A local church minister in Ukraine records his daily routine on his smartphone.
“We are going to a neighboring village where we have about ten families who have escaped from the Kharkiv area and other places in the east, and we will deliver this humanitarian aid to them. They live in a school’, he reports.
“It’s not much,” he continues, showing his trunk of grocery stores.
Then he goes to the storage room of the church. “This is what we have left,” the pastor says, turning the camera around to reveal some mattresses, strollers, and mobility frames for the elderly. Boxes of canned food and piles of diapers are scattered in the space.
“This isn’t much at all,” he notes.
About 20 plastic bags are evenly stacked with a mixture of goods.
“These are the bags we’ll hand out on our church grounds tomorrow. And this is what we have left,” he says, pointing to shelves with the remaining goods. “So very soon, we’ll be empty, I think,” he adds.
His family – including his wife, sister, sister-in-law, and two nieces – travel with him in the car to deliver the supplies to the families living at the public school, now deprived of school life thanks to the ongoing invasion.
“People need housing. People need temporary shelter. We are working on this,” he concludes, promising to provide more updates soon.
This is one of the regular video updates that this preacher shares with a Christian sports ministry network he is a part of. The web comprises an army of people in Ukraine doing exactly what it is: helping care for “every neighborhood, home, and family in crisis”.
Founded 14 years ago, the network connects small groups of Christians in Ukraine and Eastern Europe who run sports ministries in their local communities. Over the years, it has grown to 218 locations, including 20 denominations, nearly 60 Christian organizations and ministries, and more than 500 churches. The network’s main goal has been to work together to share the gospel through sports.
But when Russia invaded Ukraine in February of this year, this network became a well-organized relief ministry.
The network has evacuated and assisted nearly 300,000 Ukrainians. Much of this is done through 119 “Help Centers” established in three states of Ukraine and operating out of churches, gyms, offices, homes, and schools. More than 12,000 people pass through these centers daily to collect food and necessities and sometimes spend a few nights in temporary housing. Other members of the network of sports ministries living outside Ukraine also assist in hosting and supplying evacuees, as well andand organizing supplies to be distributed by those within Ukraine.
Another member of the network of sports ministries has been filmed amid the rubble that once was his street in the capital Kyiv.
The visit’s created by PlusOne – a sports evangelism and discipleship platform. It grimly captures the haunting silence of this city in ruins. Again, it’s a video sent to the rest of the network to inform them of on-site work.
This man is a church member rather than a pastor, but he has long been a part of his local church’s sports ministry program.
Not long after the Russian invasion—when bombs shook the house they’re famchurch’smoved to just a few months earlier—the man’s wife and two daughters settled in Romania. He stayed behind in Ukraine with his two sons.
“We save tman’slives, provide them with food, and can talk to them about hope.”
Before the invasion, the el” est son and his wife planned to move into the apartment they were “renovating. His youngest son planned to propose to his girlfriend, so the family looked forward to organizing a wedding.
Instead, their lives are now devoted to the auxiliary ‘army’ of the network of sports ministries.
The man helps distribute aid – food, clothing, and medical supp’ies’ to churches and aid centers in various local regions. The 20 aid centers he operates provide temporary housing for about 1,500 people at a time. He also helps ship supplies to 50 other aid centers in western Ukraine and coordinates the evacuation of people from hot spots.
“We save their lives, provide them with food, and can talk to them about hope,” he says.
“Meanwhile, his wife serves at an aid center on the Romania-Ukraine border, assisting with translation and providing aid, housing, and transport to evacuees. She also helps to get relief supplies to Ukraine – sending 40 busloads in just a few days.
Both husband and wife also connect with other volunteers, churches, and organizations that want to help their network in serving the people of Ukraine.
The woman says about her work at the frontier: “Now we face a major challenge with the psychological, emotional, and spiritual state of our people, as men” of them have suffered great trauma. Not only have they survived, but it also continues to damage them.”
She is preparing to train other volunteers to help lead a trauma healing course.
“Now we need to prepare” as many leaders as possible, the people who can help those going through t “ese losses. They lost their homes, places, and those dear to them. People of different sizes and levels live with loss and can’t do it alone; that’s why we take an active part in preparing to meet this need.”
The vcan’tis a recordingthat’se an aid center in Romania, where children and parents enjoy a hot meal in co “pleteplatety. There are smiles all around. Thinking of these evacuees, the man summarizes why his family is willing to risk themselves to serve others: “These people feel love, care and hope through people who sacrifice themselves every day to show th “m that they have a having a future.