Mykolaiv, a city on the southern coast of Ukraine, has been hit hard by Russian forces since the beginning of the war. On average, Mykolaiv is shelled at least eight times a day.
With that scope of destruction and unpredictability, life can be uprooted at a moment’s notice.
“Today both of my stores were bombed,” said a deacon and businessman at Grace Church, an evangelical church in Mykolaiv that receives aid from the Ukraine Crisis Fund.
This uncertain way of living brings new meaning to the passage, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV).
Grace Church has a long history of partnership with ABWE. For a number of years, it has hosted the Church Ministries Institute, a Bible school that provides theological education to church leaders and lay people.
This church also has a history of faithfully living through trials. In 2019, the congregation’s meeting place caught fire and the entire building was destroyed. During the reconstruction process, they decided to create a deep basement fortified with concrete on all sides. And just a short while later, when the war started in February, they had a bomb shelter that provided safety for many.
Grace Church immediately became a hub for distributing humanitarian aid and sharing the gospel.
Caleb S., an ABWE missionary serving throughout the crisis, has been to Mykolaiv multiple times throughout the invasion. On his first trip to the church, Caleb asked the church leadership, “So, what is your biggest difficulty right now?”
The pastors responded that their biggest difficulty was finding enough people who could serve the multitudes that have come through their doors for aid.
Before the war began, Grace Church had about 450 members that regularly attended each week. Once the invasion began and families fled to safer areas of Ukraine or out of the country, their church attendance dropped to about 100 members and two deacons.
“How are you doing right now?” Caleb later asked the pastors on his most recent trip to Grace Church this fall.
“We are very, very happy,” the pastors responded. “A couple of years ago, we prayed and asked God to fill our church with unbelievers so that we could preach the gospel to them, and that’s just what he did!”
Now their church is so full they’ve had to move to two Sunday services to accommodate 600 people, most of whom have never attended church before.
God is using incredibly difficult circumstances to bring people to himself.
Grace Church is just one of the Ukrainian church partners ABWE has supported through the Ukraine Crisis Fund. They have seen a revival as people turn away from sin and hopelessness and find peace, comfort, and salvation in Jesus Christ.
To date, more than 25 organizations and churches have received funding from the Ukraine Crisis Fund so that they can further their outreach of the gospel through humanitarian relief, medical missions, evacuation services, and children’s ministries. There have even been ministry opportunities behind Russian lines.
As we rejoice at how God is working through crisis, please continue to pray for Ukrainian believers in Mykolaiv—and throughout Ukraine—as they share the gospel with communities desperate for hope.
Want to help our workers continue serving refugees and support local Ukrainian churches during this difficult time? Prayerfully consider donating to the Ukraine Crisis Fund.