Ukraine Relief Update from Poland: March, 17, 2022
Shalom, dear friends!
Today, we were supposed to fly home from Poland. But seeing how much our help is needed here, we changed tickets and will now stay until March 23.
I want to share what we managed to do thanks to your support and prayers. Our days were jam-packed. The camp remains 100% full. Several families left, but new ones immediately arrived. We have 189 people living here, and more than 200 come to the canteen. Last night, an 18-year-old girl gave birth to a girl, and they named her Anyuta. Her husband stayed in Ukraine. He is in the Army, and there is no connection with him yet, so he does not know about it, which upsets her. The child was born healthy, and she and her mother should be back at the camp this afternoon.
We communicate with people, listen to their stories, and pray with them. On Sunday, a family with five children came to us. An explosion destroyed their house. They miraculously escaped and traveled to Poland for almost a week. They do not know what to do next; they have nowhere to return. They have many questions, and the most important one is, “What next?” Back to Ukraine or go to another country? I don’t have answers; I didn’t even know how to pray for them and what to say to them! There are so many stories like this! It isn’t easy to listen to what these people have gone through. I thank God that He has prepared me. In Israel, I have already organized seminars and camps for children and adult survivors of the post-war syndrome, which helps here.
I continue to conduct Bible studies, counseling, and organize various events. Only believers came to our meetings in the early days, but we managed to gather almost everyone on Tuesday. We celebrated Purim. I told the holiday story, shared a word from the Bible, and the children received gifts. Slavna and her assistants spent the whole day buying and making 130 gifts for the children, and when we handed them out, the faces of the children shone with joy. For almost everyone, this was the first celebration of Purim in their lives, and while reading the book of Esther together, we prayed that the Lord would do the same miracle with the people of Ukraine.
In recent days, many have developed a cold. We bought a lot of drugs and vitamins. Slavna became a nurse, distributed medicine, and made children drink vitamins to strengthen their immunity.
During these days, we have also provided a lot of practical help. The most significant need was to organize teenagers and youth. We are coping with this, and there is already fruit. We regularly meet for fellowship. The older guys now help in the kitchen, on the territory, and with the younger children. On Monday, we took them to a bowling alley for a few hours and had a great time in games and spiritual fellowship. On Tuesday morning, we took a group of 12 children without parents to the store and bought them shoes and other necessary things. Every day, we believe everything we need is not enough. Locals help a lot, bringing food. But this is not always enough. Now, there are negotiations with local authorities about the help. Perhaps the city authorities will give 40 zlotys ($10) per person per day for food from next week. Of course, this is not enough but still, help. In the meantime, all those donations feed 200 people. Therefore, the food is the simplest; there is not enough meat and fruits. On Tuesday, I bought 25 kg [55 lbs] of salmon fish and 25 kg of chicken and prepared a festive dinner. From 2:00 to 6:00, I was in the kitchen, tired, but had a lot of fun when everything was eaten and people asked if there was more?
Yesterday, we all went together to the neighboring city to the water park. How much joy and fun it was! We paid to enter the park, and the city gave us free buses.
Today, with another group of children, we will go to buy necessary supplies, and in the afternoon, we are taking six people to the dentist.
In my last letter, I wrote about Masha, who dreams of rehabilitation. So, thanks to many prayers, we found a neurologic clinic where they are ready to take her for 17 days. We received an excellent price of $1,300, including accommodation, meals, and daily medical rehab. On Friday, by 2 o’clock, we are already taking her there. Thank God for that!
Tomorrow, we will celebrate the Sabbath, and after that, we will hold a joint meeting with youth from Ukraine and the local church.
In parallel with everything, I helped several Jewish families get documents and passports to fly to Israel, because many people arrived in Poland without documents. They can travel in Europe but can’t fly to Israel without a passport and getting a new one takes a lot of power and time!
I have a prayer request. On Sunday, we plan to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and we asked to collect medicine for the soldiers. They need bandages, tourniquets, painkillers, antivirals, antiseptics, etc. We will try our best to find and buy what is possible, but this will not cover all needs. There is a huge need for medical preparations, and our forces cannot solve this. Therefore, I ask you to pray that God would help the people in this. We, for our part, are doing everything possible to be a consolation for people. Thank you for your donations, and I want to say that every dollar is spent on the true purpose of people in need: all who were forced to leave Ukraine because of the war. May God show them what and how to do next!
Thanks, and blessings!
Maxim and Slavna