The PAOC's Response to the War in Ukraine - Update
Dear PAOC family,
We are humbled and immensely proud to be a part of this Fellowship and our global Pentecostal family. As the invasion of Ukraine enters its second month, the needs and the violence are unfortunately increasing. However, you are a part of an incredible network of churches and partnerships that is bringing love, peace, and timely help to the people of Ukraine.
Thank you to all the individuals and churches across the PAOC who choose to confront this tragic situation with a spirit of generosity. We want to update you on the efforts from ERDO (Emergency Relief & Development Overseas), our church partners, and your global workers.
PRAY FOR PEACE
As a Fellowship, we continue to pray for peace and for the victims of this invasion. If you want to stay up to date with the latest prayer needs, make sure you are signed up by clicking (HERE).
OUR PAOC GLOBAL WORKERS
PAOC global workers in Europe are making an immediate impact. Across Europe, global workers are helping with refugee resettlement and providing direct help.
Specifically, we want to highlight the following:
- Ed Dickson, of Loads of Love, is co-ordinating with ERDO and our church partners in Ukraine to provide emergency assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
- Jennifer and Raz Iacob have been instrumental in evacuating children with disabilities, providing aid to Ukraine, and are working with ERDO to evacuate and house some ChildCARE Plus (CCP) children.
- Sheldon and Anna Armitage are leading refugee aid efforts with a church in Slovakia. They are also providing anti-human trafficking support and aid to refugees.
- Stephen and Patti Hertzog, our regional director for Eurasia, are housing two pastor families from Eastern Ukraine and are co-ordinating our continental response.
- Peter and Arlene Paluch are co-ordinating PAOC aid efforts with the Pentecostal Church in Poland.
- Aaron and Katya Pilon, former global workers to Ukraine, now pastoring in Saskatchewan, have been helping with refugee orientation and translation at train stations in Warsaw, Poland.
- Greg and Lynn Swinamer have been working closely with Peter Paluch and Aaron Pilon to support the relief efforts in Poland.
As refugees are moving west from the bordering countries, support will be needed throughout Europe. It is important that our global workers in Eurasia are assured of our continued support.
ERDO is leveraging its network of European Christian aid agencies and church partnerships to mount a comprehensive response. Their approach focuses on life-sustaining and life-saving support in Ukraine for IDPs and refugees fleeing the conflict zone. This includes providing evacuation and emergency food assistance, water, shelter, and medical supplies in Ukraine. It also includes providing food, shelter, supplies and transportation in countries receiving refugees.
IMPACT BY COUNTRY
The needs are most significant in Central and Eastern Ukraine. ERDO is currently leveraging the partnership with Churches of Praise and the Pentecostal Union of Churches (which includes Lviv Theological Seminary) to:
- Provide water, shelter, sanitation, and transportation to serve thousands of IDPs.
- Evacuation of CCP children in Ukraine.
- Evacuation of 3,000 children with disabilities.
- Provide church-level support and provision through our partners, especially to groups unable to evacuate.
The Pentecostal Churches in Poland are mobilizing an incredible response. Churches have opened their buildings to house refugees, and individual families are taking in Ukrainians. The bulk of the refugees have fled to Poland, so ERDO is providing the churches there with help procuring food, emergency shelter, water, sanitation, and transportation.
Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, and it is receiving more refugees than its systems are equipped to handle. Our partner is working with ERDO to provide shelter, transportation, and food for refugees.
ERDO is working with the national Pentecostal movement to transport supplies. The movement is also providing food and housing for Roma (Gypsy) refugees from Ukraine, who often face discrimination and are ignored by government refugee programs. Many refugees and their families from Eastern Ukraine are being housed and cared for by the Church.
As previously mentioned, Jennifer and Raz Iacob have been instrumental in helping to evacuate CCP children and Ukrainian children with disabilities to Romania. There is an ongoing need for transportation, housing and emergency assistance, and there are more children in need of evacuation. They are also building capacity by training workers to address war-trauma issues in children and families.
All countries in Europe face a renewed refugee crisis as Ukrainians move from Eastern European countries west. However, the greatest needs are still in eastern Europe. The Pentecostal churches and movements in this region are undertaking a response far beyond their size. Across the region, churches and individuals are evacuating people, transporting supplies, and housing refugees.
The Armitages and Iacobs are also responding with anti-human trafficking efforts in Slovakia and Romania. This effort is being co-ordinated as a part of a pan-European response and will need greater resourcing in the near future.
Please continue to intercede for our global workers that they may experience ongoing protection and wisdom. The peoples of the Russian Federation, especially our partner churches and denominations, remain on our hearts and in our prayers.
ERDO is doing incredible work in Ukraine that you can support by clicking on this link: ERDO – Ukraine Emergency Response.
It is also important for us to remember that while the media is focused on Ukraine, ERDO, on behalf of our Fellowship, is also responding to the ongoing conflicts in Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many Canadians are asking leaders to provide a balanced response to conflicts around the world.
Click on the following links to find out more and donate:
Whatever your ministry context today, you can play a role in responding to conflict and war with the peace of the gospel. Your PAOC global workers throughout the Eurasia region are leading, co-ordinating, and actively participating in relief efforts. Our team is happy to connect you with a worker in this region to help mobilize your church’s response. By clicking on the following link you will see a list of PAOC global workers in Eurasia - Global Workers (paoc.org)
We are also grateful for PAOC churches who, through relationships, are directly involved in receiving Ukrainian refugees. Join us in praying for the successful relocation of those who are choosing to come to Canada at this time. As a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the PAOC continues to work with our local churches and their resettlement teams through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program, using annual allocations provided to us from IRCC. For information on IRCC’s Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, click here.
As family, we pray, we support, we stand together,
Executive Director for Mission Global
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