$50,000 in HEART Fund Grants to Aid Refugees from Ukraine

Because of generous gifts we’ve received to help with disaster relief, WMU and the WMU Foundation are sending two HEART Fund grants* to aid refugees from Ukraine: $25,000 to Turlac Mission in Moldova and $25,000 to the Ukraine Baptist Theological Seminary. Thank you for making a difference when you give.

“A side effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is thousands of refugees: children, adults, and entire families that have to flee from combat, shelling, and bombardment. More than 25,000 refugees have crossed the border between Ukraine and Moldova. We joined hands with churches and our Moldovan ministry partners on the ground by meeting families with children and providing hot tea, food, heaters, blankets, and shelter in the Moldovan capital and several other locations.”
-Oleg Turlac, Turlac Mission in Moldova

An update from Oleg and Natasha Turlac with the Turlac Mission in Moldova from March 14, 2022:

Greetings in the name of Jesus!

We would like to thank you for your generous $25,000 HEART Fund grant toward helping the Ukraine war refugees. Our partnership with the WMU Foundation has always been strong. Once again you, dear friends, were ready to help at the time of need. On behalf of many Ukrainian refugee families, we thank you.

Indeed, at this hour, thousands of Ukrainian people endure tremendous suffering because of the military conflict. We know that it resulted from Russia’s invasion. Even though good students of history warned that the war in the region is imminent, it was hard to believe that it happened and goes on as we write this letter.

As you probably know, a significant number of Ukrainians identify as Christians. Most belong to the Eastern Orthodox (East Ukraine) or Greek Catholic Church (West Ukraine). Still, many are Baptists, Pentecostals, and independent Evangelicals.

From the beginning of the Russian intervention into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, we started helping people in need. A side effect of any war is thousands of refugees: children, adults, and entire families that must flee from combat, shelling, and bombardment. During the first two weeks of the war, 100,000 refugees crossed the frontier between Ukraine and Moldova. The United Nations estimates the total number of Ukrainian refugees to be more than 2,5 million (as of today).

Thank you for providing much-needed funding. Because of it, we are able to address the needs of Ukrainians right away. We joined hands with our ministry partners on the ground in Moldova by meeting refugee families with children and providing them with hot tea, food, heaters, blankets, and shelter in the Moldovan capital and several other locations.

Our volunteers met refugee families at several border crossings at the North and South of Moldova (Otaci and Palanca). From there, they were directed to shelters, church buildings, and houses of families that were ready to welcome them. The funding that you sent through the HEART Fund grant covered the purchase of baskets with food (cans of soup, meat and vegetables, formula for kids’ nutrition), hygiene items (soap, shampoo, toilet paper, tooth paste), mattresses, electric generators, sheets, blankets, pillows, and other things for the refugees. Also, we continue to use the HHEART Fund grant funding to purchase fuel for vehicles to transport Ukrainians to safety.

Many of the refugees plan to stay in Moldova for now. Others desire to pursue immigration to Poland, Germany, and the North American continent.

At this hour, the situation in Ukraine is quite dire. Though the Ukrainian Army resists the invading forces, Russians vastly outnumber Ukrainians in manpower and firepower. The Russian military closes in on Kyiv. It aims to take the Ukrainian capital and other key cities. The airport of Lutsk in West Ukraine was bombed by Russian forces just a few hours ago.

We ask you for prayers for people whose lives are threatened. Thank you so much once again for lending a helping hand to Ukrainians. May the Lord grant peace to Ukrainian land.

Your missionaries,
Oleg and Natasha Turlac

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The best way to help the Turlac Mission directly is by giving here.

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“The Ukraine Baptist Theological Seminary is ministering primarily to women and children of pastors, students, and others. The refugees are fleeing from the war zones towards Poland and Romania. The seminary is providing food, blankets, and temporary shelter and serving anyone in need through their soup kitchen which is staffed by the administration and professors.”

“During the first four days, 480 people passed through the UBTS. In the last 24 hours, we have received, fed, accommodated, and relocated 150 people. We are joined by volunteers who serve with their vehicles, houses, food, and respond to any need. We are not alone. We continue to pray to the Lord for peace and a miracle for Ukraine! Please continue to pray for our country! Thank you again for your faithfulness and friendship!”

“On the sixth day of the Russian invasion into Ukraine, UBTS continues to serve some of the thousands of people who are fleeing to the West and into L’viv. Most are women and children, displaced from their homes by the war and often traveling alone. The shelter, food, and care they receive at UBTS gives them strength for the next part of their journey. Today, a group of 55 orphans was welcomed, and UBTS will be working closely with an orphanage in L’viv to provide care for these children and others.

Among the refugees was a 95-year-old Ukrainian woman, accompanied by her 73-year-old daughter. The mother survived the Holodomor famine and World War II, and is now leaving her home behind to seek safety with her grandchildren and great grandchildren who are waiting for her abroad. There are many stories like these of people who cannot believe that war has come so suddenly to their country.

In these heartbreaking times, as the Lord sends people who need comfort and help, the UBTS biblical, missional, and accountable values are being tested by fire. Please pray for all the staff and students at UBTS who are serving people and meeting their needs every day. And please continue to pray for a miracle in Ukraine.”
-shared by David Iannacone, Ukraine Partnership Foundation

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Update from March 25, 2022:

Just wanted to give you an update. Things have slowed down a bit with the volume of people giving. I think that reflects what is happening in Lviv as the flood of refugees also seems to have slowed for now. With   the needs shifting, our group in Lviv stays busy and has reassigned available personnel to receive supplies and send them by truckloads to areas of need outside Lviv. We are also deep into the implementation of our plan to address the refugee issue in Poland and other countries. Ukrainian women and children, by the millions, are in places unfamiliar to them. Many are alone, trying to understand what to do, and how to cope with the emotional scars of what the war has done to them and their families.

It’s ironic that now, direct refugee relief seems to be the least complicated part of the whole process. In truth, relief centers are only the starting point in addressing the total needs involved in providing refugee relief. Every day, we discover many displaced women and children who are facing deep spiritual, emotional and physical challenges, which for us is the next area we need to provide them ministry and a touch from the Lord.

As we enter our next phase of refugee care, we are also trying to remember that we are a place where Christian leaders come to be trained. It is our prayer that one day we will be able to transition back to that. But for now, we will do the best to do what God wants us to do, with the resources and people He has given us. Thank you for being a part of His Providence to us.

In His Service,
David Iannacone

The best way to help Ukraine Baptist Theological Seminary directly is to give through the Ukraine Partnership Foundation here.

*While we anticipate that we will likely make another grant to support Ukrainian refugees, we cannot guarantee that will happen or how it will specifically be used. The HEART Fund was designed and has always been a more general purpose fund that supports WMU’s efforts to address a crisis, emergency, or disaster whenever it happens. The WMU Foundation is not raising funds specifically for Ukrainian refugee relief.

You can give to directly help with the Russia-Ukraine war through any of the following:

Zachariah Seanor

Director of Mission Advancement