“These people need to be loved, to be cared for, to be received. From the first day that the war started, political differences do not exist anymore. We are united – we are bound,” said Marek Glodek, President of the Baptist Union of Poland. “Our people have opened their homes and churches and do not count the cost. God gives us strength, joy, and understanding that this is a moment we can walk together like never before.”
Ukrainian refugees who fled into Poland take shelter in Warsaw at the Warsaw Baptist Theological Seminary. The majority of refugees are women and children, many of whom were forced to say goodbye to husbands, fathers, and sons barred from crossing due to
Within the first month of the war, approximately 200,000 refugees crossed into Slovakia. To meet the pressing need, nearly every church in the Baptist Union of Slovakia was called upon to offer accommodation to refugees in church buildings and members’ homes. In addition to offering hospitality, church members helped refugees obtain the right documentation, find schooling for their children, and seek employment. The union also acquired a 24-ton truck, which was commissioned to send humanitarian aid – including fresh drinking water and food – into Ukraine.
“We have lived in prosperity and peace for the last thirty years, and I was always wondering how our churches would respond in a time of real crisis,” said Martin Tobák of the Baptist Union in Slovakia. “I praise the Lord for this ministry today and our little contribution to be the light of the world and salt of the earth.”
Even with the magnitude of need, God has used the generosity of Baptists worldwide to sustain the work of his people.
“The Heavenly Father is providing,” said Tobák. “We didn’t even have to ask. We just received so many calls from friends across Europe and around the world asking how they can help. We give thanks for the support that has enabled this ministry.”
“Today we affirm again our love for all people across this region, renew our commitment to enter into the sufferings of humanity, and stand in the belief that all conflicts and differences can be resolved peacefully.”
For Glodek, it has been an opportunity to see not only God’s provision but also God’s kingdom on earth. “The global Baptist church is part of this movement,” he said. “Physically, you are not with us, but spiritually, you are participating with us. This challenge does not have borders. We are united as one in this. It’s a beautiful picture of unity and what the kingdom looks like.”
As an expression of that unity, the BWA Executive Committee (EC) released a joint statement in response to the crisis, the first statement of its kind released by the EC in over 40 years. The EC is comprised of leaders from each of the BWA’s six regional fellowships, including President Mackey, First Vice President Karl Johnson, thirteen Vice Presidents from around the world, as well as General Secretary Brown.
The statement reads in part: “Today we affirm again our love for all people across this region, renew our commitment to enter into the sufferings of humanity, and stand in the belief that all conflicts and differences can be resolved peacefully. We exhort all people and all governments to stand together in these affirmations and to use every avenue to pursue just peace.”
In pursuit of just peace, BWA leadership has engaged in human rights advocacy, including meetings at the United Nations and with government leaders in the United States, Ukraine, and Romania. Global Baptist leaders have traveled to the region to provide pastoral support, prayer, and resources yet have left encouraged themselves.
“I’ve been working with different sorts of disasters for years, but this is like nothing I’ve seen. But the response is also like nothing I’ve ever seen,” said Helle Liht, EBF Assistant General Secretary. “In the middle of what seems like an incomprehensible reality in the midst of the war, they still manage to love and laugh.”