According to the UN Refugee Agency, nearly 6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the conflict began in February. Of those refugees, Poland has taken in more than 3 million.
Crisis-trained Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains have been serving alongside Samaritan’s Purse in three Ukrainian cities since shortly after the conflict began on Feb. 24.
Josh Holland, BG-RRT’s international director, traveled to Lviv—a city in western Ukraine, about 43 miles from the Polish border—in early March to help with relief efforts.
“After being there in Ukraine, I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after seeing how desperate and broken people are,” he said. “I came back with a passion that God could use the BG-RRT ministry to reach more refugees.”
In expanding that reach, chaplains have been sent to offer emotional and spiritual support to Ukrainians who have fled to a refugee camp near Warsaw, Poland.
“The refugees who are coming over to Poland are traumatized,” Holland said. “[That’s why] we are sending chaplains to Poland to cry with them, comfort them, pray with them, and let them know God loves them and has not forgotten about them.”
Chaplains continue to serve in Ukraine at Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospitals, and so far, more than 100 local Ukrainians have been trained as chaplains.
Because chaplains are not able to care for every refugee, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has recently launched a free, online video series called “God’s Hope in Crisis” in an effort to help Ukrainians navigate grief and trauma. The series is also available Russian.
Photo: Ron Nickel/©2022 BGEA