Baptists in Moldova, the economically poorest country in Europe, are opening their arms to their Ukrainian neighbours fleeing from the war instigated by Russia. Over 90,000 refugees are being cared for in Moldova and a further 150,000 have passed through the country on their way to other countries, usually Romania.
In a meeting with BWA, BMS and EBF leaders, Ion Miron, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Moldova, explained how the Union has mobilised its resources to care for Ukrainian refugees at the border and through an increasing number of its churches. A brand new well-equipped Baptist residential centre has opened to accommodate Ukrainian refugees in its 250 beds. Another Centre has a capacity of 150.
But 50 local churches are also doing what they can to welcome around 1,200 refugees and give them simple accommodation at least until they can move on to other places and countries. Ion Miron also explained how many Moldovan Baptists, including his own family, have opened their homes to receive those who often arrive from Ukraine with nothing, and find that the money they thought they could draw on has lost most of its value.
The private Emmanuel Clinic run by the Baptist Union is seeking to attend to the urgent medical needs of the refugees.
There were tears in Ion’s eyes as he began to talk of some of the individuals that the 60 or so Baptist volunteers have encountered at the Ukrainian border. He told of one father who stayed in Kyiv to fight for his country and requested a neighbour to take his daughter, aged 13, to safety. This neighbour has only just passed her driving test and had to drive for three days through very difficult conditions to reach the Moldovan border. Too exhausted to continue, she was found by one of the Baptist teams and given food and rest to continue her journey.
The Union’s 65 homes for orphan children are preparing to receive 300 orphans being brought from Ukraine to the relative safety of Moldova.
Cristina Pokidko, a Moldovan member of the Executive of European Baptist Women United (EBWU) writes:
“I know your precious hearts are crying out for Ukraine and Moldova. Thank you for your love and support. It is incredibly indescribable what is going on there and here. …. We will keep taking care of God’s people to serve people in need, spiritually, emotionally and materially. Please pray for us!”
Due to its economic situation, the Moldovan Government is limited in what it can do by means of financial support. The well-organised Baptist relief effort urgently needs more funds to enable the work to continue and expand further as the need grows. To take just one example, the cost of fuel for the transportation of refugees has doubled in Moldova in recent weeks.
Thanks to donations already received, the global Baptist family, working through the European Baptist Federation, was able to make an immediate financial contribution to the Moldovan Baptist Union, and in the coming days will seek to increase this.
Will you pray for the refugees fleeing from the war and for our brothers and sisters in Moldova and elsewhere that are reaching out to them to support them in the compassionate love of Christ? Will you give to support their vital ministry with Ukrainian refugees?