Romania and Ukraine
Virginia Baptists have generously supported Ukrainian refugees with well over $500,000 in donations so far. Through the European Baptist Federation, our support goes toward different refugee ministries in countries neighboring Ukraine. For example, the Baptist Seminary as well as Project Ruth, both in Bucharest, Romania, have continued to host refugees as well as transport food relief into Ukraine. BGAV has channeled funding to those efforts, especially to provide “4:7 Boxes”, each of which provides a family of four with enough food for seven days.
In February, ten Virginia Baptist leaders visited our ministry partners in Bucharest, Romania. Our goal was to encourage our friends, to show that our support goes beyond just money, and to bring back a report on how faithfully donations have been used. Upon arrival we immediately helped stock the storage room with supplies of cooking oil, rice, beans, sugar, etc. Then we started packing boxes! In a very short time we had completed 253 boxes and had them prepped for loading onto a transporter. The ”4:7 Boxes” are transported to a small town just inside Ukraine, called Izmail. Some of the boxes are distributed to displaced families taking refuge in the Izmail area, some are used at a previously abandoned retreat center, and some are shipped on to Odessa for further distribution.
One of the highlights was our trip to Izmail, Ukraine, to visit Pastor Edward Myrmyr and his refugee ministry team. With the help of refugees currently living there, the team is renovating the retreat center, increasing their capacity for providing a safe place to sleep and food to eat. Emotional and spiritual needs are also priorities, and the team continues to learn how to receive and serve people who have been severely traumatized. Our Crisis Care Chaplaincy plans to contribute this spring to a peer-to-peer training dialogue about psycho-social support and counseling in the face of trauma.