"There are signs of hope. We are grateful for the ways United Methodists around the world continue to support the United Methodist ministry here in Ukraine. It is a small and modest ministry. We are thankful for your prayers and gifts." —Rev. Fred Vanderwerf, In Mission Together—Ukraine, General Board of Global Ministries.
Rev. Fred Vanderwerf reports from Ukraine about the ministry of The United Methodist Church in the country feeling the impacts of Russian military attacks. He coordinates "In Mission Together-Ukraine" for the General Board of Global Ministries. Fred also serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for the Minnesota Conference.
Are you seeing signs of war?
Vanderwerf states, "I have been in western Ukraine, where it is safe. People are going about their daily lives. There are signs of active war."
Mobilization: Vanderwerf worked with students in Ukraine several years ago. Now, those students are eligible to be drafted into military service. It weighs on their heart because they love their country and want to defend it. It is scary to go to war when you have not been trained.
Injuries and death: Daily you see funeral services for people who have died in war. The medical facilities are caring for the injured.
Displaced people: People from eastern and southern Ukraine are seeking refuge and shelter in western Ukraine. The United Methodist Church is mobilized to assist displaced people. Currently, the UMC rents two floors of a government building to house people.
Five-year Plan for The United Methodist Church in Ukraine
The Annual Conference was held for the eight churches in Ukraine. There were about 60 people in attendance. A new five-year plan was unveiled with the following goals.
In a discussion about the five-year plan, it became apparent that one of the biggest concerns for The United Methodist Church in Ukraine is leadership. Many leaders have left.
New leaders are beginning to step forward. Please pray for leadership development and for the Holy Spirit to breakthrough. Here are emerging leaders to lift in prayer:
"The good news is that they have their eyes on the church's future. They are focused on planting new churches and discipleship as they respond to the trauma of war. Thank you for sending me to represent you in Ukraine. Thank you for your prayers and support," stated Fred.
Financial gifts: To donate, please give to UMCOR’s International Disaster Response and Recovery fund, Advance #982450.
Updates, information and prayers: Join the In Mission Together—Ukraine Facebook group for the latest information and ways you can support the ministry with your prayers.