Many of us have watched with great concern over the cost of human lives, disruption, and the flood of refugees fleeing their homes for their survival during the past few weeks due to the Russian invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine. You may be experiencing a sense of shock, disbelief, or even denial that this is really happening. The world as we have known it since the end of the Cold War is being reshaped all over again. You may feel like you must do something to help and to respond. But how? When? Where? Who? Answers to these questions tend to immobilize us.
I have been engaged as vice president of the North American Baptist Fellowship (NABF), a group of Baptist conventions and churches in the United States and Canada serving 22 Baptist conventions with 55,000 congregations, representing 19 million members. I was elected as vice president of the Baptist World Alliance, representing Baptist conventions and churches in the United States from 2020 to 2025. This relationship connects Buckner International to Baptist conventions and churches around the globe.
I was on a Zoom call recently with 75 Baptist leaders to hear reports from our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. We followed this report with prayer. The next report was from a Baptist leader from Russia who also shared concerns over this situation followed by prayer for them. On another call we heard from Baptist leaders from the European Baptist Federation of Churches that represents 13,500 churches with 800,000 members. Since the invasion of Ukraine, these churches have coordinated support to serve 1 million Ukrainian refugees and guests fleeing to neighboring countries in Eastern Europe. These Baptist churches are prepared to serve 50,000 refugees per day.
I received a call from a colleague connecting me to a leader who had just landed from a trip to Poland. He told us about an undisclosed location where more than 450 refugees were served and another undisclosed location where more than 200 new orphans had been settled. Their parents recently perished in the war. We talked about ways Buckner International could provide humanitarian aid, consultation, and connection to Baptist leaders in Eastern Europe.
I sent a gift on behalf of Buckner International to BWAid, a ministry of BWA, to assist in the support of our brothers in sisters closest to the effort to serve children and families. I learned that one of our collaborating organizations, Texas Baptist Men, are sending volunteers and aid to Ukraine and Poland. The Baptist General Convention of Texas is collecting funds through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, to send to Ukraine. These are all trusted collaborators that are in a position to provide direct aid to Ukrainian vulnerable children and families who have suffered multiple losses and trauma due to the attack on their communities. Join me in praying for peace and serving children and families during this tragic situation.