Caring for Refugees in Poland
In the first half of this year, we sent a team from YWAM Perth to Poland to serve with YWAM Slavic Ministries, caring for refugees displaced during the war in Ukraine. The conflict has brought wide-spread impact, death, pain and heartbreak.
Since the start of the war, YWAM Slavic Ministries have coordinated YWAM’s regional efforts to address the crisis, organising volunteers and resources. They have served sacrificially, at times risking their own safety for the sake of others. Our YWAM Perth team joined their efforts in May, serving wherever there was need.
Faced with war and displacement, people still have very ordinary needs – food, water, shelter, hygiene. The team shared many stories of seeing God touch lives in small, profound moments, as well as in timely provision. One day, some of the team members were about to go shopping to restock hygiene and baby items they needed at their distribution tent. Just as they were about to leave, two women arrived with boxes. They had driven from Germany with a van full of exactly the supplies the team had put on their list.
Sometimes people’s immediate needs are physical or tangible, other times they are emotional. One of the team members shared about an older lady she met. The woman’s family was dispersed all over Europe and she herself was headed to England. After their initial conversation in an evacuation centre, our team member met the woman again.
“She approached me later in the day, asking to speak with me again. She left her children in the creche and invited me to her 'home.' We sat perched on the stretcher in her allocated space. This time she shared deeper her hopes, her dreams, her sadness, her fears and beliefs. We laughed and cried and she talked and talked while I listened and reflected back, asking just a few questions. We had a true, deep connection. When she was finishing, I offered to pray for her and her family and she allowed this. She began to cry again and on completion of our interaction we exchanged contacts and she said 'Now I feel hope and lighter; you lifted me up; who needs a psychologist when I have a real friend?'”
In the midst of deep pain and uncertainty, the team got to glimpse God at work in many ways, pursuing people and showing His love to them.
One of the team members shared this story of observing a young man who was attentively supervising his two young daughters. “He spent many hours in the YWAM tent. I came and went, but whenever I saw him, I noticed that he was fantastic with his girls and I would say you are a “good dada” as he changed their nappies and provided care. At the end of the day, we were packing up the tent and the father was looking at our literature. I gave him a Bible and encouraged him to read it. I told him that he was a good dada who loved his kids and that the Bible was a book about an even better Dad who loved so much more. I passed his room before I left and he was on his stretcher reading the Bible and he gave me a big wave. The next day his wife approached me for prayer as their family was leaving that afternoon. The dad was waiting for me with Google Translate open with a very long message for me to read. The message began 'I have read the Jesus book. I believe. Thank you for showing me the love of Jesus. I want to love like Jesus.’ At that stage I could not read any more - I was crying and so was he. The three of us embraced and prayed a prayer of salvation. I encouraged him to get connected in his new home and to grow in his love for Jesus, his wife and his children.”
We continue to pray for those impacted by the war in Ukraine, trusting God for His healing and restoration. If you would like to contribute towards the needs that YWAM Slavic Ministries is addressing, or if you would like regular prayer updates from this region, please contact them here.