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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

September 29, 2022

When Home is Not Safe

In the early hours of September 22, we received this text from Maxym O., director of New Hope center in Zaporizhzhya: “A rocket just hit the TV tower near our apartment building. The glass in the windows blew out in the entrance and in some apartments. Our daughter Katya was at home, and very scared. 

“Thank God, she is alive. Please, continue to pray for us and for Ukraine

Throughout that day, nine more missiles landed in this area. Katya had only recently, like many other displaced Ukrainians that sought refuge outside of Ukraine, decided to return to her country, her parents, and her home.

Homesick

The Ukraine MB conference (AMBCU) blogpost affirms that “despite the war that continues to literally tear apart the country and takes human lives every day, people want to come home… Hundreds of thousands of children had to leave their homes, schools and part with their best friends and close relatives…  “One thirteen-year-old boy was from occupied Kherson; he had to leave home for Chernivtsi because of the war. When asked, ‘How are you?’ he answered, ‘Far from home.’"  


New Partnerships

The New Hope Center teams have started a significant work together with the municipal social services of Zaporizhzhia, meeting for training once a week to give support, share valuable information, and strategize relief efforts. One topic of the training was the Poverty Stoplight Program, with the goal to raise the standard of living for people in every sphere. Social workers are eager to see how they can apply in practice this resource in their work with families in crisis. The partnership is rich and fruitful, and Maxym writes of the joy felt by all as they serve together to bring hope and healing to their part of Ukraine.

Life in a Cellar

MB pastor Oleksii M. writes of another visit to the front-line city of Avdeevka to deliver humanitarian aid. The war has brought increased pain and destruction to this place, and the dark circumstances had obviously impacted its inhabitants. He writes, “In the absence of goodness, life is inevitably filled with something disgusting and dark. Here there is an absence of light, gas and water; replaced by darkness, cold and thirst. The lack of utilities has plunged the city into chaos and brought debris and mud to the broken streets. Lack of work and money has led to anger and blame. ‘Nobody cares about us. We have been left to die,’ they say. Some turn to lies and theft, cynical that any help will reach them and feeling that they have been abandoned to fend for themselves.

Lack of adequate housing, the absence of family and friends, an unsustainable rhythm of life and intolerable conditions in the damp and stuffy cellars where they are forced to live has resulted in trauma, poor health and an overwhelming sense of fatigue and irritability. Oleksii’s team delivered flashlights, candles, batteries, food and sanitary items to these people, hoping to make their lives a little more bearable. 

He writes:

“Don’t stop praying for the people who live on the frontline! Pray for their safety and pray for them to come out of the darkness, a darkness which is both spiritual and physical. The war reveals many contrasts. 1 John 1:5 tells us that God is light, and there is no darkness in Him. John 12:46 says that Jesus is the light and came into the world so that none of those who believe in him would be in the darkness. We must bring this light to Ukraine.

Winter is Coming

AMBCU conference minister Roman R. writes of his countrymen preparing for a harsh winter, where fuel for heating will be scarce if not nonexistent. Missile strikes have destroyed many municipal heating networks, and the evacuation of the population has been announced in several regions. Some are preparing by stocking up on firewood. Pray for those who are especially vulnerable in these circumstances, such as the sick, elderly, isolated, and those forced to live in cellars and other inadequate shelters.

Together, We Can

MB pastor Alexei Y. reports that they continue to gather with displaced refugees to share the Gospel, pray, and even – against the natural inclinations one would expect under these circumstances – to sing. He writes, “Volunteers and relief workers do not just share in word, but in deeds, and with huge hearts! We met together in Vinnytsia to distribute care packages from Mission Eurasia, with whom we are partnering. Meeting practical needs, and just listening to their stories, this makes a huge difference. 

“Together, we can do a lot!”

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of food have been packed and sent to the east of the country by teams of young adults over the past six months. These volunteers are themselves refugees from the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia and Donbas, but they work tirelessly to send aid to those in need. One participant remarked, “It will be fine Ukraine that has generations of such sons and daughters, jealous messengers of the Gospel, who are at the forefront of the humanitarian efforts. Pray for them that God will preserve and give them even more strength.

New Birth

MB pastor Sergei F. from the Small Arch Church was distributing relief in Kyiv when his wife Nastya gave birth to their first child, a girl, in Bielefeld, Germany. While all praise God for the safe delivery, and the safety of both mother and child in Germany, there is grief at being apart for so long. Pray for pastor Sergei as he continues to serve in Kyiv, where their church plant has relaunched Sunday services and is celebrating a different kind of new birth, through conversions and baptisms. Pray for the reuniting of families like his. 

Pray for peace in Ukraine

View Previous Updates

September 15, 2022

New Hope Center

New Hope Center in Zaporizhzhya continues to minister to more and more families in crisis, offering temporary shelter and helping the displaced to continue westward. Seeking to broaden their resources for ministry to the traumatized, some of their team spent time learning from a nonprofit organization in Chisinau, Moldova. One team member writes, “It was a really inspiring experience for us. We learned about their programs and had a chance to participate in art therapy classes.” Maxym Oliferovski, New Hope director, continues to plan for the future, recognizing that ministry to the displaced and traumatized will require a long-term strategy that offers months, not days, of shelter, rehabilitation, retraining and pastoral care.



Maxym writes, “It's been half a year since the full scale invasion in Ukraine began. The needs are still so vast! We continue to run the shelter that you helped us to remodel, but besides meeting physical needs, we want to start meeting people's emotional and mental needs. These ones are more difficult to meet, and so our team is being trained in post-traumatic stress disorder. We hope to prevent the effects of war trauma in the future by giving support to the families now. We need to start planning for the future of our country, and this will be a long-term goal. Please pray for strength and wisdom, as we envision and begin new ministry projects.”


Unity in Community

War is hard on marriages and families. Ukraine MB conference minister Roman Rakhuba tells of recent outreach events which focus on the alarming increase in domestic violence in Ukraine. Together with local police, they visit various communities to distribute both food and informative booklets, praying with individuals, families as well as with police officers. Pray for God’s people to continue to minister in unity as they oppose evil, heal hearts, and persevere in kindness and generosity. Pray for peace. 

Ongoing Giving

Thank you for your ongoing donations toward Ukraine ministries. Because of you, Multiply’s Ukraine Team continues to be involved in evangelism, discipleship, leadership training, church planting, and emergency relief - all supported through our Ukraine Ministry project. The New Hope Training Center, under the leadership of Multiply Ukraine leaders Maxym and Anya Oliferovski, continues to care for families in crisis and to plan for future ministry that will help their country to recover from the trauma of war. Our Ukraine MB churches continue to focus on the marginalized, the poor, and those who have been left behind by society and traditional churches, as well as providing immediate emergency relief to the damaged and displaced. Thank you for your generous support and, especially, for your prayers.

August 24, 2022


UKRAINE INDEPENDENCE DAY

August 24 is Ukrainian Independence Day, a day commemorating Ukraine’s formal separation from the Soviet Union in 1991. This year, August 24 is also a day of bitter irony, commemorating six months since a Russian invasion initiated an ongoing war. Could it be, for us, a day of fasting and prayer?    

On this anniversary of freedom, we encourage prayer not only for peaceful resolution to this devastating and deadly conflict, but also for deep reconciliation with the God of peace. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) have issued this statement, “On this day of independence, we want to declare our dependence on God, the One who can bring true peace to the hearts of each individual person, each family and even entire peoples.” The WEA has also made available this kid-friendly prayer guide for families to use as we pray for Ukraine. www.children.worldea.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Pray-with-Children-in-War-and-Conflict.pdf

Ukrainians have always had their own culture and language, but for centuries were dominated by Russia, Poland, Turkey and other countries. Because of this, the holiday has always been a time for Ukrainians to publicly express their love for, and strong commitment to, their homeland. Celebrations have typically been strongest in the capital of Kyiv, but with the realities of war overshadowing the city, the Ukrainian capital has banned public gatherings, with security forces on alert and ready to respond to any missile attacks or bombings. Pray for protection, and pray for peace.  
 
MINISTRY TO DISPLACED PEOPLE


Pastor Maxym and the team at New Hope Center in Zaporizhia continue to provide shelter and care for those fleeing war zones. He writes, “We had thought that by the end of summer the amount of displaced people would decrease. But unfortunately it stays the same. There are still many people moving out from occupied territories and search for a safer place.” Max continues, “The Heart of Christ MB church in Vinnytsia is also leaning in to help displaced people from other parts of the country to integrate into their new realities. MB pastor Aleksei writes, ‘Although it is important to help people by giving away food kits and essentials, it is also important to help them find jobs, rent houses, meet together, make new friends, and just talk. Every Friday we hold a tea party where people can share their problems. People are looking for answers to their questions; we tell them about Jesus, the One who helps us go through and survive all these horrors of war. Pray for us to show the heart of Christ.’”

Other relief efforts minister to both civilians and military alike, as church teams share practical aid as well as emotional and spiritual encouragement. We are told, “Everyone we meet is amazed and encouraged - beyond what I can even express in words - to learn that there are people in North America who pray for them, and who even give their own money to help them. Even from thousands of miles away, you are encouraging Ukrainians in their fight for their sovereign right to exist and to live in peace. Thank you!”  

SUMMER CAMP MINISTRIES
Despite increased dangers and logistical challenges, Ukraine summer camps are reaching children, youth, and families with the hope of Jesus. One of our MB pastors in Ukraine writes, “We hear these words: ‘I don't want to leave here.’ This is what we are hearing again and again as camps are ending. Summer is flying by at a tremendous speed. Time is not in our power, but we wish we could stop it. More than seventy people came to the tent camp from Avdeevka, Andreevka, Berdyansk, Zaporizhia, and Balkovoye. Several kids gave their hearts to Jesus; we keep working with each one, we believe that all of them will be servants of God! On behalf of everyone, I would like to say words of gratitude to Multiply, Mission Eurasia, and the Association of Mennonite Brethren Churches of Ukraine (AMBCU) for making this possible.”


MB pastor Oleksii Makaiov also writes about what God has done through camp ministries this summer, “What we definitely didn't expect and didn't plan for, during this turbulent war time in Ukraine, was to hold a summer camp for young people. And yet the camp took place! Young people from Zaporizhia, Dnipro, Kyiv, and Molochansk spent several days in the quiet refuge of the Carpathian mountains. Thank you for helping with the camp, and for your prayers!”

August 12

Summer camps in Ukraine have risen courageously to the challenges imposed by war. Pastor Alexei in Kherson reports, “Special pain is felt for those children who are without a home, who sat in bomb shelters for months, who saw people die and their homes being bombed.” Their team in Vinnytsia has been holding weekly children's day camps for children living in schools, dorms and other shelters, as well as for the local children from Vinnitsa. “We are giving joy to children during war,” Alexei says. This is no small victory.

Pastor Maxym, director of New Hope Center in Zaporizhia, speaks soberly of the recent missile strikes in his city. Many houses were damaged in the village as a result of shelling in the suburbs, and some were completely destroyed. The risk to the nuclear power plant remains high. 

Maxym’s wife Anya writes, “Daily I receive many messages from friends from abroad, asking, ‘How are you?’ Many write that they pray for us. Our nights are rough and restless. Explosions are heard all night. One morning, I learned that two rockets were shot down over the community where my mother lives. I pray daily for my country, for peace. 

“Please, Lord, let this be soon!”

Pastor Oleksii in Molochansk is involved in distributing thousands of Multiply relief bags to people in need in various regions of Ukraine, supplying urgently needed food kits and personal hygiene products. 

He writes, “This war touches everyone. In addition to numerous losses in the army, civilians are dying every day; schools, hospitals, houses and the country's vital infrastructure are being destroyed. Ukraine still needs our prayers and help! By daily meeting with people and passing them a food basket, we build friendships and remind ourselves and them of God's promise from Hebrews 13:5 – ‘I will never forget you; I will never leave you.’”

July 22

MB pastor Oleksii reports on how the war has disrupted their usual summer camp ministries. With Molochansk now being occupied territory, holding a camp there was impossible. However, as young people and families with children have been evacuated to a safer location, opportunities to run camps in western Ukraine opened up. He writes, “Last week we were able to minister to over 130 children - displaced children whose homes are in the occupied territory or in the war zone, children whose parents are fighting at the front lines, and just local children as well. They were all united by the hope that the war would end, that long-awaited peace would follow, and that they and their parents could go home together. Pray for these children, that their childhood dreams will come true. Pray for peace in Ukraine.”

The MB church of Nikolay-Pole, in the Zaporizhzhya region, has been able to host a children’s summer camp, which they called “Your Choice”. Fifty-three children have attended the camp, half of whom are refugees from the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia and the Donetsk regions. The camp program includes a Bible lesson, fun workshops, a delicious lunch, and various outdoor sports activities. Church volunteers are asking us to pray that the living Word of God will work in the hearts of these children.


MB pastor Sergei of the New Hope Church in Zaporizhzhya reports that they continue to work in the frontline zones, where they have already helped evacuate more than 4000 people back to the relative safety of Zaporizhzhia. There, the New Hope Center has created a warm and welcoming refuge to house them. Many arrive with nothing but the shirts on their backs, having spent two or more months in bomb shelters. Every day since the war began, Max and Anya Oliferovski and their team of volunteers - including psychologists - cook for, feed, house and minister to complete strangers who are shell-shocked and traumatized. Volunteers continue to do this even while their own homes and lives are in danger. The New Hope team write, “Every new day brings sounds of sirens, rockets that destroy houses and take away lives. At night we are not allowed to turn on the lights, and must stay at home. Most of our faces look exhausted and tired. May war not become something ordinary. We need to stay strong in our prayers. And not lose our true Hope.”

Pastor Alexsei of Berdyansk has been living and serving in Vinnytsia with his family since they were forced to flee their home in eastern Ukraine which was taken over by Russians. Recently, at least twenty-three people were killed in a midday missile attack, despite the city being hundreds of kilometers from the front-line. “Many of our leaders and church members have been forced out of their homes, yet they do not stop helping others. Every week we give out seventy or more family food packages, and part of the team continues active service in Vinnytsia, giving out food, hygiene products, clothing and more. But the most important thing that we give is hope, something which is very much missing, as we know from our own experience. Some people have begun to attend the church and learn about Jesus. They tell stories about how they have literally escaped death and believe that God is giving them another chance.”


July 8


MB pastor Oleksii in Dnipro reports that summer camps, although dramatically restricted, are still going forward this year, ministering to children and families in crisis and sharing the hope of the Gospel. Camps will not take place in high-risk regions where churches are already doing extensive relief work with evacuation, humanitarian assistance, psychological and spiritual support. However, small teams from MB churches in the cities of Molochansk, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhya and elsewhere are being sent to western Ukraine to partner with churches that have a large number of refugees, children of those serving in the military, and local families. Right now, the first of three anticipated camps is taking place in the city of Novoyavorivsk (Lviv region). Another is shortly to take place in the Carpathian mountains and in the village of Lybohora (Lviv region).

 Kateryna Oliferovska (daughter to Maxym and Anya of the New Hope Center in Zaporizhzhya) will be volunteering at a summer camp in the Khmelnistkiy region (unoccupied as yet). She writes, “It’s time to share about God’s mercy. I came to Germany in the middle of January, not knowing that I would stay here for six months instead of my planned month-and-a-half. One of the reasons I went to Germany was to take a break from my New Hope Center work with kids, and to find out what God wants from me. But children have been following me everywhere! I ended up doing almost the same work at the German elementary school as I did in Ukraine. During this time I have realized how much I want to help Ukrainian kids to have a life full of peace, hope and joy. I want to use my knowledge to restore the broken. When I heard about an opportunity to serve at summer camps, I didn’t have any doubts. Incredibly, God made a way for me!” Donations towards these summer camps can be made at www.multiply.net/project/ukrainian-mb-summer-camp-ministry

In Lithuania, MB churches have continued to coordinate humanitarian aid trips to Ukraine. On the fifth trip, cash and food supplies were taken in three vans from Vilnius to the city of Lublin in Poland, to be used for Ukraine relief work. From there, the teams crossed into Ukraine and unloaded more supplies at a warehouse in the western Ukrainian province of Zakarpattia. While the flow of refugees being transported out of Ukraine and into Lithuania has slowed, a 17-year-old girl from Mariupol was brought across the Slovakian border. Lithuanian MB pastor Arturas Rulinskas and others express their thanks to all who are contributing to this cause, both financially and in prayer.


Ukrainian journalist Oleg Sheykevych writes of the recent attacks in Odessa: “Most people have the illusion that the tragedy of war is somewhere out there - and that it will not touch us. Until the awareness of the calamity comes with the calamity itself, and the missiles hit closer to home. The Illusion of safety is dangerous.” Pray for those who lost loved ones in this attack, and for those facing intensified battle in the Donbas as Russian troops push into the eastern city of Slovyansk.

 
 

June 27


In Lithuania, pastors Gediminas Dailyde, Valdas Vaitkevi?ius and 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!”


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

      Donate to Multiply’s Ukraine Ministry Project

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

      View more and find out how...

      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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