We are heartbroken over the current situation in Ukraine, and YFC Canada has committed to supporting our colleagues in whatever way we can. We will post updates from Ukraine as we receive them.
Fleeing the war in Ukraine, young mom Natasha spent two days, with her baby and young child, trying to cross the border into Slovakia, crying the entire time. Eventually coming to Ranch Kralova Lehota, Youth for Christ’s ministry and conference center in the Tatras mountains, she found a place of safety and help.
When the war in Ukraine began, the center, usually full of young people and adults on retreats and trainings, quickly retooled to care for the sudden influx of traumatized refugees. Natasha was one of them.
“All day long she was crying,” Andriy Kostyshyn, National Director of Youth for Christ Ukraine said of Natasha. Andriy, having felt directed by the Lord to go to Slovakia shortly before the invasion of Ukraine, was coordinating efforts to care for Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia.
“The first night she was here we had a special prayer and worship meeting with Youth for Christ staff, volunteers, and the Ukrainians. Natasha sat with her head down, crying all the time. When they had a prayer time the leader said, ‘Pray God will heal your heart, no matter how deep the situation is in your heart.’ Natasha was crying like a waterfall.” Someone came over, hugged her and prayed with her.
“In the morning when we woke up, Natasha came to coffee with a clean and shining face!” Andriy said. “From this time to now she gives glory to God. Jesus come into her heart and she is clean person right now. So special! This is what God is doing! People who never went to church and right now they come to Christ.”
“God says, ‘I’m here. You need my love and my care, to be my servant.’ This is what we are doing.” Immanuel – God with us, in war, in peace, in our past, present, and future.
Since the beginning of the war nine months ago, Youth for Christ has been actively showing the love and care of Christ to refugees who have fled to other nations, and we continue to provide humanitarian support and outreach to young people and families within Ukraine.
Before the war, Youth for Christ Ukraine operated 83 day centers for at-risk young people. Working in cooperation with local churches, they provided love, support, food, skills training, and Bible teaching to young people from difficult backgrounds who had little or no family support. Fifty of those day centers remain in operation today, 11 within occupied regions. Since the war began, Youth for Christ Ukraine has also been providing humanitarian support to families in need – food packages, medicine and hygienic products.
“What I realize in this period of time is that the body of Christ do fantastic ministry,” Andriy said. “I don’t know, but nobody say, ‘Oh are you Catholic? Are you orthodox? Or protestant?’ No! People say, ‘Do you need help? Yes? Jesus loves you.’ And give clothes to you. Give soup or borscht.”
Youth for Christ programs in neighboring countries and Youth for Christ supporters around the world have rallied to provide assistance to the Ukraine and refugees during this time. Slovakia, Moldova, Romania, Netherlands, Sweden, Hungary have all actively been housing and transporting refugees, taking supplies into Ukraine, setting aside normal life to show the love of Christ to hurting people.
The needs go beyond the physical. So many young people and their families have experienced the destruction of their homes and death of family and friends. Pairing with professional counselors and psychologists, Youth for Christ is providing trauma counseling and, even just recently, art therapy for children in Kyiv.
“God is still on the throne,” said Andriy. “We see lots of people changing. This is a huge time to be salt and light. We have a good big family, Youth for Christ, and we will go through this. God will always help.”
We recently received the following email from our colleagues in Ukraine:
“Let God’s law be the rule of your conduct and your goal. Going this way, without any doubt,
you will best serve the Motherland and the future of our people.”
We write this letter on the 210th day of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The team of Youth for Christ Ukraine is scattered across Europe, but some of them stayed in Ukraine. Despite everything we are still a team, listening to God and serving together with all God’s children around the world. This letter is an attempt to review the work that the Lord is doing through YFC in Ukraine.
Youth for Christ team in Ukraine
YFCUA regularly provided humanitarian work opportunities to 18 projects. The total number of people who received help for 6 months of the full-scale invasion of Russia is 3328 people. The assistance was provided in 5 regions: Khmelnytsky, Zhytomyr, Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk and Kyiv regions.
Humanitarian support was provided in the following areas:
– food packages
– hygienic products
Now the team that serves the work of Youth for Christ in Ukraine consists of four people who coordinate, administer and service projects including 150 volunteers who help on the local level. The Youth for Christ Ukraine team continues to coordinate the Day Centers in Ukraine.
Day Centers after the full-scale invasion of Russia in Ukraine:
Total – 83
Active Day Centers – 50
Active projects – 7
Day Centers that have paused their work – 15
Are under occupation – 11
Children covered – 1618
Regular work is carried out with – 1124
Number of team members – 238
Youth for Christ UA team in Europe
Part of the YFCUA team left Ukraine after February 24 and are now in the following European countries: Slovakia, the Netherlands and Sweden. While in Europe they continue to serve Ukrainians where they are.
For 6 months they have sheltered more than 600 Ukrainians on a permanent basis or in transit. Namely, the assistance was provided in the following ways
– escort from the cities of Ukraine to the border
– search for transport from the border and transportation to the location of stay
– providing asylum in Slovakia
– assistance in obtaining temporary asylum and insurance
– preparation of documents for receiving benefits
– humanitarian help: clothes, food, medicines and hygiene products.
In addition to physical assistance, spiritual and emotional support was provided: communication, prayers, pastoral care, excursions.
A church in the Netherlands received and accommodated more than 100 people. Most of them are teenagers and families from Novograd Volynskyi, Zhytomyr region. Assistance was provided with documents, accommodation and admission to schools and universities. Providing clothes, food, medicines and hygiene products. In addition to the physical necessary components, special attention was paid to spiritual assistance, namely small groups for studying the Scriptures, pastoral care and prayers for healing.
In addition, they actively participated in city events dedicated to the coverage of the war in Ukraine. Just by collecting bottles, it was possible to send aid to Ukraine in the amount of 1300 euros and a lot of different help was received from people who were told about the war.
God gave the opportunity to go to our DC coordinator with her 2 children and also to help evacuate 21 people from the DC Miropil in Zhytomyr region and the team. Through cooperation with the church, we settled Ukrainians in local Swedish families. They helped with the registration of benefits and the search for part-time work. For 6 months of staying in Sweden, the coordinator of the YFCUA was able to send humanitarian aid about 3 times to 7 DCs of Zhytomyr region. This is more than 100 families who received humanitarian help, exactly what they needed: shoes for children, clothes, food. Also, humanitarian help was sent for 200 refugees at a time.
YFC Canada is committed to assisting our colleagues in whatever way we can. We will collect funds to support YFC staff and their ministries in Ukraine and send it to YFC International for distribution. Please note – due to the emergency of this situation we will be waiving all administration costs so that 100% of your donation will go directly to Ukraine. To contribute to this fund, please click here.
Unfortunately, the war in Ukraine continues. The relief efforts in neighbouring countries are continuing, and everyone is settling in for the long haul. Adding concern is the energy crisis in Europe that will make it difficult and expensive for these nations to continue offering support through the winter.
On a more hopeful note, Sasha continues to work in the YFC ministry in Eastern Europe and with local youth. He shared two touching and hope-filled videos from local youth events.
This is a video of a youth retreat that Sasha spoke at. The video was shot and edited by his son Artur.
And here is a video of a youth group prayer walk. The footage was filmed by a friend and Artur added the subtitles.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for our friends, colleagues, and the people of Eastern Europe.
Our colleagues in Eastern Europe shared this video with us to share an update and words of thanks from Ukrainian refugees.
Daryl Stogryn, the Director of Global Engagement, received this update letter from Sasha in Ukraine. Sasha shares how he appreciates every grace God gives, how his ministry has changed this year, and how they are working to make resources available for young people in Eastern Europe.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our colleagues in Eastern Europe.
Thank you for your ongoing interest in ways to assist the people of Ukraine through the ministry of Youth for Christ. The war continues with little abatement. The news reports and the reports we receive from our colleagues in Ukraine and neighbouring nations all point to a conflict that is not expected to end soon, and, in the eastern part of the nation, it is likely to get worse. Please continue to pray for peace and for the ability to serve the needs of the people as they change and develop.
Focus on YFC Hungary relief efforts for Ukraine
The staff of YFC Hungary has been working to the point of exhaustion in serving the needs of Ukrainians leaving the war zone. The biggest need to help refugees in Hungary at the moment is to have two more YFC staff who are able to step into communications and drive vehicles to the border with aid supplies and help with all the coordinating work. Your support will help alleviate some of the stress by providing 2 short-term staff for the next 2 months to supplement the YFC Hungary team. The cost for two short-term staff to help YFC Hungary is $4,760 CAD.
The number of refugees in Hungary is over 400,000. Compared to the size of the population of Hungary which is less than 10 million, this is a huge amount to coordinate. YFC Hungary is helping refugees meet some of their basic needs, welcoming them into the country with the goal of making them feel at home as soon as possible.
To get a sense of the breadth of the relief efforts underway in Hungary, here is a list of some of their activities:
YFC would value any financial support that would help with the activities and costs which are listed above.
Thank you for your continued partnership and support for our friends in Eastern Europe. If you have any questions – please reach out to our Director of Global Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Attila, National Director of YFC Hungary, packing his car to deliver supplies across the border
(2) Attila, National Director of YFC Hungary, playing with a group of Ukrainian boys in YFC Hungary’s ministry centre
(3) YFC Hungary’s National Director and Family: Róza, Attila & Lídia, Abigél
(4) Attila, National Director of YFC Hungary, and his wife, Lídia
As YFC in the surrounding nations continue to provide support for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict – the biggest need continues to be money for supplies. Food, medical supplies, clothing and transportation to safe places are the greatest needs at the moment. Funds will continue to go to YFC Eastern Europe where they will be distributed to relief efforts where most needed. YFC ministries in Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Moldova and Hungary are heavily involved in receiving and caring for refugees.
Staff from YFC Hungary are going into Ukraine to deliver aid supplies and coming back with refugees. YFC Slovakia staff are doing similar things. In nations a little farther away, Germany, Netherlands for example, YFC ministries are coordinating temporary housing with various agencies.
2 very specific needs. YFC Slovakia needs to purchase an empty shipping container so that they can have safe, dry storage of donated goods prior to distribution. The cost is $6,000Euro (Approx $8500 CAD) In addition to a shipping container they are trying to buy a 24 passenger mini-bus for transporting refugees and supplies. They have been renting, but the cost is prohibitive. A purchase will be much more efficient.
Please give through the DONATE button below. If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
Since we last wrote, we have sent close to $10,000 to YFC in Eastern Europe to be distributed as noted below. More comes in each day and we will be sending funds to YFC in Eastern Europe to help with the cost of placing refugees from Ukraine through Europe and beyond.
All of our European YFC colleagues are engaged in this, however those in the countries bordering Ukraine are bearing the brunt of the initial work. We are investigating ways to get donated supplies to the area as well.
One story: Lena, a YFC staff from Ukraine and our WakeUp Deborah (A prayer ministry) leader in Ukraine, gathered on a bus some of the children and mothers from the day care where she serves and left Ukraine. They drove across Poland and Germany to arrive in the Netherlands. Working with YFC and the Wake Up Deborah leader in the Netherlands they are planning how to provide spiritual and material support to Ukrainian mothers and children.
Finally, just in from Ukraine. 5 Day Care Centers (Chmelnicki, Ternopol, Lutsk, Lviv, Korosten) will be a transit place for 40 refugees daily each one to stay for a night, to eat and to have a food package and basic medicine box to move further. Total number per day is about 200 people. During 7-14 days it will be at least 1400 people. And also in the western part they develop a logistic transportation service to bring refugees to the borders.
The Day Care Centres are now “care centers”. Everybody they know from YFC Ukraine staff and volunteers are alive. This is what they know as of Thursday March 8th
Please continue to support this as you can. Stay tuned for updates.
Daryl Stogryn – Global Engagement, YFC Canada
By now you are aware of the events unfolding in Eastern Europe and the invasion of Ukraine. Youth for Christ in Ukraine has a long and strong history of providing services to children and youth, especially through their day-centres ministry, where youth can come for safety, meals, and fellowship. In addition, youth can find support when going through traumatic family circumstances. Over the next weeks and months, if the news reports are any indication, the situation in Ukraine could continue to deteriorate.
YFC Canada is committed to assisting our colleagues in whatever way we can and so we have set up an emergency fund for that purpose. We will collect funds to support YFC staff and their ministries in Ukraine and send it to YFC International for distribution. Please note – due to the emergency of this situation we will be waiving all administration costs so that 100% of your donation will go directly to Ukraine. To contribute to this fund, please click here.
Even though we are hearing that people are leaving Ukraine in large numbers, in a recent communication from our colleagues there, one was quoted as saying, “We will stay and keep the doors open for the youth and children.” This takes courage and conviction as they are all facing war.
Here is some information from the National Director of YFC Ukraine:
Greetings dear friends! Thank you very much for your prayers for Ukraine! You all know that the situation in Ukraine is now very difficult!…
Now the people of Ukraine live between life and death. God sent me to Slovakia to prepare a place for the Youth for the Christ of Ukraine team, their families and volunteers, as well as for refugees from Ukraine, now these are women and children who are scared to death. Men and boys from 18-65 years old, cannot leave Ukraine, they can be called in to defend our homeland Ukraine.
We are very grateful to God for Youth for Christ Slovakia, as they are ready to receive 75 people and provide for them:
A warm and clean bed, clean water for drinking and hot water for washing and hot and good food during the day, which many children and women of Ukrainian refugees now dream of, who are standing on the border sometimes even 75 km in line.
One month of accommodation and meals for 75 people will cost 40,000 euros at the Ranch in Slovakia. YFC Slovakia is stopping their activities to help people. We want to start for help to collect at least for the first month, and planning for three months.
This is in Slovakia, but we are also connecting with our brothers and sisters in Romania, Moldova and Hungary who want to help. We will continue to coordinate and support the way in which these nearby YFC nations assist Ukraine. We don’t know what will happen in the near future. We will start with the support for the first month. There’s a lot of insecurity at this moment. Also if (national) governments or relief organizations will or are able to help us. We want to start with helping our YFC family to offer a safe place. Please consider your support.
Please pray for:
- Stop shelling and killing people and children.
- For refugees who are trying to get to the border.
- For people with children and older people who do not have the opportunity to leave.
- For stopping the WAR.
- For Christians who have remained and continue to serve the people.
- The prayer list can be large. Please pray for Ukraine.
- Pray for our brothers and sisters in Russia and Belarus who don’t want this war. Pray for boldness of these Kingdom-people to reach their generation with the gospel.
May you always have Peace of the Lord God! May God bless you.
Please pray for safety, peace, and a swift resolution to this terrible situation. Please also pray for our colleagues in nearby nations. We have YFC people there as well – they are dear brothers and sisters and they are in pain with these events.
If you have any questions – please reach out to our Director of Global Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org