seeing fruits there. We regularly meet for fellowship; the older children now help in the kitchen. We took them to a bowling alley for a few hours, and had a great time with games and spiritual fellowship. The next morning we took a group of 12 children, without parents, to the store and bought them shoes and other necessary things. We pray and believe every day that we will have enough to provide people. There are negotiations with local authorities for help. We’re hoping the city authorities will give 40 zlotys ($10) per person per day for food from next week. Of course, this is not enough but still a help. In the meantime, all the donations feed 200 people. Therefore, the food is simple; there’s not enough meat and fruit. On Tuesday, I bought 25 kg of salmon and 25 kg of chicken and prepared a festive dinner. From 2pm to 6pm I was in the kitchen; tired but had a lot of fun when everything was eaten, and people asked if there was more?
Yesterday, we all went together to the neighbouring city to the water park; how much joy and fun it was. We paid to enter the park, and the city gave us free buses.
Today, with another group of children, we will go to buy necessities, and in the afternoon we are taking six people to the dentist.
In my last letter, I wrote about Masha, who dreams of rehabilitation. So, thanks to many prayers, we found a neurological clinic where they are ready to take her for 17 days. We received an excellent price of $1300, including accommodation, meals, and daily medical rehab. On Friday, by 2pm, we are already taking her there. Thank God for that!
Tomorrow we will celebrate Shabbat, and after that, we will hold a joint meeting with youth from Ukraine and the local church.
In parallel with everything, I helped several Jewish families get documents and passports to fly to Israel. Because many people arrived in Poland without documents, they can travel in Europe but can’t fly to Israel without a passport, and getting a new one takes a lot of time and energy.
I have a prayer request: we plan to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and we’ve been asked to collect medicine for the soldiers. They need bandages, tourniquets, painkillers, antivirals, antiseptics, and more. We’ll try our best to find and buy what is possible, but this will not cover all needs. Please pray that God would help the people in this. We, for our part, are doing everything possible to be a consolation for people. Thank you for your donations, and I want to say that every dollar is spent on the true purpose of people in need: all who were forced to leave Ukraine because of the war. May God show them what and how to do next!
A Report from the Chosen Peoples Ministry in Germany
In Berlin, we plan to open our storeroom to provide some much-needed necessities to the refugees who come to our worship services, and their friends.
A day in our life here in Berlin: I got to bed at 3:30 am and was up at 7:30 today to welcome four people just arrived from Warsaw by minibus. After giving everyone some breakfast, I sent volunteers to help two of them get to the station to catch their train. And as they shared stories, this refugee father and daughter were both were built up in their faith and given hope, a renewed hope in our God who loves to restore broken and damaged relationships.
Then I brought the other two, a mother and daughter to our flat, and we again saw God’s hand at work. Luda one of the team from Israel shouted, “I know her; we met in Israel last year!” And this dear woman, who had left her husband and brother in Kyiv and experienced Russian shelling daily, was comforted knowing that she had not been brought here by chance, but under the guiding hand of God to be met and greeted by a friend. They will visit each other later this week.
Last night we were at the Central train station and were able to see God at work. One family group of two mothers and five children had just been told that the only accommodation was in a mixed dormitory with camp beds, and they were desperate, choosing instead to stay in the cold train station. As the team prayed with them, out of the blue we heard about a train that they could catch instead, and we ran with the mothers and their children and caught the train just moments before it left. We were out of breath, but relieved and blessed to have been there to pray and wait with this family, who without our help would have heard about the train but not managed to catch it.
The train station opens up the carriages of a train each night and allows women and children only, to spend the night in its heated carriages. The challenge is to get them on it before it’s full. So, we need God’s help in every encounter and in every situation.