Telephone calls about how much a van costs in Germany and whether it can be driven to Ukraine as soon as possible, emails asking how many generators we can source in the Netherlands, Whatsapp messages about where underwear can be purchased quickly for Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, questions about printing costs of Russian Bibles in Poland, or how rice can be cooked faster if a better stove can be delivered to helpers in Romania…The office staff involved in the administration of the EMF Ukraine appeal funds have been involved in conversations that they could never have imagined having just a few short weeks ago.
Never in our wildest dreams could any of us have imagined that the modest appeal for funds to help our workers in Ukraine and the surrounding countries would be responded to in such a wonderful way. We can only praise God for this amazing response from so many whose hearts have been touched by the huge needs and the deep distress of the people of Ukraine. But of course handling the funds that have flooded in has been a huge challenge, and we wanted to do this before the Lord with integrity and wisdom.
Within days of the appeal beginning, EMF’s mission director Andrew Birch asked Martin Tatham, our churches coordinator in mainland UK, to head up a kind of little task force, and to use his remarkable gifts to organise the administration of the appeal funds. We are a small mission, with a tiny office staff, and the jobs that needed doing seemed daunting. How would we cope with extra work? The responsibility of handling these funds wisely and of getting the resources to those needing it sat heavily upon us all. Yet the Lord has amply supplied our needs. Volunteers have appeared, the current office staff have worked overtime, and we have been able to use funds set aside for such a time as this to employ an extra admin. worker to help with the ‘Cross Connect Ukraine’ scheme , which sets out to help link Christian families to incoming Ukrainian refugees.
There are the shipments arriving in Ternopil, (where EMF's Volodia and Oksana Kostyshyn minister)where an enthsiastic group of highly-organised workers are ready to unload and distribute loads from Poland (Lublin) and the Netherlands. The Netherlands shipment was made up of generators, washing machines and non-prescription medicines. The Polish shipment contained food, hygiene products, bedding, and so on.
In Moldova, this is how the vans were employed...so many destitute refugees were helped as they entered this poor country and found love and compassion in the Imago Dei church in Chisinau, where EMF's Mihai Chisari is pastor.
for wisdom for Martin and his team as they try to administer funds with wisdom, ensuring that they reach the people who need it quickly but with safety and security guarantees.
for the Lord to use the literature being sent, so that many will understand the gospel.
for the workers involved to be kept strong, and that they may get the rest they need.
for supplies to be protected, and for them not to fall into the 'wrong' hands.