Praise be to the Lord, for He has showed His wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city. Psalm 31:21
As I sit and begin to write this prayer letter, my thoughts cannot help but go to the plight of the people of Ukraine. The images of mothers carrying children, of elderly women clambering over broken bridges, of destroyed cities – have been beamed into our homes and around the world. We have all been moved to tears as we heard the words, ‘We have no food or water, we have nothing.’
I have received videos and messages from our friends in Poland who are busily delivering food and goods to the refugees arriving in their area. They are doing all that they can to support people and even some of the Ukrainian women are helping with the distribution. For us in the UK, who live so far from the conflicts, we struggle to know how best to help.
Of course, the most important thing we can do is to seek God’s intervention. He is the one who sovereignly orders world events and can change the hearts of leaders and thwart the actions of evil people. Many Christians in Ukraine are using Psalm 31 to draw strength from and to encourage themselves as they pray. The psalm reminds us that even though we may feel as if we are like pottery that has been smashed into little pieces, God does care and He can bring comfort to those in cities under siege. He is our refuge and strength.
We have received numerous calls asking if BCM is collecting items for Ukraine but with the logistical challenges of transporting goods we have decided against that route. Instead, for churches or individuals who would like to give financially directly to a Christian project, we recommend two:
Ciechanow City Mission
In 2000 a young couple, Przemek and Gosia, visited Birmingham City Mission. They invited people from Birmingham over to Poland, and within eighteen months they had established the Ciechanow City Mission. Every summer, for ten years, staff from BCM spent two weeks in Ciechanow working alongside our friends as they reached out into their community. Today they are supporting many Ukrainians who have fled into Poland. They expect some five hundred people to arrive in Ciechanow. They need fridges, beds, washing machines, kettles, bedding, etc. All these items at the moment can be bought in Poland, but this might change in the months ahead. Przemek also manages a very large food bank with a warehouse distributing food to many projects around the area.
A long-standing supporter of Birmingham City Mission, Stan Marshall, years ago established a youth camp called Marylin, located west of Poznan. Over the years, hundreds of young people have been to the camp and learned about Jesus. Today, the camp is managed by the Nowy Tomysl Evangelical Church. It will be used to house over one hundred Ukrainians who have fled the war. The church is using their building to house people, and many of the church members are opening their homes. They will need a constant flow of food, bedding and more.
If you or your church would like to support either of these projects, please email email@example.com for more information.
This is an unusual letter, but we are living in unusual times! Of course, we would ask you too, please, to pray for and support the ministries of BCM over the next two months. Many people in our city, although we are not in a war zone, feel that their lives too resemble pottery that has been shattered into pieces. We have the privilege of sharing the love of Jesus practically and of preaching the life-changing Gospel about a God who can rebuild lives.
Wes Erpen, BCM’s Chief Executive
A prayer for Ukraine
God of peace and justice,we pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for all those who fear for tomorrow, that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or peace, for wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear, that you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
by Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell