Elim reaches out to help the people of Ukraine
Several months on, this is how the movement is helping displaced families.
Elim has raised more than £300,000 through its ERA: European Conflict emergency appeal.
The funds are being used to support people affected by the conflict in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse and Elim missionaries.
Samaritan’s Purse is focusing the crisis response in Ukraine and Moldova – providing healthcare through emergency field hospitals, a medical stabilisation clinic at a train station in Ukraine and a mobile medical unit at Minage stadium in Moldova.
It is also distributing food and hygiene kits and setting up showers and latrines.
Welcoming displaced families
As millions of displaced Ukrainian families search for safe new communities, the Elim Refugee Network is helping churches and individuals respond to this need.
“The network is sharing resources, ideas and experience, and showing people how to welcome refugees into their homes and connecting them to organisations that can help them find somebody to host,” says Malcolm Duncan, who is helping to coordinate the response.
One church that has welcomed a Ukrainian family into their area is Ballymena Elim. Together with Malcolm, who has provided accommodation and helped secure visas, they are helping Elim Global’s leader in Ukraine Pastor Viktor Karplyuk and six members of his family settle into Northern Ireland.
“Ballymena Elim were quickly mobilised to pray not only for Pastor Viktor but for families and friends who remained in Ukraine,” says Bobbie Tinnion, who is helping support the family.
The church has also helped them buy essentials and organised buddies in the congregation who can support them.
Elim is registered as a super sponsor – to provide people fleeing Ukraine with temporary accommodation while they seek longer-term homes.
To support those hosting refugee families, Elim is partnering with Welcome Churches. “They work with more than 790 churches in the UK helping them and their response to refugees,” explains Malcolm.
Welcome Churches provides information in Ukrainian, Russian and English for people arriving in the UK to help them settle into communities. Its support includes connecting them with vital services such as GPs, schools and churches.
Frontline relief work
Elim pastors and members have been providing humanitarian aid and support to Ukrainian refuges in Europe.
Brighton Elim pastor Christy Smith and his wife Linda travelled to Poland to help one Elim partner and family who had fled Ukraine. They also provided aid to refugees.
In March, Christy returned to Poland to help with trauma counselling for people crossing the border.
Meanwhile, at Nantwich Elim, pastor Michelle Nunn tells how five church members worked with Operation Blessing to supply essential items at the Polish border.
“They left our time of prayer one evening and knew they had to do something,” Michelle says.
Church member Nicky Spratt coordinated donations, including nappies, biscuits, sleeping bags, PPE from a local nursing home and £18,500 of products from Unilever to be ferried to Poland in three company vans.
Just one day after the team delivered the aid, it was already being handed out to refugees by Operation Blessing.
Elim is actively involved in advocacy to support refugee families.
“We’re engaging with national and regional governments to make sure asylum seekers have all the help they need,” says Malcolm, who is leading this work.
“We want to ensure their children are supported, that they’re put into communities where they can find friendships and aren’t left isolated.
“We’re also advocating for the process of application to be as straightforward as possible, with bureaucracy kept to a minimum and security observed.”
Citychurch aid mission in Poland
In March, Elim’s Citychurch in Cologne worked with other churches, including Polish church KDM, and AVC Germany (Action for Persecuted Christians and People in Need) to receive refugees arriving at the Polish-Ukrainian border and transport them to various destinations in Poland.
“Especially in the first weeks there was a particular need to offer orientation and security to people arriving at the border through a reliable onward journey,” says pastor Dominic John.
“With the AVC and Kirche im Pott, as well as other churches from all over Germany, Citychurch sent more than 20 volunteer drivers to the Polish-Ukrainian border.
“Our focus is now helping refugee families arriving in our region find accommodation.”
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First published in the May 2022 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered to your home.
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