Please pray for our home conditions in Poland, which are drastically turning bad due to high prices of gas, heating, power.
Our partners in Eastern Europe have a "new normal" as they make room for the 1.3 million Ukrainian refugees that have poured into their countries, seeping into every available space.
It has not been without sacrifice of personal space, comfort and resources, but our partners and their groups of believers have welcomed strangers into their country, homes and churches with open arms.
This letter from ITMI's Leszek Wakula, the pastor of the Baptist Church in Lodz, Poland, sheds light on what this new normal is like.
We keep on - keep on helping, providing, praying, delivering.
At this moment our government's numbers say there is 1.3 million refugees in our country. We can see them all over - on our streets, shopping malls foremost in our churches.
Last week we were able to provide and serve around 70 refugees. As it is in many other places - some get help and after one night move on to other places/destination, some (like at this moment 26 stay in our facilities) - mostly mothers with children.
This affects the way we serve them in our church. We provide meals, clothes, toys, hygienic items and medicine. We are also in contact with local authorities to secure health care for them, seek opportunities to attend school.
This is one of the major problems - re-arranging the Polish school system, so they (60% - some estimates say - of the refugees are of school-age) can attend school. Last Sunday we hosted 70 Ukrainian refugees with 45 children.
Forty-five children in Sunday School at Leszek's church last Sunday, learning about Jesus!
Our church facilities (two) are occupied with several families and we see how important is to have either some activities for the kids or school programs. This will release moms to seek some jobs in town.
We have, so far, 5 action groups in our church to coordinate the help: Housing/logging group (we just purchased a washing machine and a dryer to arrange a small laundry room for them), transportation group, provision/grocery/shopping group, group to prepare and send relief transports to Ukraine, the cooking/meals group.
There is also a timetable for all church members to sign in and volunteer at other ongoing activities with the refugees.
As I write this a large transport is loaded to be sent to the border, where our partnering churches in Ukraine will send their vehicles to pick the goods and bring this help to their churches.
Also, we send Ukrainian money - Hryvna UAH - with them. Ukrainians have problems exchanging their hryvna at our banks or exchange office - since there are millions of hryvnas right now. So, they need Polish currency - PLN for living.
We decided we will buy as the church from those who are under our protection some of their money and we will send it back to our partnering churches in Ukraine, so they can use it as they need.
Nothing is wasted.
Prayer requests: Please pray for our Polish volunteers who are eager to help but will be soon tired.
Please pray for our home conditions in Poland, which are drastically turning bad due to high prices of gas, heating, power. Sanctions - which are very needed - are also taking price on us. Pray that our work will be efficient and fruitful to bring love and peace to many hearts of Ukrainian people. Pray for strength since we are preparing ourselves for the long run. Pray for PEACE!!!
Thank you for standing with us, for your prayers and support!!!
Leszek Wakula and Lodz Baptist Church
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