Millions of people continue to need humanitarian assistance as the war in Ukraine rages on. Canadian Baptists alongside Baptist groups around the world faithfully work to respond amid the devastation and tragedy.
CBM joined with the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development and the European Baptist Federation to provide winterization supplies as was needed in the colder seasons, as well as the German Baptist Aid in facilitating the delivery of necessities such as hygiene kits and food. Baptists all over the world responded in prayer and in generosity to help those in need with more than 600,000 receiving aid, hospitality and care in Ukraine and in the bordering countries where many have sought refuge.
Ukrainian Baptist Churches became safe havens for those fleeing the violence. Beyond the physical needs, they ministered to the guests that came through, including the facilitation of children’s programs. While bordering countries provided services with Ukrainian translation.
Despite the numerous challenges and risk to their own lives, Ukrainian Baptists continue to provide hope. These brave acts of love have led many to Christ. Over 3,000 have been baptized and around 25,000 have begun attending Baptist churches in Ukraine. As reported by the EBF: “For as many church members who have fled, new ones are coming. Most churches are full, and many have had to begin holding numerous services to accommodate the number of people…After a year of suffering, of uncertainty, and of challenges, Ukrainian Baptists are resolute to continue their service and sacrifice no matter how long the war continues. Churches are energised by the new members and the ways God is using them to serve so critically.”
“Jesus is the great example who teaches us integral mission of the Church. We can move forward and fulfill our call as a church to go forth, be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, created by God for good works,” shares Pastor Fernando who ministers at the Final Trumpet Church in Guatemala. He is also the Director of Roca, a non- profit organization providing care for the elderly.
He knows what being the salt and light means by living out the Word of God in action. Crime is rampant in the neighbourhood where he ministers, and many families often struggle financially. The community severely lacks resources like public transport, schools, and clinics. The challenges with the global economy also affect the cost of living, making it more difficult for families to access basic needs, including food.
CBM’s partner in Guatemala, ENLACE, initiated a Church and Community Program that equips and resources local churches to serve and engage the local population holistically. The Program provides church leaders with coaching on topics that include leadership development, community engagement, project management, and forming networks to transform neighbourhoods like Pastor Fernando’s.
With this training, he and his wife learned how to approach community leaders and have since developed meaningful relationships. The result of which is the coordination of responses that have brought about important changes to key issues plaguing their communities.
“ENLACE has been a timely program for us in determining the community needs. It has helped bring together leaders in partnership to address local concerns in a cooperative way,” says Pastor Fernando. Through biblical foundations, his congregation has gained a greater understanding of why the church must serve the community.
“I look forward to a broader environment of help and cooperation with other organizations for the transformation of our communities. United with area pastors and community leaders as well as with the community itself [we have hope for] a more stable economic situation, [healthier communities], and a deeper revelation of Jesus Christ in people.”