When the invasion of Ukraine started on February 24th, immediately the European Mennonite Conferences started to mobilize themselves to find the best ways to support the Church in Ukraine. The first efforts where to send funds to help them buy food and drinks, and support the citizens from the cities. The majority of the support was on the south and southeast of Ukraine via MCC, Multiply and DHM.
Without “many waves” the Lithuania Church, LKB, started on their own to mobilize their members and their churches to go directly to send aid to Ukraine. Their project was to load a few vans and drive around 1000 kms to the border of Slovakia, pass the border, and meet the Ukranian Church members there.
They then would unload the goods, have fellowship with them and then return back, spending at least 4 hours on the line to pass the border back to Slovakia, and then drive back 1000 kms to Vilnius. When I first heard about that effort I was totally mind blown. The history of Lithuania was based on sacrifices, being invaded, and repression. That’s why they can have a completely different vision of how they react to this tragedy in Ukraine…they’ve been there. They experienced that. So, when all this drama started they didn’t wait too long.
They started right away in the beginning of March, from March 4- 6, 2022, with three vans, March 18- 20 another three vans made the trip, and from April 4-6 four vans were sent. Each van had two drivers. They stopped for one night, normally in Poland, to sleep and the next morning they would head to the border. Two full, intense days where their mission is just to extend blessings to their sisters and brothers in Ukraine.
The mobilization has been in the churches around Lithuania. We must understand that the Conference is quite small, there are seven churches with around 30-40 members. But they all stepped in to bring support and amazingly they did that on their own initiative, spending their own funds and resources without asking for help from the Global Anabaptist Family. It’s just their way of doing things.
Right now the best way we can help them is:
- ̊ Pray for the ones involved in this effort. It’s a big demand on their side to organize the logistics, communicate in difficult times, and gather enough resources. We can also pray they find rest and be in shape physically and emotionally. Although our sisters and brothers in Lithuania never asked for help on their efforts, funds from the global family would be appreciated.
- Pray for the churches and their members. Pray for the sacrifices they are making to extend their help to Ukraine, and also their work welcoming refugees.