The news out of Ukraine is heartbreaking, yet the spirit of the Ukrainian people is heart-lifting. Surely God is working in many unseen ways in this terrible time. You may be asking, "How can I help?"
Below are some ideas and information:
The church is at work. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) - the blue shirts you may remember from the 2018 tornado - has this update on their work in Ukraine. https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/how-is-presbyterian-disaster-assistance-helping-in-ukraine/
Closer to home, Gordon and Kathy Siebring of Marshalltown are working to fill a shipping container with supplies for displaced Ukrainians. To learn more about this and how items need to be packed for drop off at New Hope Christian Church or Marshalltown Community College read this article: https://www.timesrepublican.com/news/todays-news/2022/03/locals-look-to-fill-shipping-container-with-donations-for-ukraine/
Even a candle can help. Besides bringing light, it can also help preserve life. Door County Candle Company in Wisconsin has been busy making candles supporting Razom for Ukraine, a mission focused on delivering medical supplies to Ukraine. Their story can be found here: https://doorcountypulse.com/candles-for-ukraine/
As of March 25, 2022, they have donated $275,000 out of a small family run shop. https://www.wbay.com/2022/03/25/door-county-candle-company-makes-another-150000-donations-support-ukraine/
The war in Ukraine is expected to increase food insecurity around the world when hunger is already on the rise. Russia and Ukraine combined produce 29% of global wheat exports. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World, discusses this problem with Ministry Watch's Bob Smietana: https://ministrywatch.com/war-in-ukraine-may-leave-millions-hungry-warns-eugene-cho-of-bread-for-the-world/
PDA offers this prayer for Ukraine:
God of mercy, justice and peace:
Our spirits are heavy with sorrow, our souls shocked
At the sudden and breathtaking violence,
the invasion of Ukraine by their neighbor, Russia.
We pray for lives caught in the grip of war,
who hear the bombs in the night,
the ominous movement of troops on the road into town
the whistle of incoming shells,
for a cry from a desperate neighbor or a shout of warning.
For those who huddle in subways and basements
or flee for the borders, clutching their children’s hands
We pray for families separated from fathers, brothers and sons
who must remain to fight and protect their homeland.
We pray for neighbors in Eastern and Central Europe
As their hearts and doors open to these refugees
That strained resources will become an abundance of hope
That fears and struggles with racism will yield to a generosity of profound welcome
That communities of faith within Ukraine will be protected from harm
and sustained in their efforts to feed and shelter their neighbors.
That peacemakers and protesters in Russia will be heard and their lives preserved.
May we undergird our prayers with tangible resources to help.
May we reach deeply, give generously, and welcome extravagantly.
May we lift our voices in a strong and unified advocacy.
May we all, even as we breathe in lament, breathe out mercy, hope and peace.
And in this Lenten season, when we walk the way toward death and resurrection, repent our complicity in cultures of violence and renew our efforts toward justice and peace.
--The Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance