Throughout the month of June, you will be hearing quite a bit about our One Great Hour of Sharing offering. You’ll hear stories about how this ministry is in the field helping people every day, in ways such as providing clean drinking
water to those in need, giving a blanket to a refugee family in an unfamiliar place, or helping with clean up after a tornado devastates a community.
But I wanted to delve a little deeper into an area in which the One Great Hour of Sharing is helping people in a way that is on everyone’s mind as it is at the top of the news every morning…the war in Ukraine.
Across six countries, Baptists have spontaneously opened their churches, homes, and camps to shelter some of the millions that have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the war in Ukraine. Baptists in Ukraine and the neighboring countries set up shelters and hospitality centers – large and small – within days/weeks. Within days, in six countries more than 1,000 places were made ready – 600 within Ukraine – for those that are migrating to sleep, eat, shower and receive a word of hope.
All of this comes with a large cost, providing three meals a day, a place to sleep and shower, and basic provisions. This is where your contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing come in. Not only does your contribution provide shelter and refuge, it sends a message through people that are a reminder of God’s presence and provision. That’s what differentiates the Baptist response. This support will result in people coming to know Christ, not through coercion but because they are seeing Baptists serving them for God.
For every person that has been forced to make the painful decision to leave their home or stay, their life has been altered in ways that we cannot imagine. Some people will settle with family or friends outside of Europe. But there are many that have nowhere outside of Ukraine to go. Many husbands and fathers will remain in Ukraine to fight, or they will have given their lives in the war.
Every outcome comes with different needs. Jobs will need to be found, children will need to enroll in school, people will need a place to live. Those that remain in Ukraine will need to rebuild their homes and their lives.
Long after the headlines have faded and the cameras have been turned off, One Great Hour of Sharing and its partners will still be there helping with long-term recovery. We ask that you give as you are able, knowing that your gifts will help both now and in the months and years to come. The One Great Hour of Sharing will be collected every Sunday in June, and this will be the only offering dedicated to help the Ukraine refugees.
-Kerri Buschmeyer, on Behalf of the Mission Board