Refugee Assistance, Resettlement Play Crucial Role in Ukraine Crisis Response
By Carl Stagner
February 24, 2022. That was the day Russian forces crossed the border into Ukraine, igniting a conflict with global consequence. Families torn apart, lives lost, churches displaced, businesses destroyed, and the rhythm of life totally disrupted only scratch the surface of the challenges facing the vulnerable and victimized of the region. As Church of God Ministries and the Church of God around the world continue to respond prayerfully and financially to the crisis, updates from our missionaries in closest proximity to Ukraine offer a glimmer of hope amid the widespread despair.
Daniel and Christy Kihm serve as missionaries for Global Strategy. Before their reassignment to Hungary, they’d already racked up several years in missions to the Netherlands. Sharing eighty-five miles of border with Ukraine, Hungary was one of several neighboring countries thrust into the international spotlight; Daniel and Christy Kihm were thrust into the thick of crisis response and ministry.
In recent weeks, refugee assistance has become one of the primary ways the Church of God in Hungary is living out the love of Jesus in the region. Since the start of the war, over 5 million people have left Ukraine, most of these women and children. Resettlement logistics are major hurdles for the displaced, but the Church of God is doing what they can to come to their aid.
“To be honest, I can’t imagine if I had to be in their shoes what life would be like, how I would wrestle with these options, opportunities, or lack thereof,” Daniel reflects. “Sometimes I over-analyze situations, I try to make the absolute best possible decision. Sometimes that can be paralyzing…. If I’m going to move [to a new home] temporarily, perhaps for several years, or maybe for the rest of my life, to a new country, with a new language, with a new culture—which one is the best to go to?” Daniel concludes that the decision-making process for these refugees must be “unbelievably overwhelming.”
In a podcast episode of A World of Good, Nate and guest host Stacy Tatman interview Daniel and Christy Kihm to better understand the response. Daniel and Christy expound on their observations on the refugee situation and reveal more about the current efforts to support the Church of God in Ukraine through food shipments to internally displaced people and resettling Ukrainians as they seek refuge outside the country. Because of the nature of this situation, the response is changing quickly and the team in Europe, in coordination with other churches across the region, is working daily to take appropriate actions to support those escaping violence.
Listen now to the podcast episode, “Ukraine Update Part 2,” at https://chogglobal.org/podcast/s5e7/.
If you would like to walk alongside our Ukrainian church family, donations can be made to Church of God Disaster Relief. Your gift helps provide both emergency aid to those who choose to remain in Ukraine and critical assistance to those who choose to flee as refugees.
Feature (top) photo: Church of God in Hungary collects supplies for Ukraine. Photos courtesy the Kihms.