The world watches tragedy unfold in Ukraine. The war will damage everything it touches, from local electric grids to the global economy. Whatever else will occur, we can know this: As in any crisis, vulnerable children will be among the most impacted. The updates below provide glimpses of the current wave of the Russian invasion, shared real-time by CAFO member organizations that have long served children in Ukraine.
As you read, please do not only gaze on trouble from far off. Join with our dear brothers and sisters in Ukraine by praying for each situation and person involved:
A Child’s Hope International
Essentially we are taking a 2 prong approach in Ukraine in the near term.
- The first is that we have been helping a long term partner of ours named Jeremiah’s Hope. They had a home for orphans and foster children in Ukraine. Eventually they needed to evacuate those children to a new home in Croatia. At the same time we are helping with their efforts to deliver relief supplies one van load at a time into Ukraine while also transporting Ukrainians who want to flee back out to neighboring countries.
- The second effort is to provide high protein meals for refugee families and those who are internally displaced. We have 3 shipping containers of high protein meals (855,000 meals in total) that we packed by the hands of volunteers in Cincinnati OH and then are being shipped to countries bordering Ukraine. One full container was airlifted int Kiev and is being distributed through local churches there. Another container will go with Convoy of Hope to Romania. And a third container is a collaboration with Lifeline Children’s Services to be deployed through local church partners in Romania who are serving the needs of refugees.
Long term, we also are praying about what our response will be since so many children and families will not be able to return to Ukraine for a long time.
Ambassador for Father’s House
Events have escalated quickly in Ukraine. Roman, the staff and kids are all safe! …The streets are full as people evacuate the city. A military base near Fathers House has been attacked. We have started the evacuation and the children are on their way to safety. Right now they are securing all the necessary supplies and documents to transport the children and adults who will be caring for them. They have secured housing for 120-150 people along with transportation for them. As things escalate, they are heading somewhere they will be safe throughout this time. The place they are going has agreed to allow the kids entry with or without travel forms. Kids and staff will be placed in a donor’s hotel, churches and families in a safe environment. We ask for your continued prayer and support in this fluid and uncertain time. At this time we are praying for safe travels and security during this trip across the country. We will continue to share updates via Facebook(@ambassadorsoffh)and social media as we can.
Lifeline Children’s Services
We have our FSPs in Ukraine as well as our partner Heritage Ukraine in Odessa. So far, all are safe, but the situation is grave. Heritage ministers to families with kids with special needs to help them be able to stay home & not be institutionalized. The Perekotys (our other partner) are in the US now. Yuriy’s parents however are in Ternopi. The family is currently safe but cannot leave where they are because gas stations are completely out of gas. Also, our partner Regen Foundation in Romania is prepared to receive Ukrainian refugees. We all have too many friends to count who are in harms way. I think we are all numb.
Lifesong for Orphans
All of the children and families we serve, as well as our staff and their families, are safe at this time. Our team prepared for this invasion by gathering food, water, fuel, and supplies, and they continue gathering supplies today.
We are enacting contingency plans and moving our staff, families, and youth to the safest locations we can, wherever possible.
Our hearts are heavy with what is happening. Would you join us in prayer? Please pray for:
- Wisdom and discernment for government officials and decision-makers.
- The children and families Lifesong serves to experience God’s unconditional love and peace.
- The continued safety and protection of vulnerable children, staff, volunteers, and families.
- Peace in and surrounding Ukraine.
- God’s glory through the heavy challenges.
We find encouragement in the words and mindset of Denis Poshelok, Director of Lifesong Ukraine. He recently wrote, “God is in control. In times like this, people are more open to the Gospel and are searching for answers that only He has. It’s an ideal time to serve people and point them to Christ. Our fight is a spiritual one, and we trust God will lead us through all this, as He always does.”
Nightlight Christian Adoptions
Our FT staff member in our Indiana office is a sweet, young Ukrainian citizen named Vika. She spent the whole time in tears…hasn’t been able to speak all day. Here are the prayer requests we came up with:
- For the safety of our friends and family in harm’s way
- For keen awareness of God’s presence in dark times
- For God to be victorious over His enemies
- For the protection and safety of those fighting for their freedom
- For those fleeing the country, we pray for safe and successful passage
- For all adoptions in process to find a quick and successful completion
- Knowing that the “consent of the governed” is a God-given right, for the people of Ukraine to have the same
- Knowing that all people were created with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we pray the people of Ukraine would have these rights
A Family for Every Orphan
We have been in touch with several of our partners in Ukraine and they echo what is heard in the news. Some are in the east along the border where shelling is heavy and Russian tanks are crossing over into their regions, others are more central and continue to hear sounds of missiles and see smoke in the distance as key military and infrastructure is targeted. One has evacuated his family from the east, while choosing to stay behind to continue to minister to the many children and families he serves. Another is watching the news and traffic carefully to determine when and if evacuation is wise. And another is hunkered down with many children they minister to in a nearby bomb shelter until it is safe to return.
Our partners and the vulnerable children and families they serve are in immediate need of: Gas / transportation; Food and water; Medicine and supplies; Shelter as it will take days for many to travel west
One pastor and ministry friend said: “… God is giving us peace to stay. So, we have chosen to stay here to serve the people of our church, to serve the kids of the ministry we have, and to serve people of this nation in any way that we can. We have become a place of refuge already, people know that we are a safe place to come to, and either get food or blankets or a place. And we are going to do just that. So, do pray with us and for us. We are believing that God will glorify his name through our nation. And We pray for Russia as well, for peace all over the world.”
Please also be praying specifically for…
- Slava – our partner in Kharkiv that is one of the main areas attacked the hardest, evacuated his family and stayed behind to care for the children and families he is helping. Please pray for his protection and strength.
- Jane and Barbara – Who run a family-style orphanage in the kyiv area are bunkered in a bomb shelter. Please pray for their discernment on when to return and for food supplies for the children.
- Andriy – Who is helping families in the Chernobyl region that has been hit heavily as well. He has a wife and two young children behind at home.
- Bogdan – Who has been helping aged out teens in the east relocate to safer shelters and is now stuff in the chaos of traffic and gas shortages to get back to where he needs to be.
- And for the Ukrainian Military – Without other nations stepping in, with God’s help, they are their only hope and are apparently doing really well despite being significantly outnumbered.
Serving Orphans Worldwide
We have been in contact with all of our partner homes in Ukraine, and all of the children and staff are currently safe.
However, please continue your prayers and support.
Pilgrim (Mariupol) and Sails of Hope (Slavyansk) are in particularly vulnerable areas of Eastern Ukraine. Our contacts have confirmed shelling and attacks all over the nation close to all 5 of our partner homes located near Kyiv, Alexandria, and even Lviv which is near the Polish border to the west.
Two of the homes have made an attempt to evacuate, but ultimately were forced to turn around and shelter in place due to Russian military strikes.
Hands of Hope
Jed in Ukraine has requested prayer for protection, discernment, wisdom, and peace. There was bombing about 20 miles away at a tank factory which shook their windows but so far that’s as close as it’s come. They have 2 generators, supplies, food, and medicine for a few months. They are all hunkered down together. I know many have dear friends there as well. Praying fervently for all of Ukraine! We know God is faithful and eventually there will be victory over all the brokenness of the world. But hard, hard things.
We’ve been in constant communication with our people in Ukraine all day. Our staff there could see and hear the explosions from their houses…. Everyone’s waiting. There’s really nowhere to go any more. The people are scared but they are determined to fight. Many volunteers are signing up to go to battle. They bombed the whole country and are trying to advance from three sides (from Crimea in the south, along Russian borders in the East and from Belorussia in the North…. we’ve sent supplies in earlier this month in anticipation of the attacks but nobody expected the whole country to be affected. All of our kids/projects have been safe for now, just praying and waiting.
Everyone has been affected in the whole country because of the Airstrikes yesterday. They continue today. Several staff from our office are gathering at her house as it’s seen as a safer place than in the city of Kyiv with multilevel buildings. And they all are praying together that nothing hits their house…
The young adults who are in our Aging Out Program are safe and are doing as well as can be expected. They are praying together as the Russian attack commences, and our Orphan Outreach team is praying alongside them as they and all of Ukraine face an uncertain future. Our Ukraine team currently has provisions to provide for their care—including food and shelter. Of course, this situation can change at any moment.
- We are in contact with all HOPE Ukraine staff to enact relocation plans and move ahead with contingency plans for operations in the coming days. Most staff closest to the Russia-Ukraine border have already relocated.
- Our focus now is planning for how best to support the families we serve in this time. Conflict often means disruption and uncertainty for business owners, many of whom rely on daily income to provide for their families. Many entrepreneurs’ businesses are now severely impacted as millions of Ukrainians relocate within and outside of the country.
- We hope and pray that this disruption will be short-lived, but we’re also preparing for the possibility of longer-term impact to our work in Ukraine.
How you can pray:
- For peace and protection: Pray that the current conflict with Russia will cease; pray for protection and peace for all of Ukraine.
- For the Ukrainian Church: Pray for church leaders as they seek to guide their communities and respond with love, faith, and prayer to the ongoing situation.
- For the entrepreneurs we serve: Pray for wisdom and hope as they navigate business disruptions, uncertainty, and decreased income.
- For loan officers and staff working directly with entrepreneurs: Pray that our loan officers and support staff would have Spirit-filled strength to be a witness for Christ amid uncertainty, supporting entrepreneurs just as they have been throughout the pandemic.
- For leaders: Pray for wisdom, clarity, and mindfulness for Ukrainian leaders making decisions during this crisis—both government officials and HOPE Ukraine staff.
(See more here)
We are in contact with our friends and staff in Ukraine daily. We are connected to all regions/territories of Ukraine from the west to the east and north to the south. Our friends asked us if they could use the basements of the Ministry Center as bomb shelters…one request I never thought I would receive. Here is a letter excerpt from one of our sisters in Jesus Christ. She is in one of cities that is under siege by the Russians:
“Families that have children with autism, special needs, especially struggle in this difficult time in our country. During the artillery shelling and bombing these children do not understand what is happening. As they are forced to sit in dark cold basements, strong smells, they become very nervous and their behaviour becomes erratic and hysterical. The women themselves become fearful, it feels like your heart is going to stop but we need to take care of the children, to settle them down .
We formed a prayer group, so that we could pray together, support one another and help each other as much as possible.
Yesterday we were informed that more shelling and bombing was coming, our city will be targeted again. We united in a prayer before the Lord and asked for mercy, the Lord placed upon our hearts to pray for a miracle and so we did. After prayer some stayed at the shelter and prayed and others went to their homes.
The shelling and bombs did not come and later they learned that 40 tanks were positioned just outside of their city. But they could not move on the city because they all ran out of fuel. Their fuel supply convoy was destroyed by Ukraine forces…
We keep praying, again we received more warnings about shelling and bombing but our God is alive and we trust in His mercy.
It is very painfully sad that our city is surrounded and we cannot send our children from the city to safety…some families are experiencing lack of food, but we are searching for ways to find some.”