We have been in awe with how quickly, efficiently and selflessly all our partners have organised themselves in response to the refugee crisis facing their country. Dancu is a 15-minute drive away from the Romanian border at Leuseni. Thanks to your support, within a week of the war starting Pastor Slavic and his team had erected a tent and were providing food and drink to the queues of people waiting to cross from Moldova into Romania. The bread is provided fresh from the Dancu bakery every day. Vadim Talmaci, the youth worker from Dancu, co-ordinates a team of 150 volunteers to be there 24 hours a day every day. These volunteers are from villages along the route to the border - some of them are Baptist, some of them are Orthodox - all of them are united in this ministry to love and to serve those in such desperate need.
In the same period of time, the Hope Club extension to the community centre was converted into a hostel, with showers fitted and beds installed. There is now an increasing number of refugees wanting to stay until the war is ended when hopefully they can return to Ukraine. There are currently 30 people staying on a long-term basis at the centre, and another 10 staying in homes, mainly women and children. There is also a constant stream of people passing through, so they regularly have 50 people with them each night. The upper room to the extension is now complete and ready to accommodate more refugees. It is their plan to buy 10 bunk beds, mattresses and bedding for another 20 people, and also to install two more showers and toilets, the total cost of which is estimated to be £6,500. Your support has also helped Pastor John, a regional elder, to furnish a centre in Bozieni and to provide food for the 53 refugees they have staying. It costs an average of £8 per day to provide food for one refugee, not including toiletries, contributions towards heating, fuel, etc.
However, the love and care our partners show is not just by providing a warm, safe place to be and good food to eat. It is in the way they listen to the stories their new friends need to share and by weeping with those who weep. It is the way they include them into their community. The singing and preaching in church is now in Russian so their Ukrainian guests can participate and understand. One lady and her daughter received Jesus recently, and said how glad they were that God had brought them to Dancu! Three of the Ukrainian teenagers enjoyed attending a regional youth event with over 200 young people. Women have asked Slavic to “meet” their husbands over video calls, and these men have thanked him with tears for looking after their families so well. Some of the Ukrainian women are enjoying working in the bakery and the cheese factory alongside the Dancu women, and the men have helped with the construction work in the centre. Having activities to do is a real therapy for them, giving meaning and purpose to their lives. Slavic’s son, Alex, and his friends are enjoying getting to know the Ukrainian children and playing together, so although the days hold many tears, they are often filled with laughter too.
This is a message from Pastor Slavic - “Thank you dear friends for all your encouragements but we couldn’t do so much without your prayers and all your amazing support. Our friends from Ukraine are feeling so touched when we tell them that there are many Christians in the UK praying for them and helping us so that we can help them.”