See the complete archive of news, updates, and prayer requests from Lifesong Ukraine here.

World Refugee Day is this coming Monday.

While this day has been internationally recognized for the last 21 years, this February, it took on new meaning within the Lifesong family. With over 20 years of ministry in Ukraine, Russia’s invasion early this year has shifted much of our ministry outreach and led us to thousands of refugees.

Over 4,900,000 Ukrainians have fled their home country. Many women and children make the journey across the border alone, as men of military age are required to stay and defend the country.

Most of these refugees have left behind everything they know, bringing with them only what they can carry. From the moment they cross the border, an exhaustive list of questions begins to form.

How do I officially register myself as a refugee? Where will my children and I sleep tonight? How can I even travel to a facility to catch my breath? What happens to my child’s education? Can I even legally work in this country? And the list goes on.

Beyond the direct difficulties refugees face, many indirect problems can surface as a result of being displaced. Families can become fragile. Children who were once supported by two parents are now being raised by just one, placing incredible pressure on that single parent. Even more, some children make the trip entirely alone, putting them at extreme risk of trafficking and exploitation.

 

Rebuilding Lives

Helping Displaced Ukrainians in Poland

Seeing these needs, our team created a 3-step program to bring holistic, Gospel-centered to these vulnerable children and families.

Immediate Care: A few days to one month

Our team meets refugees at the border and provides temporary housing ranging from a few days up to one month. In this time, we help them gain their footing and determine their next steps.

It’s in this stage that refugees are at their most vulnerable and face the toughest questions. It’s our hope and prayer that our team’s support will keep families together and prevent children from becoming orphaned. A gift of $30 can provide immediate care to one refugee for one month. A gift of $150 provides immediate care to a family of five for one month. With World Refugee Day approaching, will you provide one month of Gospel-centered care to a refugee or family of refugees?

GIVE TODAY

Long-term Housing & Integration Center: One month to one year

As refugees transition out of the first tier, they enter an integration program. A large part of this program includes apartments and houses around Warsaw where they can get acclimated for one month up to an entire year. They will spend a significant amount of time at our City Integration Center. Here, they can learn the Polish language, receive trauma care counseling, become familiar with their new culture, and begin searching for jobs and career networking.

The City Integration Center located in Warsaw.

Continued Connection & Care: One- to two-week child and family camps

Finally, refugees have the option of going on to a Camp Integration Center. This camp facility, similar to the camps our team organizes in Ukraine, is located outside of Warsaw. In partnership with the Northern Fellowship Church in Poland, this campsite will have more immersive programs, like post-trauma rehab for kids, parents, and families; integration courses on Polish culture, language, and laws; kid-specific programs; and job skills training.

Children play outside of the Camp Integration Center near Warsaw.
Nina and Lilia, our newest volunteers at our camps in Poland.

Right now, Lifesong Poland serves 1,265 people each month, two being 18-year-old Nina and 16-year-old Lilia. Originally from the Kherson—a city in Ukraine now under enemy occupation—these two sisters fled to Poland and became connected with Lifesong through our Polish language school. They joined us for a week-long camp at our Camp Integration Center and enjoyed it so much that they have committed to volunteering at camp programs throughout the rest of the summer!

In their words, “We like it out here. We love the atmosphere and true love and care. We would like to come back to the camp not as camp participants, though, but as volunteers to serve others with the Lifesong team!”

While there is certainly mourning and sorrow, God is slowly bringing beauty from ashes. Every broken and hurting refugee we interact with is an opportunity to share the Gospel and provide answers only God has. As Director of Lifesong Ukraine Denis Poshelok often shares, “This is perhaps the biggest ministry and gospel sharing opportunity of our lifetime, let’s not waste it!”

 

Delivery, Distribution, & Evacuation

Meeting Needs within Ukraine

Our team continues meeting needs in high-conflict zones across Ukraine. Each week, these efforts reach around 500 people in Kharkiv, 300 people in Chernigov, and 300 people in Zaporizhzhia.

Children in are invited to our Distribution Center in Kharkiv to play games and make crafts while their parents pick up supplies from our team.

The government orphanages our team serves are still fully evacuated. The children have been relocated to either Poland, Germany, or Western Ukraine where they live in family-style homes or other safe orphanages.

While the orphanages where we have historically ministered are empty, some orphanages around the country are full as usual. Our teams visit these children regularly to encourage them with the Gospel and to make sure all of their needs are met.

Knowing we can accomplish far more together than we can on our own, we’ve come alongside other organizations to support evacuation. Lifesong has directly evacuated at least 5,000 people. But our support within our vast network of churches and relief organizations has helped evacuate more than 30,000 people.

 

Looking Forward

Adapting Our Strategy & Reinforcing Our Mission

Our team will continue providing direct relief and operating ministry in both the Kharkiv and Chernigov areas as long as there are needs.

But as Ukrainians return home and set out to return to normal, our team wants to be ready. Our team is frequently discussing the next directions for our key areas of ministry: day centers, Constant Christian Presence program in government orphanages, ministry to families in crisis, transition homes, and camp programs. (Lord willing, some camps may even kick off this summer!)

As for Lifesong Farms, operations on both sites continue at full speed. Planting is done, and the harvest is getting close! The farm employees are happy to have jobs, as unemployment is on a steep rise. Our team is praying for steady sales.

Lifesong Farms employees prepare the tunnels for planting.
The berries are planted and growing well.

While there is much to rejoice over and praise God for, our teammates on the ground—who have been facing the devastating firsthand effects of this war for the last 112 days—are understandably worn out and fighting Satan’s discouragement. Please pray for Ukraine and specifically for:

  • Our teammates, volunteers, and partners to find hope, strength, and joy in the Lord.
  • Continued safety and protection for all who are serving and their ministry sites.
  • Families grieving the loss of loved ones.
  • Refugees, especially children in a new country entirely on their own.
  • An end to the war and peace in Ukraine.

 

As World Refugee Day approaches, would you give a gift to provide one month of Gospel-centered care to refugees today? $30 supports one refugee for one month.

GIVE TODAY

Thanks to TMG Foundation and key partners, all of our fundraising and administrative costs are covered. 100% of your gift will directly support vulnerable children and families in Ukraine.

See the complete archive of news, updates, and prayer requests from Lifesong Ukraine here.


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