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Mission among Ukrainian Refugees

The Baptist movement in Poland is nearly 170 years old and its origins date to the activity of Johann Gerhard Oncken in Hamburg (Germany). In the middle of the 19th century, he had planted numerous congregations among the German-speaking people who inhabited the territories of East Prussia (now Poland). As time passed the spiritual movement spread among the Polish and Russian-speaking people that inhabited this territory. This continued until the 2nd World War. It seems that nowadays the history is repeating as in recent years the Ukrainian-speaking congregations are being established in Poland.

The population of Poland is about 39 million and almost 90% are adherents of Roman Catholicism. The Baptists are a small minority but continue growing. There are nearly 120 established local congregations that include over 6 thousand baptized members. There are also several church plants and some of them are facilitated by EBF. 

Ukrainians in Poland

The invasion of Russia in Eastern Ukraine in 2014 caused many Ukrainians to emigrate from Donbas and Crimea. The first wave of migration was a regular drift of people who travelled abroad looking for safety. They were often persecuted or even expelled by the occupant regime. 

But the full-scale war which started on February 24, 2022, caused a massive flow of war refugees who flooded the neighbouring countries. According to the state statistics, at least 4 million people crossed the boundaries of Poland, mostly women with small children. They needed not only material help, like shelter, food, clothing and medicine but also psychological, legal and spiritual assistance. 

The churches of different denominations were the first to offer this kind of aid. Some indigenous missionaries arrived with the refugees who started working among their countrymen. By now several Ukrainian-speaking churches belong to the Baptist Union of Poland and also church plants. 

Church Plants among Refugees

The EBF together with its mission partners facilitate 2 church planters who work among the Ukrainian refugees in Poland. This work is carried out in close cooperation with the Polish Baptists.

Roman is planting a congregation in Wroclaw (the southwestern corner of Poland) where at least 100 thousand Ukrainians found refuge. He wrote in his latest report: 

“I served as a pastor in Donbas until the invasion of Russia in 2014. Because of the war we came to Poland in 2015 as refugees and settled in the area of Wroclaw. In 2018 I and my wife became members of the First Baptist Church in Wroclaw. Shortly after that our Polish mother church commissioned us for the ministry among the constantly growing number of Ukrainians and Belarusians who are in this city.  
When the regular war started in February 2022, many Christian refugees came to our church and a mission team of about 20 persons was organized. Today we serve more than 200 people, majority being Ukrainian. We have developed different ministries, like: Sunday Worship, Preaching, Bible Study, Prayer, Choir, Youth work, Evangelistic activity, Sunday School and Women’s work.

Today, as we have grown significantly, we are considering a registration of our congregation with the Baptist Union of Poland. There is a group of elders and I'm personally involved in the process of becoming an ordained pastor. Our ultimate goal as refugees is to integrate with the Polish society and as a new church to be affiliated with the local Baptist union.
The Ukrainians maintain contacts with members of the Polish church and occasionally we hold joint services, church events, baptisms, evangelistic events, camps etc. We are one spiritual family that enjoys a great deal of unity despite some differences.”

Mykola is planting a Ukrainian congregation in Bydgoszcz (central Poland). Here is an excerpt of his report: 

“I came to Poland with my wife Oksana and children in 2018. I knew the Polish language and my goal was to gather a group of Poles and Ukrainians. There had been a Bible study group and they gladly welcomed us into their community. The group grew and had to find solutions about premises, services, evangelistic activities and funding. Additional difficulty was bilingual fellowship that required translation. 
February 24, 2022 was a turning point for the Ukrainian community. The invasion of Russia on Ukraine caused massive crowds of war refugees to move to Poland which resulted in a rapid growth of our community and a significant change of our ministry. 
We started helping the refugees with their urgent needs by providing food, clothing, housing, consultations, translation of documents, etc. Dozens of new people passed through, whom we had to help every day. Evangelism was a natural part of our work. Church services became rather spontaneous and at the same time enriched by mutual help. This was a very practical lesson on the loving a neighbour.

Currently there are over 100 adults and about 40 children in our fellowship. Thanks to the financial support of other Polish churches and some missionary organizations, we managed to rent a hall for our services. Gradually different ministries began to shape out: youth, children's, women's, music ministry, leadership, evangelism etc. 
In the summer of 2023 we invited some Ukrainian children who live in our city and have never visited a church. For this purpose, we organized a one week children's camp. In total more than 70 children signed up. During the camp we told stories about Jesus Christ, sang songs, and had fun playing games. Through this event, we managed to meet 10 new people and would like to maintain contact with them.”

Prayer requests

1. Pray that the indigenous missionaries will continue the work with vision. 

2. Pray that the refugees will integrate with society and be open to the gospel. 

3. Pray that the war in Ukraine will end soon and a just peace will prevail.

Faithfully in Christ, 

Daniel Trusiewicz

EBF Mission Coordinator

Planting new churches together!  For the glory of God! 

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