The train station in Krakow, Poland is a waypoint for thousands escaping Ukraine.
BY: STEPHANIE HEADING (PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOHN HEADING)
As the Russian military continues its invasion of Ukraine, many people are experiencing shock at the brutality and helplessness at the plight of millions of refugees fleeing for their lives, leaving behind home and country. Southern Baptist Send Relief, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and churches of the Polish Baptist Convention are on the ground in Poland, working together to provide help, hope and healing to displaced Ukrainians.
Just days after the invasion began, Send Relief activated its first international ‘Disaster Assistance Response Team’ (DART) in coordination with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. The six DR team members, including SCBO DR Director John Heading as well as four DR members from North Carolina and one member from Texas, flew to Warsaw, Poland to assess the needs of 40 Polish Baptist churches who are providing temporary housing so refugees can sleep, eat, and shower before moving on as they work their way to other European countries.
“Send Relief is currently supplying financial assistance to help Polish churches who are ministering to refugees. Southern Baptist DR is preparing to send small U.S. teams to assist,” said Heading. “We are assessing all over Poland to see what additional needs our churches can help meet.”
The first need is financial. Poland has many needed supplies in country, however it takes funds to purchase these items. Anyone can give to Ukrainian refugee response at www.scbo.org/DR. One special project adopted by Ohio DR was to raise $3000 to purchase an electric pallet jack for a church in Chelm, Poland which cares for over 200 refugees daily. This need has been met.
The second need is people. “It looks like we will be sending teams to Poland over the next few months,” said Heading. “They will support local volunteers, sort warehouse donations, conduct children’s activities, provide stress first aid, and do other tasks such as cleaning and general help. Teams will be about 6 to 8 people max. More details will be available soon. Please contact John Heading at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being on a mission team to Poland.
The third and most important need is prayer. Please pray for these displaced people and those providing care for them. Your help is needed now.
Church Sanctuary converted for sleeping in Chelm