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Ukraine:
Providing Relief & Hope

View message from Vic Wiens - Interim General Director

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

Dear Friends,

These days, my heart is heavy with what is happening in Ukraine. Our brothers and sisters there are suffering, and we suffer with them. I am deeply saddened by the war and grieved by the pain and loss it is causing, and yet I am also confident that God is present in Ukraine, and we will see him intervene in ways that bring healing and hope to that nation and beyond.

As a global Mennonite Brethren(MB) family, we feel very connected to Ukraine, not only because the historical roots of our MB movement are there, but because we partner with a network of MB churches there. We are in close contact with leaders like Maxym and Anya Oliferovski, who oversee Multiply’s work in Ukraine, and with Johann Matthies, our Regional Team Leader for Europe and Central Asia. We had a video call with them this morning, and they shared with us how we can help.

First, they asked us to pray. Maxym pleaded with us, “Most of all, we need prayer support, that God would intervene and stop this war. We already see miracles happening. There was a children’s shelter that was bombed, but somehow all of the children were on one side of the building, and the missile hit the other side, and no one was hurt. So, it seems like God put his angels there and protected them. We count these as miracles, and we ask you to pray for even more.”

Johann added, “Our faith is being tested in these times. We are being invited to suffer with those who are suffering, and to cry with those who are crying. Today, that is Ukraine. But it’s so good to know that we have a global family that cares, a family that will find every possible way of coming alongside those who suffer, and to encourage those who suffer, that we would see signs and wonders of God's presence with us.”

Second, they asked us to consider giving. The global MB family is mobilizing in different ways to offer practical help to those who are fleeing from the war and those who are remaining in Ukraine to serve their people. The financial resources that we supply to our Ukrainian MB churches are critical in providing relief now but also in providing ongoing support for their ministries. (donate below)

Maxym and Anya have chosen to stay in Ukraine for the time being and they continue to oversee efforts to help people in practical ways within the country.

Johann told us about other MB church leaders like our church planters in Dnipro, who recently fled their community with their family because of the bombing. They have now fled to another part of Ukraine. With resources that we are sending to them, they are busy preparing food and feeding people, as well as trying to give people hope. Eventually, if the fighting continues, they may also try to flee the country, but for now they have a ministry there, so they will stay.

Johann himself is involved with a multinational team that is coordinating help for Ukrainians that have fled to countries like Poland, Romania, and Germany. They are involved in partnering with local churches and ministries in those countries who are interested in serving these refugees and giving them hope in the name of Jesus.

“These are some of the darkest times in generations for Ukrainians,” said Johann. “But the darker the night, the brighter the stars. We believe that this is also the time to reveal Christ in word and deed. God is making resources available, and we need to pray for his grace to use them in the best way possible.”

If you would like to give in support of the relief effort in Ukraine, please donate to our “Ukraine Ministry Project.” In addition to urgent needs in the war zones, this project continues to support MB churches in Ukraine with ongoing discipleship and church-planting, as well as with practical ministries like the New Hope Center that serve youth at risk and families in crisis.  

Vic Wiens
Interim General Director

Ukraine Update

June 27


In Lithuania, pastors Gediminas Dailyde, Valdas Vaitkevi?iusand others continue to be engaged in relief work with refugees as well as delivering supplies to the Ukraine – Poland border. A partnership with Operation Mobilization has proven to be very fruitful. Gediminas was thankful to be able to share a recent excursion to the border with his son Joel, pictured here. Even the youngest generation is being shaped by this war, and believers are encouraging generosity, courage, and hope in Jesus.


Multiply global worker in France, Paul Raugust, also traveled to the western zone of Ukraine and was involved with delivering supplies and engaging with the people there. He reports: “In many ways, life in western Ukraine goes on as usual with work, online school, grocery shopping, restaurants, etc. You could almost forget about the war. Except. Except for the stories of loss. Except for the barricades alongside the roads to block invading forces. Except for the soldiers in fatigues milling about alongside the public. Except for the crowded cities, with 50% more population due to refugees.” But Paul also saw the Church at work, remodeling and repurposing their buildings to house and feed refugees, giving of their resources, time, love, and energy. “There are stories of miraculous provision, of people coming at the right time, of the exact amount of money arriving to purchase mattresses needed, of safety on the front lines as the Russian army passed by without seeing those hiding behind a wall, and of supernatural peace. But support from outside sources is diminishing, and more of the burden is falling to these local churches. Teams are dwindling as people burn out. Keep praying!”

Pastor Alexei Yuditsenko of the Heart of Christ MB Church in Berdyansk likewise tells of the weariness settling in, as people labor to stay engaged and to have stamina to keep helping. It is a country under fire, where tension and poverty are extreme. Every day more and more people are permanently without work and funds. At the very beginning, a huge number of people wanted to help and were looking for an opportunity to serve people, but now there are fewer, even though there are many more problems.”

The social media feed of the Ukraine MB conference (AMBCU) reports that Avdiivka has been a front-line city since 2014 due to its close proximity to Donetsk (about 10 km) and is being subjected to massive shelling. The population has decreased from more than 35,000 people to 3,000, with the remaining populace forced to cook outdoors on fires when it is safe to do so, and otherwise live in basements to escape the shelling. 

On the night of June 21, phosphorus shells were fired on the city. As a result, a school building which had been housing a humanitarian aid headquarters was burned down. AMBCU quotes Andrii, one of the participants of that humanitarian ministry: “I was shaken, watching the video news feed of fire dancing and crackling on the roof of my school. Nine years of my life passed in this school; here I was taught to count, write and read, and now only memories of this remain.” This is the third school burned to the ground in Avdiivka. A nearby residential area was also hit by incendiary shells, and the city hospital and shopping centers are continuously shelled, resulting in many injuries and deaths. 

Pastor Oleksii Makaiov in Dnipro also entreats prayer and aid, and supplies the following photos of the crisis in this city: “Friends, we ask you to pray for the people in Avdeyevka. Your support is vitally important!”

View Previous Updates

June 14

  • More and more displaced persons are fleeing west to escape the worst of the war. While Western Ukraine is relatively safe, no one ever feels completely safe. Despite the front lines being a thousand kilometers away, people are always mindful that there is no place that is beyond the reach of cruise missiles.

  • Pastor Oleksii Makaiov reports on the situation in Avdiivka, outside Donetsk: “We hold meetings in the cellars. People have been living in basements for three months now - without electricity, without ventilation, without water. [When] we get out of the underground and go upstairs, there are no people, a lot of destruction, rockets fly almost non-stop, there might be silence sometime for maybe only twenty minutes. People come out of the cellars only if someone brings food, or if you need to cook food, or if you need to run home to feed your livestock or pet… It is a disaster…”

  • The MB Conference in Ukraine (AMBCU) expresses concern that, as the war drags on, “photographs of buildings gone down like houses of cards, or videos of grubby children in Mariupol queuing for bread and crying when you try to talk to them [have become] white noise for the world community”. Instead, they want to convey to the world the incredible impact that is being made through the generosity of others. They write:

“During the war, Christians [must] rally to make good news prevail. On the big news portals, they rarely show a photo of a smiling lonely grandmother who was brought groceries. But we do. It is hard to say exactly what happens in a person's heart when faced kindness, but more than once people have burst into tears when they were given food or medicine… Please know that your unceasing prayers and gifts have a profound impact on relieving the suffering of thousands of Ukrainians.”

  • Pastor and New Hope director Maxym Oliferovski writes:  “The economy has been going down, prices are up for food, gas and most items. We distribute humanitarian aid kits in Mukachevo, Zaporozhye, Dnipro, Novomoskovsk, Kiev, Kharkiv, and Donetsk. When we give a food kit to a family in need, we know they need much more than this. And so we do provide more - relationships are being built, with opportunities to share about God's love and grace. People are open to listen.”  

  • Maxym continues: “Zaporizhzhya and Mukachevo have hosted about 300 refugees in two months. In Zaporizhzhya the dynamics have changed, with more middle age and older people trying to find a temporary place to live not so far from their own homes, hoping to return soon. In Mukachevo shelter, people are staying longer. Many are men who cannot leave Ukraine because of military restrictions.” 


As the months of relentless attack stretch on with no respite in sight, Maxym and the New Hope Center staff and volunteers continue to serve tirelessly, seeking to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their ravaged homeland. 

shelterhouse.org.ua has been created for those seeking or offering help in the West and in the East of Ukraine, with partners that include Multiply, MCC, and the Austrian MFÖ church in Mukachevo. 

In this photo, New Hope workers express their vision to help people move from merely surviving, to having abundant life in Jesus.

 

June 7

Pastor Oleksii Makaiov reflects on the intensified invasion of Ukraine:

It was impossible to imagine that we would ever go through this. The feeling of confusion in the first days of a full-scale invasion was replaced by a clear understanding that action was needed. We started feeding people, smuggling them out, rescuing and accommodating them. Refugees are [like living] stories - thousands of tragic stories of pain and loss. We want to help at least someone, in this huge sea of need…

“We are grateful to all who collect cargo, donate money, transport, receive and distribute. May God be the answer to all your needs and the peace of God shall fill your hearts.” 

Oleksii and his team have engaged in the following recent relief efforts:

  • bringing humanitarian aid to Svetlovodsk and Zolotonosha, where there are refugees who have fled from Myrnograd, Avdeevka and Ocheretino.

  •  delivering food to Novomoskovsk, where the local church sorts and distributes food packages to refugees coming from the Donbass.

  • delivering food and personal care products to those in Dnipro. One local church has established a refugee shelter on their property, where more than 70 people receive daily food and a place to sleep. These are people from Donbass and Kharkov, many of whom have had their homes destroyed and have been living in a shelter for over two months.

Pastor Maxym Oliferovski shares that since their New Hope Center in Zaporizhzhya was converted to a shelter it has housed over 300 IDP’s (Internally Displaced People / Refugees). Praise the Lord for this initiative and the courageous and generous people behind it!

Chaplain Oleg in Zaporizhzhya writes: “The enemy is shooting heavily with artillery. They have a lot of ammunition and hit from afar…I have been talking to the [soldiers] a lot about our Jesus; they have a distorted view of him. But it's good to see the faces of people when they hear about our Savior's feat of love, how the truth sinks into their minds and hearts and how clearly it begins to make little changes in their understanding. After conversations like these, God's love flows from my heart like a river. I love my work. I hug you!”

Pastor Alexei Yuditsenko in Berdyansk writes: “How many broken hearts, lives, destroyed homes, burned cars, violence and many, many things that cannot be conveyed in words or photos. “When you look at what evil is doing around you, the brain cannot cope with the amount of pain and suffering of my people! Every day I pray for people to come home. I pray that the people of Ukraine kneel only before God! It hurts to see swear words on signs, stickers on cars, on T-shirts ... I really want to see God everywhere! His words should be read, not blasphemous words. Pray for my people!”

The Ukrainian half of the website shelterhouse.org.ua has been created for those seeking or offering help in the West and in the East of Ukraine. The shelters and especially the relief goods have many more donors than are mentioned there, with partners that include Multiply, MCC, and the Austrian MFÖ church in Mukachevo.

May 30

  • Maxym Oliferovski (Multiply Ukraine) reports that all of the shelters that they’ve set up in Eastern and Western Ukraine are now fully operational and seamlessly connected. Thank you all for your generous support! Please continue to pray for all of the displaced people within Ukraine who are seeking shelter. Most of them now are elderly people from farming villages who have no connections across the country or abroad, and have nowhere to go.
  • Here is a by-product of our relief work in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. Sergey Filippov is the church planter in the city who is supported by Multiply. When the war broke out, his pregnant wife Nastya had to be brought to safety in Germany. She stayed with Heinrich and Annie Rempel until she got her own little apartment in the city of Bielefeld. All this time, Sergey was in Kyiv helping local families in need. The photo below shows the new room that the little church had fixed up but, because of the war, was never used. Until this Sunday! With the chairs donated by our church partners in Austria the services will begin tomorrow. All the relief recipients of the last ninety days are invited. Please pray for the Small Arche Church, the family situation of Sergey and Nastya, the relief supplies and transportation, and now also for God’s salvation entering the lives of the battered but uncrushed people of Kyiv.
  • One of our workers in Central Asia submitted this photo of Natalia and her twin children, Yana and Yaroslav. Natalia and her children are refugees from Kramatorsk, Ukraine. As they were trying to catch a train and flee from their city, the railway station was bombed. Yaroslav was in the railway station building and was spared, but unfortunately Natalia and Yana were hit by bomb splinters.Our volunteers have helped Natalia and her children to get to Lviv to receive medical and spiritual help. Let's pray for Natalia and her children.

May 12 

  • The pace of relief work has not changed, as MB churches continue to send vehicles with food and hygiene articles across the border for distribution in Ukraine. Once supplies are delivered, every attempt is made to safely evacuate the vulnerable.

  • Pastor Alexei reports an incident where a chaplain and his team were in the process of evacuating the elderly and disabled when they came under drone fire. They escaped unscathed; the car did not. Residents of the city of Novomoskovsk expressed their gratitude: “Thank you so much for caring about someone else's fate and supporting the elderly. We wish you and your helpers - for your kindness, open heart and mercy - happiness, health and all the best!”

  • Church planter Oleksii reports that for the last two months, the Kyiv missionary team has been actively working, delivering humanitarian aid sent from different countries to various cities in Ukraine. Together with the Molochansk Mennonite Brethren Church and other partners they pack, transport and distribute supplies to those in need. Over the last two months, more than 100 families, about 500 people, have received assistance through this ministry, whose goal is to solve not only food and household issues, but to pray, listen, and encourage others with a message of hope from God's Word.

  • Yulia was in Poland when she heard that her son, a soldier, had been killed, and that her daughter was still trapped in Mariupol. New Hope Center helped to reunite mother and daughter. Read their story here.

  • Johann Matthies, Multiply’s Regional Team Leader, reports that donations are also helping in the printing of Christian literature to be distributed among the millions of refugees and displaced persons. He writes, “Thank you for fighting in intercession with us and also enabling us to keep encouraging, supplying and equipping our staff and volunteers in Ukraine. While the enemy appears to be loose, let us pray that our Lord continues to build his gates-of-hell-proof Church in Ukraine and everywhere in our world.”

  • A VIDEO MESSAGE from Viktoria Rakhuba, a Ukrainian who has found refuge in Germany. She is the wife of Roman Rakhuba, who provides leadership for the conference of MB churches in Ukraine. She was asked to send greetings to the global family of Mennonite Brethren on behalf of Ukrainian refugees. The following is her heartfelt message to us.


     

May 3 

  • MB Ukraine conference minister Roman Rakhuba shares the pain and hope being experienced by those in Ukraine: “A part of our country is like a cemetery where dreams, relationships, property, plans, and hopes are buried, along with thousands of friends, relatives, acquaintances... Yet, because Christ is risen, I believe that life does not fade away. This graveyard of broken hopes, relationships, plans and lost loved ones will become a place of joy, where all the broken will be restored.”
  • Pastor Maxym Oliferovski reports on how his New Hope Center in Zaporizhzhia continues to function as a shelter for refugees. More than 100 people have been housed in the last month, finding hospitality, support for their evacuation journey and, above all, hope. One refugee was helped to flee to Poland, only to return a month later when she heard that her son, a soldier, had been killed, and that her daughter was still trapped in a conflict zone. Literally sick with worry, she was housed at the New Hope Center and given both medical care and prayer support. After one week, her daughter was able to escape to join her, and they were tearfully reunited.
  • Berdyansk MB pastor Alexei Yuditsenko reports that in the city of Zaporizhzhia there is a crippling shortage of medicine, baby food, hygiene products, and many more vital supplies. He and his church are looking for ways to send more help into this occupied territory. He writes, “I would like to express special gratitude to those who help - you are my heroes. Please don't be silent; talk about this genocide and pray for God to give us peace.” 
  • Molochansk MB pastor Oleksii Makaiov tells us of a shelter for refugees that they helping to build in Mukachevo, close to Ukraine’s border with Hungary. Construction work continues with the installation of a shower, toilet, and kitchen. Furniture and household items are being brought in, and electrical wiring has been completed. He writes, “We are grateful to you who are helping us to frame this shelter. Offline and online, we call on all believers to put their hope in God. He is our true shelter, the rest for our hearts amidst pain and despair.” 
  • A Mission Eurasia ministry center in Irpin, northern Ukraine, has been destroyed. Teams from the center traveled to a Mission Eurasia warehouse in Krakow, Poland and, thanks to generous donations, have since been able to print over ten times the quantity of bibles that were lost. These are being distributed in refugee centers, and one worker writes, “Scripture and hope are needed now more than ever in Ukraine. Thank you for making these bibles available for ministry to tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugee families.” 
  • The MB churches in Austria continue to fill vehicles with provision and transport them to Ukraine. The journey is not without risk, and they ask for our ongoing prayers.

April 19 

  • Pastor and church planter Oleksii Makaiov wrote this note of encouragement to us all on Easter Sunday: “Today, when our little son was asked if he knew what Easter meant, he confidently said, ‘This means that Jesus has won!’ Yes, friends, Jesus has won and today we celebrate the victory of life over death, victory of light over darkness! And though we may be in the midst of destruction and pain today, our true victory is in Jesus, who has risen indeed! Many Ukrainians filled the churches in the countries where they have fled for refuge. Together with the local Christians, they proclaim this wonderful news of the resurrection of Christ. May this message reach all residents of Ukraine; may we all say once more to each other, ‘Christ has risen! He has risen indeed! Jesus has won!’”
  • Oleksii reports that in the last ten days they have transported over 20 tons of food and essentials. They are loading supplies in Western Ukraine and then delivering to the eastern regions of the country. They continue to help evacuate people of the cities of Molochansk, Berdyansk and Balkovoe. 
  • A new shelter has been opened in Mukachevo, Western Ukraine, with volunteers gathering furniture, household items, washer/dryer, stove/fridge, heater, linens and beds to accommodate the constant influx of refugees. 
  • Medical supplies and cash for the purchase of food are being provided to the people of Molochansk and Tokmak. Despite the difficult circumstances of the occupation, elderly women who have chosen to remain behind continue to prepare vareniki and pack care packages for the disabled and other vulnerable people. 
  • MB church leaders and volunteers in Novomoskovsk have been serving families in crisis, bringing them food packages and words of hope and encouragement. In Kiev, our MB pastors and volunteers are working together with government social services of that city to respond to the needs of people in unimaginably difficult circumstances. 
  • In one of the churches of the city of Dnipro, a center for refugees has been organized. Every day, 50-70 people are being brought there from the occupied regions of Ukraine. Our MB pastors and their teams are delivering mattresses and food to this center. 
  • Regional Team Leader Johann Matthies was asked to speak at a church in Bielefeld, Germany, translating for the Ukrainian attendees. He also reports, “Praise the Lord, we haven’t lost any one of our church members yet! We pray all stay alive and are kept alive to be God’s Instruments of peace - during the war and afterwards!”

April 14 

  • In Moldova, everal churches and Christian organizations have joined to create Christian Association for Refugees (ACR), a coalition with a centralized database to help refugees from Ukraine. The ACR sprang out of the disaster management and trauma counseling seminar given by Multiply worker G (based in central Asia) to the evangelical leaders in Kishinev. As a native Romanian, G’s expertise and network of family, friends and church colleagues is opening many such doors for ministry.


  • In Kishinev, Moldova, CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) is encouraging Multiply Europe to consider sending short-term teams to work with the many Ukrainian refugee children being hosted both in evangelical centers as well government facilities.

  • In Botosani, Romania, our teams are partnering with OCC (Samaritan’s Purse) to assess the current stage of the crisis and contingency issues. Both OCC and a Christian organization called Hand of Help are encouraging the sending of short-term teams to run Vacation Bible School ministries for refugee children, as well as Russian or Ukrainian speaking outreach teams to share the Gospel.


  • Multiply Europe reports that this current crisis is presenting us with a challenge to strategize regarding both long-term crisis relief as well as immediate and long-term church planting ventures among refugees throughout Europe, and a strengthening and expansion of church planting in Ukraine.


  • For now, much of the relief work involves transportation from the Ukraine borders to Western European countries. However, as these countries reach a saturation point in their capacity to receive refugees, more negative sentiment may naturally manifest. Our church partners in Eastern Europe are making contingency plans to accommodate and resettle more refugees locally, long-term.

April 12, 2022

  • Multiply’s global worker and MB pastor in Lithuania, Gedyminas Dailyde, reports on teams of relief workers that are crossing the border into Ukraine through Hungary. Once there, they are warmly welcomed with bowls of borscht which they eat quickly, before boarding as many Ukrainian refugees as possible to transport back across the border.


  • G is Multiply’s global worker in central Asia, who is now regularly traveling to Romania and Moldova to work with over fifteen churches and organizations that are helping refugees. Drawing on his experience from working with refugees in Kosovo, Iraq, and Canada, G also holds training sessions in disaster management and psychological first aid. As the crisis is deepening and developing, they continue to discuss future strategies.

  • The majority of evangelical churches in Romania and Moldovia have opened their buildings to provide care, food, and shelter for refugees. These countries are receiving the most refugees, but the needs are overwhelming, and they lack the kind of infrastructure needed. Very often the only relief funding comes from the small donations of their own congregations, yet these small churches have done miracles in protecting and feeding the refugees.

  • Our team in Austria reports that vans full of relief goods donated by Austrian MB churches are now delivering provisions and picking up refugees on a weekly basis.

  • Ukraine MB pastor Maxym Oliferovski reports on the completion of the renovations needed to turn the New Hope Center facility in Zaporizhzhia into a shelter. Offices have become dorm rooms, and a shower cubicle has been installed. Refugees pause here for a few days of food and shelter before continuing on route to the borders. The shelter has already hosted dozens of individuals, families, and even pets. Maxym jokes about how MB peacemaking values are being tested as they host a cat and a parrot at the same time!

April 4

  • Oleksii Makaiov, MB pastor in Molochansk, reports from Kyiv of the dire needs faced by those living in this dangerous territory. Before the war, church workers like Sergei and his wife Nastya served families in crisis in cooperation with the city’s social services. With such infrastructure now compromised, they rely on receiving food, personal hygiene items, diapers and baby food through our MB churches. Yet another supply van is en route from the Gmunden MB church in Austria. Oleksii writes, “I hug each and every one of you! Thank you!” Foto of family in front of brick wall

  • New Hope Center director Maxym Oliferovski reports that families are coming to the newly adapted center in Zaporizhzhia for respite before continuing on their way to the borders. One mother and her son spent sixteen days and nights hiding in a basement before being able to escape Mariupol. Multiply workers and MB churches in Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Mukachevo are helping families like these on their evacuation journey.

  • Refugees arriving in Romania are being loaded onto a bus to travel to Germany, where European Multiply director Johann Matthies is helping with placement through the generous hospitality of MB churches. Johann tells of Olga, a Russian-German believer, saying, “She opened her home at midnight to welcome strangers!” Johann continues to receive calls and texts from those needing help, more recently from the cities of Avdeevka and Tokmak.

  • Many in Germany are experiencing the tension of being in close relationships with both Russians and Ukrainians; some church families are even foster parents to children from both nations. There are many difficult conversations. In one case, the Russian foster children were afraid to meet the Ukrainian children, saying, “No, they will not accept us. We are now just enemies.” The churches are working to not allow shame, fear, or hatred to bring division.

  • Pastor Valdas Vaitkevicius in Lithuania reports that his MB church in Šiauliu is hosting thirty refugees in their building and have placed twenty more in private homes. They work together with other churches in Klaipeda, Šiauliu, and Vilnius to gather and transport goods donated for the relief efforts. One large pile was brought in by the police department, packed by local officers. Johann Mathies says, “I’m amazed at the trusting relationships and standing this particular church has in the community.” Two vans are now headed to Ukraine to distribute provision and bring back another twenty refugees. One is being driven by MB pastor Gediminas Dailyde, ordained only a few days ago. Foto of Gedas

  • Johann has also been in conversation with other church bodies. The Pentecostal bishop of Lithuania is asking how to help in bringing about a partnership between the MB conference and the churches of the German Evangelical Alliance.

  • Multiply workers D (Austria, Central Asia) and G (Central Asia) are in Romania and Moldova this week. They are taking along some monetary funds from the European Multiply offices to buy food supplies for refugees in Moldova. They hope to return with recommendations on how best to engage on that side of the Ukraine border.

 

March 29

  • Our global worker D who serves churches in Austria and Central Asia has taken a lead role in mobilizing the Austrian MB churches toward Ukraine relief efforts. One of the results is being able to now support the ministries of Sergey and Dima, two brothers from the Ukraine MB conference who lost their jobs due to the war.
  • Two trips from Linz brought three large vanloads of provision and medical supplies to the Ukraine border for distribution by the Ukraine MB pastors. With remaining funds, a third trip is planned; the goal is to continue with these initiatives as frequently as possible.
  • Church planter Sergey is one of the men who shuttles supplies between the Hungarian border and the embattled capitol Kyiv. Each trip is more difficult than the last, as he continues to bring provisions, evacuate the vulnerable, connect with church members and bring the hope of the Gospel to all.
  • Multiply Europe director Johann Matthies joined Walter Jakobeit (local pastor leader of the German MB conference) at a peace rally for Ukraine in Neuwied. There, they gave a call for intercession and led the gathering in a prayer for peace. In attendance were also two men who came to Germany in 2015 as refugees from Afghanistan and Iran, who are now baptized church members. Together, they joined in the peaceful demonstrations and in prayer.
  • Sergey Panasovych, an MB pastor in Zaporizhzhya, shares how the widespread destruction is weighing on him, and on so many. Like others who have stayed behind, he misses his wife and daughter, but is grateful that they have found safety and a warm welcome in Bielefeld.
  • In the MB church in Dortmund, a gathering of two Ukrainian families to pray and read God’s Word has now grown into a gathering of fifty-five people.

 

  • In occupied Kherson, a baby boy was born to pastor Vasily and his wife Nadya. They are thankful that the birth did not take place at night, or during the shelling. This was an answer to many prayers, and a hopeful sign of God’s love and mercy during dark days.


    March 23

    • Over the last few days, MB churches in Europe delivered two more vans of relief goods to Ukraine and brought 13 more MB refugees to Germany.  Another van was purchased in Germany to widen one of the logistical bottlenecks of our European Multiply office operations. 
    • Two more vans with relief goods and funds from our Austrian MB churches were taken by Multiply workers and other volunteers to the border, and a van from the Netherlands unloaded supplies in a storage place in Hungary near the Ukraine border. The work continues to be focussed; our churches are neither exhausted nor without a plan.
    • Pastor Oleksii reports on families fleeing the shelling and ruins of Mariupol to arrive in Molochansk, which is now occupied territory. Residents are challenged to meet the needs of these refugees, with food deliveries being blocked and their own meager resources being stretched to the limit. Grandmothers from the nearby MB nursing home are coming together to make dumplings and feed the hungry. The church is working tirelessly; the pace is relentless.
    • Multiply worker G from Central Asia is helping to expand our ministries beyond the Ukraine borders along Poland and Hungary to now include relief efforts in Romania, his country of origin, and Moldova. We are partnering with other MB churches to strengthen relief being provided through a small church in Romania, where his brother-in-law pastors, near the Ukraine-Romania border.  
    • To address the increased workload, Multiply Ukraine and the Association of MB Churches in Ukraine (AMBCU) are now supporting MB church planters Sergei F. (Kyiv) and Dima M. (Dnipro) to work full-time within Ukraine. Both are newlywed; their wives are living as refugees in Heinrich and Annie Rempel’s home in Bielefeld.
    • New Hope Center director Maxym O. reports that as they care for families in crisis, they see Ukraine divided into two large groups: those who remain in their homeland are in a state of fear and stress every day; those who left Ukraine are physically safe but feel great guilt. All suffer great emotional pain and trauma.
    • Sigitas Rušinskas from our MB churches in Lithuania has coordinated a team bringing humanitarian support across the Hungary border to western Ukraine. The team of six men kept the minibus running, dropping off food, cash, and other provisions from village to village, then picking up three women from a refugee center and driving back to Lithuania.

      March 21

      • “Many lives have been lost in Ukraine, but many more have been spared,” said Johann Matthies. As Multiply’s Regional Team Leader, Johann is based in Germany and remains actively involved in the war relief efforts in Ukraine and among surrounding countries.

      • Pastors Maxym and Anya are still in Zaporizhzhia, though fighting increases and several more civilians were killed by shelling over the weekend. Their New Hope Center team is shrinking as people continue to flee the area, but they are still in operation, using their office as an emergency shelter for families. They installed a shower and are using bedding left over from their camping ministries and aged-out-orphan programs.

      • MB church planters Sergey (Kyiv) and Oleksii (Dnipro) brought a van full of urgently needed supplies to Zaporizhzhia from the border.

      • The number of refugees from our Ukrainian MB churches who are now being hosted in Germany is at 67. There is a well-coordinated inter-church relief effort in Detmold, and the Mennonite churches in Austria have also been mobilized for the next trip to the border.

      • Urgently needed cash is being brought across the border for essential purchases and transportation within Ukraine.

      • The daughter of one MB pastor in Ukraine is safe in Germany and speaks of the complex emotions faced by the refugees: “During war, smiles seem inappropriate, and beautiful places seem to be a reason for envy. I would like to enjoy the sun on my native land, being fully confident about tomorrow. But I only have this moment; a state of calm that I can’t explain. It's not permanent. But when it fills me, hope comes in my heart. Hope for the future.”


      March 18

      • Yesterday, we heard the terrible news that Russian missiles are now hitting civilian targets in Zaporizhzhia, but the worst news of the day was about the bombing of a theater in Mariupol where some 1500 women and children were seeking shelter in the basement. We do not yet know the full extent of the damage done or the lives lost.
      • As Johann Matthies, our Regional Team Leader, reflects today on the war in Ukraine, he says, “This is the result of decades of slander and dehumanization of the Ukrainian state, the Ukrainian language, and the Ukrainian culture. It has been a battle of words, evil words, and this is what we must fight against.”
      • Two Multiply workers, Alex Suderman from Germany, and G from Central Asia, recently visited Romania and Moldova to visit churches in the area that are helping Ukrainian refugees as they flee from the war. “We were very encouraged to see the amount of dedication to the crisis,” they reported. “Practically every church or ministry is involved in doing something for the refugees.”
      • Alex and G were able to meet with numerous local leaders and pastors in both Romania and Moldova to offer encouragement, to discuss longer-term planning and the refugee management crisis cycle, and to offer elements of psychological first aid. Photo to the right shows a makeshift refugee shelter near the Ukrainian border in Romania.
      • It was noted by Alex and G that the Romanian and Moldovan churches only have limited resources to meet the high needs of this relief effort. They expect that fatigue and lack of funding will soon take its toll on local initiatives. Moldova, with its close proximity to Ukraine and its similarities in language and culture, is a welcome refuge for those fleeing from the war, but its current hosting facilities will soon be overwhelmed by the need.
      • In both Romania and Moldova, there are many opportunities for Multiply to partner with existing churches and ministries that are making a real difference in the lives of refugees. Alex and G explored various ways that volunteers and funds can be directed to meet both immediate and long-term needs, not only in areas of practical ministry but also in discipleship and church planting. 

        March 16

        • The situation in the occupied areas is deteriorating, with Ukrainian public figures, such as politicians and priests, being abducted and disappearing. There is uncertainty as to whether the churches will be able to keep gathering and ministering in the face of new repression. We are now opting to use first initials only when posting regarding our workers and church leaders in Ukraine.
        • Pastor V and his wife in Kherson report that the city is now almost completely under Russian control. They have both been sick, and Nadya is expecting to deliver her baby any day now.
        • Pastor A in Berdyansk reports that many families escaping from Mariupol are arriving at his church to seek shelter. They come in cars without windshields or glass, driving long hours in the bitter cold.
        • Ukraine MB conference leader R in Zaporizhye is helping to coordinate the evacuation of refugees to Germany. Johann Matthies reports that churches in cities like Frankfurt are collaborating to help with resettlement. The total number of people hosted by our German MB churches and families is over 50, of whom, tragically, there are only two men.
        • Church leaders remaining in Ukraine are struggling to provide shelter, food, medicine, and water for those fleeing the conflict. They are partnering closely with the European Mennonite Relief Organization (EMRO) as well as Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to strengthen the network of those handling emergency relief.
        • We still have staff and programs running even now. As of today, six staff are still working in our New Hope Center - even applying yesterday for a long-term grant that will allow them to continue this ministry for the years to come!
        • We have provided 4WD off-road vehicles for Sergei and Oleg, the two MB pastors who are also army chaplains.
        • We will continue to bring supplies in for as long as humanly possible to allow our ministries to stay operational.

        March 15

        • Johann Matthies, our Regional Team Leader, reports that more and more refugees from Ukraine are arriving in Germany: “More people are now in safety,” he said. “Volunteers in two vans brought some to our church in Detmold, right before our Sunday service! We now have eighteen Ukrainians in our church.” The photo to the right includes Johann’s daughter-in-law (with glasses) with Nastya from Berdyansk, worshipping for the first time since fleeing from Ukraine.
        • Heinrich Rempel, Johann’s Multiply co-worker, gathered  refugees in the Bielefeld area to the first worship service in Russian and Ukrainian. Some thirty people came together to give thanks to God and remind each other that they are a family of faith on mission together, preparing to be sent to out to the harvest.
        • Johann asks us to pray for local churches in Germany that are embracing the challenge of hosting refugees, despite all of the practical questions that they face, like, “Who will walk alongside all the refugees through all their bureaucratic challenges? Do we have a budget to help them make a new life in Germany? Who will take responsibility for them?”
        • Sergei, one of the MB pastors who is also serving as a chaplain among the soldiers, officiated a marriage ceremony for a young couple yesterday. “It is a testimony that love is stronger than war,” said Sergei, “even stronger than death!” (The newly married couple are in the photo to the right.)
        • Johann reports a difficult conversation with a woman named Julia, who is hiding in the bunker of a steel plant in Avdeevka, near Donetsk. She says, “Our city is being hit. Our food supermarket is hit. My brother and sister are being shelled. All of the windows and doors in my brother’s apartment have been blown out. The apartments above his are now burning.”



         
        March 11

        • According to Johann Matthies, our churches in Germany have now received 38 Ukrainian refugees and at least 16 others are on their way. Many more are being helped by other aid agencies, and we continue to contribute in any way we can to provide relief and help with the evacuation and transition of refugees.
        • When our workers on the frontlines at the Ukrainian border were at an absolute low emotionally, God showed them a caring church nearby that was hosting hundreds of stranded refugees from Ukraine.
        • Pastor Roman Rakhuba reports that supplies from our workers in Lithuania were a great help, and that ongoing frequent communication with believers from all corners of the earth has been a crucial factor for their emotional and spiritual well-being.
        • We have received worrisome reports that Russian tanks are approaching Zaporizhzhya, where pastors Maxym and Anya Oliferovski are sheltering. The tanks were previously held up for five days in nearby Vasikyevka but have now broken through.


        March 9

        • Multiply global workers from Germany and Central Asia are now in Moldova. Other workers are en route to serve in a similar capacity in Hungary, Poland, and Romania.
        • With the churches in Moldova at capacity, our workers are helping to network with and organize the teams in various cities to maximize the coordination of relief efforts.
        • A large number from the Ukraine team have had to evacuate; nineteen are en route to our team at the western border. Six pastors are remaining behind with their churches.
        • Multiply’s Johann Matthies and Heinrich Rempel have met with the European directors of MCC. There will be a vast field of ministry in the area of reconciliation, trauma counseling, and rebuilding livelihoods.
        • Johann and Maxym Oliferovski (MB pastor in Ukraine) gave a 90-minute interview to Christianity Today, regarding the response of anabaptist churches to the war.
        • Johann has met with John Reynold, president of the board of the LCC international Christian university in Lithuania. Multiply workers Sean and Judith Fast are engaging with students there from global conflict zones, with almost 200 students being from Ukraine.

        March 8

        • Our vans from Germany are arriving at the Ukrainian border with supplies, but they are not allowed to enter, so they have to wait for vans to arrive from the Ukrainian side. It is a long process and the vans on the Ukrainian side are slowed down by endless checkpoints.
        • Today, Roman, one of our Ukrainian MB church leaders, had to say goodbye to his family as they were forced to leave Ukraine and seek safety in Poland. The war has now separated five of our leaders from their families. These are very difficult moments and decisions.
        • As I (Johann) write this, I am watching Ukrainian refugees walk through the forest with suitcases. It is heart-breaking.
        • We just became aware of a German ministry that has 26 vans in Poland with 150 seats available for refugees. Their original plan was to take children from orphanages, but transport inside Ukraine failed due to heavy fighting. We were able to connect the ministry with refugee initiatives of the Evangelical Alliance in Warsaw and two Ukrainian mission directors who have just arrived from the US. As a result, many families were helped and brought to safety.
        • With donations from one church in the US and a partnership with LifeWords, we have printed 60,000 copies of two tracts in Ukrainian that speak about finding hope in the midst of despair.
        • We were encouraged to hear that the relief goods we delivered were being distributed in Vinnytsia but discouraged to hear that the same day their airport and much infrastructure was destroyed by rocket shelling.
        • There is a family of four from the New Hope Church in Zaporizhzhya that we have been able to help. They recently fled their home and crossed the border, and they are now five hours away from their new home in Germany.
        • We are investing time and effort to increase collaboration and effectiveness in our efforts to support our churches and ministry partners in Ukraine. We have been doing video calls with them, which is helpful, but we also see how weary they look.

        March 7

        • Multiply global workers from Germany, Lithuania, and Central Asia are helping mobilize relief teams now en route to Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Moldova. These teams will partner with churches along Ukraine’s borders.
        • Multiply is providing one van that will shuttle back and forth to the border of Ukraine, delivering supplies and returning with refugees.
        • Multiply is helping mobilize MB churches to receive and care for the millions of refugees that are expected to require resettlement.
        • Within Ukraine, the New Hope Center in Zaporizhzhia is delivering food kits, relocating families, and responding to requests from municipal social services for emergency relief.
        • Online ministry through New Hope Center is supporting isolated families with encouraging Bible messages, prayer, and the hope of the Gospel.

        March 5

        Our faith is being tested in these times of war. We are being invited to suffer with those who are suffering, and to cry with those who are crying. Today, that is Ukraine.

        Many of our pastors and ministry leaders have fled their homes because of the bombing, others have been overrun and are serving their churches under Russian occupation, and still others have decided to stay. For the time being, our Multiply leaders, Maxym and Anya Oliferovski, have chosen to stay in Ukraine as they continue to encourage people and to oversee efforts to help in practical ways within the country. 

        Oleksii and Oksana Makaiov, church planters in Dnipro, left their community with their family and drove to another part of Ukraine where they prepared food, distributed it to people in need, and gave them hope. They have recently had to separate at the border as Oksana and their two boys joined nine other refugees in our van convoy en route to Germany and Oleksii headed back to help the church he leads in the war zone.  We have sent resources with him and he will do all he can to help others but we do not know what tomorrow will bring. 

        These are some of the darkest times in generations for Ukrainians, but the darker the night, the brighter the stars. We believe that this is also the time to reveal Christ in word and deed. 

        Even as you receive this, I am driving in another convoy of three vans from Germany to the Ukraine border to deliver food and supplies tomorrow and hopefully bring back 17 refugees. When we set out, we did not know how the supplies would be transported within Ukraine as we could only arrange for one van to meet us at the border. But God in his perfect timing, has provided through an unexpected connection, two more vans that we now expect will meet us at the border just in time and then aid in the transportation and distribution of the supplies requested from our MB churches in Ukraine.

        Ever since this war began, I've seen an outpouring of love, concern, and compassion from our global family. We are a family that cares, a family that will find every possible way of coming alongside those who suffer. Many are opening their hearts and their wallets to get behind our efforts to help in some way. As God makes resources available, we need to pray for his grace to use them in the best way possible. Let’s come together to ask God to show us signs and wonders of his presence with us. In the days to come, we will need each other more and more. Please stand with me as I stand with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. 


        PRAY

        1. Please pray for the safety, courage, and fruitfulness of our brothers and sisters who remain in Ukraine. 

        2. Pray for relief efforts underway from Germany, where churches are being mobilized in several vans to drive to the border of Ukraine with food and supplies and then hopefully return to Germany with 17 refugees.

        March 3

        “Today is day eight of the war.” Maxym Oliferovski paused. “ Well, really, it is year eight.”

        When the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea fell to Russia in 2014, Maxym knew that it would not stop there. Fighting continued in the eastern region of Donbas, and over 13,000 soldiers and civilians died before the signing of the Minsk Accords later that year. After that, the front lines barely shifted for years. Until February 24, 2022.

        Maxym and his wife Anya are pastors and the directors of New Hope Center in Zaporozhye, a ministry to orphans, at-risk youth, and families in crisis. When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, they evacuated themselves and others from apartment complexes in the urban center, knowing that these buildings would be targeted. Many left for the relative safety of western Ukraine, while Maxym and his wife fled to a small cabin on the city outskirts; purchased to serve as a place of personal retreat, it has become their save haven. But is it really safe?

        READ MORE>>

        Donate to Multiply’s Ukraine Ministry Project

        Your donation supports relief efforts and MB church ministries in Ukraine.

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        Multiply’s Ukraine Team is involved in evangelism, discipleship, leadership training, church planting, and emergency relief - all supported through our Ukraine Ministry project. We also support the New Hope Training Center, founded by Multiply global workers Maxym and Anya Oliferovski. This project provides orphans and youth-at-risk with vital vocational training and organizes Summer Camp ministries for families in crisis, children, youth, and the elderly. Staff of New Hope have chosen to remain in Ukraine during the war and are now involved in delivering food kits, relocating families, and responding to requests from municipal social services for emergency relief for the poor. Their new online ministry now supports isolated families with encouraging Bible messages, prayer, and the hope of the Gospel.

        Although Ukraine has faced years of political instability, and now full-scale war, the MB churches there have been growing and embracing their role of influence within society. MB churches in Ukraine have always been focused on the marginalized, the poor, and those who have been left behind by society and traditional churches. For years, they have organized relief for people in the Donetsk war zone, providing food, medicine, water, and the Good News. This work is now happening on an even greater scale throughout Ukraine, providing both immediate emergency relief and the eternal hope of the Gospel, with a vision to see multiplying churches that utilize a holistic approach to serve and transform local communities.

         
        View related videos

        Ukraine Update - March 15, 2022

        Ukraine Update - March 8, 2022

        March 8, 2022 - Safety in Steyr

        A clip from our call with Maxym and Anya on March 1, 2022

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