On July 14, Steve Eckert (Executive Director) and Rich Schoenert (Board Chair) participated in an accountability and wellness check with Igor Skrypnyk (pronounced Skripnick). Igor is the Senior Presbyter in Cherkasy Oblast (state) for the Baptist Union of Ukraine and serves a church in the village of Shpola. He was asked to describe how the Ukraine Relief Fund is helping him minister to others in wartime. Funds have been directed to:
Provide food to people who come to the churches, helping small churches buy food for the forcibly displaced.
They assist pastors with financial difficulties because of the non-stop cost of helping IDPs.
They provide resources directly to refugees settling in the area. The government helps, but only so much, and the refugees need help adjusting to “new” accommodations. A used stove and refrigerator were provided for a family of immigrants (see images provided).
There is also a cost for transporting humanitarian aid from abroad and taking it to war zones.
Thankfully food, gas, and water supply are becoming more available in Cherkasy than a few months ago. Some churches take food to Kharkiv and Dnipro and bring people back from dangerous zones. Now there are fewer people, but many local people don’t have regular salaries, so the churches are helping local people with food in addition to the refugees moving into the area.
His church is also providing spiritual education for church leaders and ministry workers.
The Baptist Union is involved in helping approximately 40 small churches in Ukraine and does have other means of support. Each church in the Baptist Union also receives support from other organizations, but some churches don’t get enough support, so he helps with more significant projects.
When asked how he and his family are doing and if they are managing a respite, he said they are "ok and that things are easier than in the first few months." He is “sometimes tired but ok.” He and his family have not considered time-off yet. The READ leadership encouraged Igor that his emotional and mental health is essential for continuing his work. If this is not financially possible for him, READ would like to help.
Specific prayer requests from Igor: - Prayer for his son, Ruslan, who has been drafted in Cherkasy.
- Help for Igor in making ministry decisions.
- For continued safety in Cherkasy.
Igor is grateful for the sacrificial giving to help them to continue to minister to displaced people.