Why you should open your home this holiday season

The end of the year is often marked by an endless barrage of family gatherings, cookie swaps, white elephant gift exchanges, office parties and more. The holidays can be incredibly stressful for some individuals or families, and a time of profound sadness for others. However, the holiday season can be a welcome time of gospel intentional hospitality.

Since November 2021, Kentucky Baptist have welcomed and served over 900 of the nearly 1400 Afghans that resettled across the state. By using Global Hunger funds, churches were able to help more than 550 Afghans receive food for their first 3 months in Kentucky. God used the generous giving and hospitality of Kentucky Baptist to not only open homes for church members to share a meal with these beautiful people, but also to open hearts to receive the gospel. Today, there are new believers being discipled across Kentucky, families and individuals participating in bible studies, and a new church plant.

When Jesus shared meals with people, it gave him the opportunity to enter the lives of the people with whom he was eating. In fact, eating together is one of the most practical ways to overcome any relational barriers that separates us. Jesus modeled a way for us to use the gift of hospitality as a means to share his grace. Here are three ways to enter the holidays with gospel intentionality:

1. Pray for an Open Door

As Jesus says in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” As you begin to shift your thoughts toward the birth of Jesus, gather your family to pray for your neighbors and the nations in your community. Ask the Lord to open a door for your family to share the love of Christ this Christmas. Then, talk about those you know who need to hear the gospel, and how you could share a meal together.

2. Plan a time to Share a Meal

There is a familiar saying around our house when it comes to dinner: “There’s always room for one more.” And there is. But what takes this from a stated fact to a shared reality is an intentional invitation. When we open our tables to our neighbors, we are offering more than a meal. We are offering an invitation into communion.

3. Prepare (Ask) Good questions.

Around a table, the art of conversation is fostered. Try to avoid questions resulting in one-word answers. Instead ask open-ended questions: “What are some of your greatest memories of the holidays growing up?” or “What is most difficult for you during the holidays?” These questions, when engaged honestly, can connect people at a deep level. Take time to really listen.

Focusing on these three things this holiday season can create space for intimate communion with family members, co-workers, neighbors, international students, or refugees. As you share a meal together and listen to their stories, take time to share your story and how you came to know the Lord. Then, just as you invited them to your table, you might find yourself in a conversation with someone who is wondering how they can find a seat at Jesus’ table.

The Mission Mobilization Team exist to serve your church. To discover how you can embrace the nations as your neighbor, email or call John Barnett at [email protected] or 502-654-3385.

Where are You in the Mobilization Process?

You’ve more than likely heard or used the term, missions mobilization.  But what does it mean?  It has been defined as assisting local bodies of believers to identify, train, and send global workers out to fulfill the Great Commission.  It is the primary goal for the team I serve on.  We also describe it this way – helping Christ followers understand, embrace, and participate in the Great Commission.

Some people mobilize without realizing they are doing it.  A person may tell a friend about the community ministry he’s involved in or invite someone out for coffee with a church planter who is sharing about the new work.  Others consciously work to involve believers in mission trips or local ministry opportunities. 

There are two primary stages to the missions mobilization process and both are necessary because they depend upon each other as the process continually repeats itself.  The first stage raises awareness, educates and inspires vision and passion for missions.  A person is likely introduced to this stage of mobilization when he hears a mission conference speaker or the testimony of a returning missions trip participant.  Hopefully he or she comes away reminded about God’s love and concern for the whole world and senses personal responsibility to join in the task.  But he also probably senses a need for more practical training about how to apply what he has heard to his life.

The second stage of missions mobilization provides the practical information and guidance people need to transform their mission desire into meaningful involvement.  An example of this would be www.kybaptist.org/GO which helps people actively serve by providing details on mission and ministry opportunities; or www.kybaptist.org/DR which tells how to be trained and equipped for responding to disasters in Kentucky and beyond; or www.kybaptist.org/go/options which provides guidance to people exploring international missions.

Both stages are equally important to the success of passing missions onto the next generation of believers and getting people meaningfully involved in God’s plan to impact lostness in our world, beginning right here in Kentucky. 

Each believer may find himself at a different place in the process, but ALL Christ followers should be in involved in missions (Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20).  In what stage of the missions mobilization process do you find yourself at this time?  

Pastoral Care for Sent-Ones

Shepherding Sent-Ones

In terms of the local church sending missionaries, one of the most overlooked areas is missionary care. Providing missionaries with a touch point of Pastoral Care is critical for them to not only maintain a healthy relationship with the church, but also sustain a healthy relationship and share Christ well among the nations. In order to plant healthy churches, we must have healthy disciples. Here is a simple outline or template of a Pastoral Care Plan with touch points:

Purpose: The goal of the Pastoral Care Plan is to have every missionary family and single adopted and advocated for by the church and the pastoral care team.

Limitations: Pastoral Care is intended to provide a base level of encouragement, care, and advocacy. Pastors need not feel the full load of care and advocacy unless desired. Each missionary has access to care through multiple channels including Sunday school classes, community groups, a care team, and missional staff (voluntary or paid).

Details: I ask that pastors consider committing to a missionary family/single and following through on basic touch points of communication and being accessible to the missionary. We want each missionary to feel like our pastors are “in their corner.” 

Step 1: Know what you are committing to (suggested touchpoints):

Every Month: Provide a simple touch point. This could be a short email of encouragement,  WhatsApp, a handwritten letter, or something of the like.

Every 6 months: Have one Zoom call.

Every year: Send a care package from your family to theirs. If possible, build it into the budget, and do not forget to include shipping cost.  

 Step 2: Commit to a missionary family/single by

1) Signing up for available missionaries on the excel document.

2) Send an email to the missionary letting them know that you are committing to be their pastoral advocate.

3) Calendar your monthly touch point so you do not forget!

Step 3: Keep other leaders in the loop as needed. If you need help, have questions, or are concerned about your missionary; please let us know and we will be glad to help.

Adopting a missionary is a simple way you and your Missional Community can begin serving in missions. For information about adopting a Kentucky MSC missionary, visit  www.kybaptist.org/adopt-a-missionary. To learn more about adoption options with national and international SBC missionaries, contact the Missions Mobilization Team ([email protected] or 502-489-3530). If you have any questions about setting up a Missionary Care Plan, please contact John Barnet ([email protected] or 502-654-3385).

Adopt a Sent-One  

Missionary Care Through Missional Communities

Taking the gospel to the nations is not an easy task. As missionaries go out to proclaim the good news, they often become discouraged and consider quitting. Why? They feel as if they are entirely on their own, without the active support of sending brothers and sisters who can uphold, encourage, provide, and pray for them. The church’s desire should be obedience to the Scriptures as a going AND sending, supporting community. The little letter of 3 John calls the church to both send out and care for its missionaries “in a manner worthy of God.” It calls us to partnership – to “work together for the truth” with those we send to faraway lands. John commands us to love these missionaries with a hands-on kind of love, even if we do not know them personally (verse 5) precisely because we are partners in the gospel! This means that one of the best ways your Community Group can get involved in international missions is to adopt a missionary and begin caring for them.

The church’s vision may be to see each of our missionary units supported by several Community Groups who are strategically praying for, communicating with, and regularly sending packages to our member missionaries. Bottom line: We want each of our missionaries to have real and consistent care just as 3 John says they should. Would your group be willing to adopt a missionary, provide the care, and the love they need? If so, here are your next steps:

  • Talk it over as a group. Pray about it as a group. Discern your ability and willingness, as a group, to commit the time, energy, resources, and relational investment necessary to love and serve one of our missionaries or ministries well, “in a manner worthy of God” (v 6).
  • Designate a person in your group who will be the missionary care leader. This person/couple will connect with both the missionary and a Missions Mobilization Team member.
  • Get started. There are numerous ways you can care for your missionary unit:  
    • Prayer– Get prayer requests from your missionary unit and pray as a group at least once a month.
    • Communication– Have personal conversations with your missionary unit at least once a month through email, written letters, or Zoom.
    • Care packages– Commit to send a care package to your missionary unit at least twice a year. Set a goal of once a quarter.
    • Have them Visit– When your missionary unit is in the U.S., have them come and visit your group.
    • Visit them– Encourage group members to visit your missionary unit on the field. People could do this individually or you could do this as a group, if possible.

Adopting a missionary is a simple way you and your Missional Community can begin serving in missions. For information about adopting a Kentucky MSC missionary, visit  www.kybaptist.org/adopt-a-missionary. To learn more about adoption options with national and international SBC missionaries, contact the Missions Mobilization Team ([email protected] or 502-489-3530).    

Both…And!

I had the opportunity last week to spend several days in eastern Kentucky alongside disaster relief volunteers who were providing help, hope and healing following historic flooding in thirteen counties.  I saw families who had lost everything, literally everything except the clothes on their backs. Homes were washed down river, cars destroyed, personal possessions lost, and everything left behind covered in mud.  Flood insurance is almost non-existent, and families are overwhelmed and uncertain what to do next.  The question was raised in a discussion with someone who had come to help, “are we here to help them recover from the flood or share the gospel?”  The answer is Yes! 

Caring for the needs of others is not an option for Christ followers. Jesus demonstrated this by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, casting out demons and raising the dead. If we are going to identify with Him, then we too, must love our neighbors and help those in need.    

However, preaching the gospel is not an option either.  Jesus said I was sent to preach the kingdom of God to others. We too, have an obligation to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:16). Furthermore, those who are lost can’t believe and call upon Christ to be saved unless they hear the gospel preached (Romans 10:14). 

So, which was more important to Jesus, caring for the needs of others or preaching the gospel?  I don’t know that he had a preference.  We find that Jesus preached and cared for others everywhere he went.  Every time Jesus sent out the disciples, He commanded them to take care of the needy as they preached the gospel.

We understand from scripture that after Jesus’ return to heaven, the disciples followed His example of simultaneously preaching and caring for others.  We observe in the life of Jesus and the disciples, that caring for hurting people provides opportunities for preaching the gospel. Jesus didn’t send some of us to preach and others to do disaster relief or community service. 

Helping mud out a flooded home is complimentary to sharing the gospel.  Blending the feeding of a family in a shelter with telling them about Jesus is God-honoring.  Providing a place to shower or do laundry can easily be mixed with listening to others and sharing how we’ve found hope in Christ.

A healthy balance between meeting needs and preaching the gospel can be so effective in reaching the lost.  Success of this approach is evidenced in the sixty-four (64) lives that have come to faith in Christ because of the flood recovery efforts in eastern Kentucky in the last several weeks.

Remember the question that prompted this post – “are we here to help them recover from the flood or share the gospel?”  I’m not saying that caring for the needy is equal to sharing the gospel.  But both are important because they are expected of Christ followers.  They are two sides of the same coin and there will certainly be synergy and life transformation when we do both together, just as Jesus did. 

Care Teams for Sent-Ones

Care Teams are the most tangible expression of our church’s commitment to support our missionaries who are serving in cross-cultural environments. The team is centered around one team leader and can be made up of 3-8 individuals who provide on-going care and support. They serve as a primary link between the church as a whole and the missionary.

Simply put, a care team is a group of people who deeply love and care for their missionary unit. They communicate, pray for and stay connected to their missionary unit on a regular basis. Because of these strong personal relationships, the missionaries can be open and honest, allowing his or her team to see needs and share successes and defeats.

What Is the Vision for a Care Team?

There are two major roles of every Care Team: care and representation. The success of the care team depends on its ability to accomplish these two goals from the time that the missionary unit prepares to leave for the field until his or her return.

Care 

Many missionaries minister in physically challenging environments. Some are raising children far from extended family. Others struggle with cultural adjustments and language barriers. Most significantly, all serve on the front lines of spiritual warfare. For survival and spiritual health, every missionary unit needs the assurance that they are not alone, that there are others in the body of Christ who love them and are committed to their welfare and to the success of their work. Missionaries need empathetic listeners and caring friends who are not in a supervisory role. The Care Team can consistently provide that kind of spiritual and emotional care. Caring also involves identifying specific needs which the team can meet or organize others in the church to meet.

Representation

The Care Team also champions the missionary and his or her work to the church body and advocates for ongoing participation in their ministry even when he or she is far away. Thanks to the efforts of the Care Team, the church feels an ongoing sense of connection to our workers.

What Does a Care Team Look Like?

We have intentionally kept the structure of our Care Teams simple. The foundation of each Care Team is the team leader. He/She is the one who has the main connection with the missionary unit and leads the team in all aspects. The team leader either already knows the missionary deeply or commits to build a deep relationship. The rest of the team is built under the leadership of this committed person.

Each Care Team will look different. Some will have a team leader with 6-8 additional people on the team while others will have a leader with just one or two additional people on the team. Both types of teams can serve as great care networks for our missionaries.

Depending on the team members’ season of life, people may need to step out of their Care Team. We ask however that team leaders commit to the missionary full term (2-4 years) and/or be willing to replace themselves in this role if needed.

What Does a Care Team Do?

Meet Monthly

Teams can meet at anytime and anywhere; we just ask that each team meet once a month to fulfill their role as advocates. We suggest that you build a team around a missional group that already exist in the church. For example, Sunday School Class members, Prayer group, Life Group, Community group, etc.

Pray

The main role of a Care Team is to pray monthly as a team and on an individual basis. We also ask that you hold your missionaries accountable to regularly update their prayer requests.

Stay Connected

Ask any missionary and they will tell you that they rarely stay connected with their friends and church family back home. Part of providing care to missionaries is the commitment to stay connected. Your missionary unit should hear from you at least once a month. This can happen through emails, Zoom, handwritten letters or any number of creative ways. Make sure this is part of your team meeting.

Send Care Packages

Nothing says I love you to a missionary quite like a box full of ranch dressing mix, chocolate and a few good books! Care Teams will send at least two care packages a year to their missionary unit. Perhaps the church can help with the cost of shipping two packages each year with hopes of your team sending a few more packages using personal funds, if possible.

Help with Departure and Arrival

Some of the hardest times for your missionary unit will be preparing to leave for the field and returning home for a stateside visit. There are a thousand things that need to be done and we ask that your team jump in and help as much as possible.

How Do We Get Started?

Here are three things to do to get your Care Team started:

Email the Team

Once the team leader is in place, he/she can email others on the team or start recruiting for the team. Get everyone on an email list and start communicating with one another.

Email your Missionary

The team leader needs to email the missionary and let them know their Care Team is forming. Ask for prayer requests and invite the missionary unit to the first meeting via Zoom.

Meet as a Team

Set a date for your first meeting. Pick a home to meet in and share a meal with one another. During this meeting make sure you get to know each other, pray for the missionaries and if possible, talk to your missionary unit on Zoom. Also make sure you set up a regular time and place to meet.

Thank you, Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers

Every Christian is called to be on mission for the sake of the Gospel. His call may vary from person to person; however, we are all called and commissioned to go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel. Being a Christian is not just about who we are, (or Who’s we are), but also what we are to be. We are to be just like Jesus Christ.

The Bible challenges us, What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [f]your works, and I will show you my faith by [g]my works. James 2:14-18

The ministry of disaster relief models the ministry of Jesus. Jesus would see a physical need and seek to meet their need so He could show them their greater need: their spiritual need.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are some of the most dedicated, selfless, and faithful servants I have ever seen. Just like Jesus who was moved with compassion to those in need, Kentucky Baptist disaster relief volunteers are moved with compassion to those affected by disasters and are ready to respond.

I am often reminded of Stan. Stan’s family attended church, but he was very independent and did not need Jesus. He believed church could make you a better person, so he sent the family, but he did not need anyone to help him. Following a severe ice storm, Stan was caring for his wife who was battling cancer and their four grandchildren they had adopted. Their power had been out for over a week, and he was getting tired. I made several offers for them to come to the church and let us help. He would always tell me “No, we take care of ourselves.”

A few days later, Stan finally reached a breaking point and brought his family to the church for warmth and rest. Several of those gold shirt volunteers began to love on them and get them whatever they needed. They served them selflessly. Stan watched with amazement how these volunteers just did whatever needed done with eagerness and a smile. He had never witnessed anything like this before.

A few days of watching this, Stan said he needed to talk to someone, “Right now!” One of the chaplains took him aside and asked what he needed. Stan replied, “I have never in my life witnessed such love as I have with all of these gold shirts. They have something I do not have, and I want what they have.” The chaplain shared with Stan the Gospel message, and Stan prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. His life was dramatically changed!

I have watched so many of our volunteers in those gold shirts work hard, serve faithfully, and love generously without ever expecting anything in return. They model true servanthood.

I see them work hard all day and drag in exhausted in the evening. The feeding crew who had also been working hard all-day preparing meals, serves these volunteers. It’s not long, everyone is laughing, celebrating what God did that day, sing songs of praise, and sleep hard only to get up with eagerness to serve another day.

They understand God had set up these diving appointments and they cannot wait to see what will happen next. God has a plan. It may be a meeting at a gas station, at restaurant, in Wal-Mart or in someone’s back yard. But they are there. Ready to serve.

To the world it seems like foolishness. But to those who have experienced it, it is life changing; it is amazing; and it is incredible.

They love to work together, serve together, and pray together. They are eager to learn, to train, and to train others. They are truly the hands and feet of Jesus, ready to go across town, across the state, across the nation, or even around the world. Just like Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me.” (Isa. 6:8).

Many of them use their own equipment or vehicle; take their own vacation time to serve to help others; take time away from family or their own needs at home to serve others. It is in their heart.

So, next time you see someone in the gold shirt, let them know how much you appreciate them .

Everyone can pray. Pray for this ministry and these volunteers as they serve.

Most can give. Your generous gifts help provide the resources needed to care for others in times of disaster. Your giving allows us to go; to provide the chainsaws, the kitchens, the trailers, the tarps, supplies, training, and so much more. And as you give through the Cooperative Program, you support this wonderful ministry.

Some can go. Will you pray about and consider becoming a Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer? It will change your life.

This ministry not only models the ministry of Jesus Christ, but it demonstrates the cooperative spirit of the Christian. We are a family.

THANK YOU!



Praying for Our Neighbors and Community

Matthew 22:36-39  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible because loving your neighbor as yourself is the second greatest commandment, after loving God.

Jesus calls us to love our neighbors and most of us actively try to do that by meeting their needs and showing love in tangible ways.  But another valuable way we can love our neighbors is by praying for them.

I have often found myself so caught up in helping neighbors with their needs that I forget to pray for them and the community we live in. While the work I do with them, or even for my neighbors is important, nothing is more important than the prayers I pray for them. 

Hudson Taylor said “when we work, we work. But when we pray, God works.”  Through prayer, God invites us to work with Him for the well-being of our neighbors.  It is God’s way of giving us a stake in His Kingdom building work. 

We want good for our neighbors and the community we live in, but too often we rely on the work of our hands instead of partnering with God and seeing things really happen. I must confess that prayer is sometimes the missing element in my attempt to care for neighbors and bless my community.

Let me suggest the following ways that we can pray specifically for our neighbors and the community we live in.

Pray that God would …  

  1. Give neighbors a hunger and thirst for God and His Word.
  2. Heal the emotional wounds of people living in my community that relationships between neighbors would be made right. 
  3. Remove any racial or social barriers that exist between neighbors.
  4. Destroy poverty in the community and grant economic growth to meet the financial needs of families.
  5. Deliver the community from alcohol and drug addiction. 
  6. Drive out all occultic influence and evil activity in the community. 
  7. Strengthen families in the neighborhood and bless each home.
  8. Provide opportunities for sharing the gospel so that many would hear and receive Jesus.   
  9. Give believers a deep burden for the lost and an increasing desire to share the gospel with them.   
  10. Bless the pastors and churches of the community, granting them power and protection as they minister.
  11. Deliver the believers in this community from self-centeredness and indifference toward those who need Jesus.  
  12. Transform the homes in this community so that they will be Christ-centered.

THANK YOU Lord for placing me in this community and for what You are doing to bring about Your kingdom here. I pray that my neighbors in this community will come to know you!

Sharing the Gospel in Hostile Times

Syrian refugee girls march at a United Nations refugee camp in Jordan.

Oftentimes, the mission of God does not seem to match our conveniently constructed models. God calls us to love all people, which means taking the gospel to hard places, among hard people, and during difficult times. In Acts 8:26-40, we catch a glimpse of how God brings about what He has promised is going to happen in Revelation 5:9-10. God orchestrated circumstances in such a way that Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch met on a desert road to bring about His will, and He continues to do so today for the same purposes. However, we see some things about this mission that are often missed, or even rejected, in the West. Philip understood that God would never leave him or forsake him, so he never stopped sharing the gospel no matter where God sent him. In this passage, we see four realities regarding the mission of God that can empower us to share the gospel in hostile times.

  • The mission of God is inconvenient
    Think about the inconvenience of the Lord’s assignment for Phillip. Phillip had just been scattered from Jerusalem and gone to Samaria where “revival” broke out. Then, God ask him to leave and go south to Gaza. Not very convenient to go to a place that is known for robbers, in the middle of the desert in order to talk to a wealthy, Ethiopian eunuch. For someone limited on time, surely there were better assignments. In the West, our culture is built on convenience, constantly attempting to make life more comfortable. While some conveniences may have their place, the mission of God is never convenient, at least not the way our culture thinks about convenience. Church, we will never have mission without sacrifice.
  • The mission of God appears inefficient
    Phillip was praying, and God directed him to go to a desert place. Once there, the Spirit directed him to run alongside of a chariot of foreigners. The eunuch’s journey to Jerusalem was conceivably five months long, one way. Once there, he was doubly denied entrance into the assembly at the temple for being a Gentile and a eunuch. While efficiency has its place, the mission of God is hardly efficient, and the details surrounding Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch underscore this point. In the West, as one of the holdovers from the Industrial Revolution, our culture loves efficiency. We value seeking the greatest output for the least input. Church, we must obey God’s call, share Christ without fear and trust the Lord with the results.
  • The mission of God is ingenious
    God combats the core human instinct to “go our own way,” even our feeble attempts to earn His favor by our convenient, efficient means. The gospel is a gift, and the only way to be made right in God’s eyes is to admit you need salvation and to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Nothing is more convenient than that! But the genius of God is that to grow in this grace is to receive His mission,  “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Grace writes a blank check for the obedience of the recipient. Church, we must spend time in prayer, hear from God and obey him at all costs.
  • The mission of God is indisputable
    God has given us the end of the story. Either it is true, or it is not. And if this story is the true story of what He is doing in the world, then the reason His mission seems inconvenient and difficult to many is perhaps because we are living for a different story. Jesus said, “All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have command you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Church, the Great Commission is not an option clause, it is a command from our living Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Missions Mobilization team exist to serve you and your church, as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. If you have any questions, please contact John Barnett at [email protected] or text 502-654-3385.

Reflections and Updates on the Ukrainian Crisis

I watch as an older man stands in front of his bombed-out house. All of his memories, the small earthly things that give us comfort, his entire history is scattered. There is a confused, bewildered look on his face as he realizes that the accomplishment of his labor is no more.

I see a woman who does not want to leave the danger zone because she just witnessed the death of her family by artillery fire. To her, she is sitting at their grave.

I see people lining up at bordering countries with whatever they can carry and waiting in 15–16-hour lines, exposed to the elements and waiting to be processed. Once they cross the border, their status changes to “refugee,” but regardless of the label, it is the same person fighting disbelief, exhaustion, and desperation as they search for ways to fend for their families.

You see, it does not matter which country is experiencing conflict: Uganda, Yemen, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, Libya, Georgia, Armenia and now Ukraine, war forces people to become displaced.

With the tragic scenario currently unfolding in Ukraine, Send Relief has responded quickly, propelled by God’s love. They are providing food, hygiene items, shelter, safety blankets and transportation to the neighboring countries that people are fleeing to, such as Hungary and Poland, while continuing projects are providing relief to people still trapped in Ukraine itself.

As they monitor the situation, it has become clear that the bulk of the Ukrainian refugee population are currently seeking shelter in countries with similar cultures and languages, as well as those with a large diaspora presence of Ukrainians. Currently, Poland will be the base of operations moving forward, but as is the case many times, the majority of people in dire need are not the refugees outside the country but the displaced people trapped inside the country, with no means of travel and no family or friends to go to.

Present news reports state that over 2.5 million refugees have made it to Poland, with Romania receiving the second highest number at 700,000. All of the countries receiving people need more assistance, because coping with an influx of this number of refugees is difficult for any nation.

Send Relief has established multiple rest and registration facilities at the key entry points, where they can offer refugees relief packages with sandwiches, water, and more necessities, along with working with local authorities to provide a play tent for children to wait in while their parents are processed. As of today, Send Relief is partnering with local churches and national partners in fourteen countries.

Currently, the majority of those fleeing Ukraine are women and children, as most 18–60-year-old men must remain in the country to fight unless they have medical exemptions.

Establishing these rest and registration points will help Send Relief confirm where they will be resettling in Poland and other countries, who they will stay with and if we can arrange follow-up visits to assess and strengthen the financial capacity of host families.

In all of this, we must remember that God is in control. His kingdom expands in a time of turmoil. As the body of Christ unites, believers are emboldened and strengthened in their walks with God.

As Kentucky Baptist, you can join in solidarity with the people of Ukraine by praying, giving and going! Go to https://www.kybaptist.org/ukraine/ today and get involved!

The Missions Mobilization team exist to serve you and your church, as you seek to fulfill the Great Commission. If you have any questions, please contact John Barnett at [email protected] or text 502-654-3385. *field info from Abraham Shepherd, Send Relief (Area Director for Europe, Middle East, and North Africa.