The initial shock of Russia’s attack on Ukraine was still very fresh here when Germans churches, along with Christian charitable institutions both Catholic and Protestant, organised to provide what humanitarian aid they could send themselves to the people fleeing the war and being housed in temporary shelter in western Ukraine and Poland. Here in Augsburg, the Gebetshaus launched a campaign to raise funds and collect humanitarian aid packages on March 4th. The local chapter of the Royal Rangers, Pentecostal boy/girl scouts for those who don’t know, also organised a relief effort in which our Pentecostal church is still participating. And there are multiple other relief efforts and prayer groups that are working to aid those on the run and those still in the country. Juden für Jesus/Jews for Jesus, Chosen People Ministries, Toward Jerusalem Council II, Jean-Luc Trachsel Ministries, Youth with A Mission, and Awakening Europe- in short, every organisation with which we have even tangential contact- is involved in aiding Ukrainians and praying for both Ukraine and Russia.
We have also had groups of refugees arriving. Monday the first group of Ukrainian refugees arrived at Koinonia. It consists of two small families with children under 10 and one grandmother in one of these families, along with a couple which has no children and a middle-aged woman I have not met. One of the family fathers is a barber, the other a plastic surgeon. They likely had rather ordinary middle-class European lives like those of the young professionals here in Augsburg until about 18 days ago. Please pray for them as they adjust to being here and have to cope with the reality of destruction and massive loss of life in their homeland.
Pray also for communication with them. My Russian is better preserved than I thought it might be, and I have been able to use it some to communicate with them- Ukrainian and Russian are similar. Three of them speak some English, and everyone is running around with their Smartphone translation Apps trying to get their meanings across. People in Koinonia are discussing setting up German and English classes for them, but that will take time.
Which raises another point: We have no idea how long our guests are going to be here. I, personally, do not know who’s been shopping for them. I think the parish of Sankt Andreas (our Catholic church just down the road) has been helping Koinonia in some capacity with that, but need to talk to house leadership to learn the specifics. It’s only been a week.
I would also ask people to pray for the spiritual atmosphere among Germans here. We were in the Prayer Room at the Augsburg House of Prayer for our regular shifts last week (we’re „Gebetshausfamilie“, not regular members, before anyone asks), and people seemed to be shocked, fearful, upset, tense, and a generally sombre feeling, a gravity of events weighing on the intercessors. Trust in the Lord is made for times of great loss and greater uncertainty, the spiritual gifts of faith and endurance given for times of great duress, but the gifts do not make the duress or the loss automatically „all better now“. We persevere with intercession because we know God’s hand does move among the nations. We need however your support in prayer, as well. Pray the Holy Spirit strengthen, refresh and guide us in the days, weeks or months ahead.
Pray also against mutual animosity between Russians and Ukrainians here. There are many from both countries here in Bavaria, more in the larger cities. Since Wednesday, various news outlets- Die Süddeutsche Zeitzung, Die Welt, Der Spiegel, just to name three- have been reporting that there have been attacks on Russians and people who simply have Russian-sounding names.
And, if you can and would like to assist Koinonia in meeting the costs involved in housing our unexpected guests, you can donate to a GiveSendGo campaign I started for that purpose: https://www.givesendgo.com/G2WR6
Thank you for your support!
If you would like to help keep the lights on and the water running around here, we’d appreciate your contribution.