Meeting Needs in Bratislava
Three brief stories that show some of the direct ways that our church, Bratislava Faith Community, has been able to support refugees:
Sharing the Love of Jesus
One couple in our church housed a 17-year-old boy and a 20-year-old young woman for a number of weeks. They regularly took these two to doctor’s appointments, to meetings at embassies, to buy clothes and food, and so on. After a conversation with their mother who remained in Ukraine, they all agreed for the sister to transition to Ireland where she has a friend and where the government has offered tangible support to refugees. Through the giving of many around the world, our church was able to buy her plane ticket and to give her some money to live on until her government financial support began in Ireland.
The brother does not have a passport, and Ukraine does not plan to issue passports until the war is over. Therefore, the brother stayed with this family from our church for an additional month or so. During this time, he told the family from our church that he knows he has not been taking his faith very seriously. He said he has seen the love of Jesus through this family and that he knows his life needs to change. He then asked for a Ukrainian Bible and told this family that he plans to walk with the Lord moving forward. He has since relocated with his family in Germany. Our church cannot do everything for everyone, but I noticed the impact one family made in these two kids’ lives. I could see the trauma on their faces the first week they came to our worship service, but that same look is no longer present. Before they moved on to different cities, I could tangibly see that they knew they had security and support within our church.
Helping Fellow Ukrainians
One of our members is from Ukraine. She has been regularly dealing with and supporting refugees that are her family, friends, and/or acquaintances. We recently found out she was personally caring for at least seven refugees at one time in her two-bedroom flat, and our church decided to send her financial support to help offset her financial costs. Once again, the giving of so many from around the world allows us to support in these kinds of ways.
Offering a Temporary Home
One family in our church had a refugee family in their home for the past few weeks. This refugee family has recently found a m
ore permanent solution by moving into a university dormitory in Bratislava. While the time demand and financial burden here was minimal, our members were able to offer temporary support in housing and food long enough for this family to be able to find a more permanent solution.
Refugee support in Bratislava varies from one situation to the next, and the needs are so great that we have to regularly seek wisdom from the Lord as to how to best represent Him. I have enjoyed seeing Christians from all over Slovakia step up to care for refugees in need. The Slovak Baptist Union is working all over the country. There are Christian retreat centers that have turned into refugee housing. I have seen denominational lines disappear in Bratislava as refugee needs have come up. It is beautiful to see the body of Christ function like this in such a great time of need. May God use our small efforts to bring Him glory and to expand His Kingdom.