When you hear "missionary," it probably conjures up images of a westerner in a southeast Asian nation holding an orphaned child or in an African country drilling a water well. Likely, you don't picture an American in urbanized and well-off Germany. This is partly because there *are* such physical needs in many parts of the world. These are needs which the Church is equipped to meet. And I myself do not solely focus on the nation of Germany in the work I'm involved in. But, when Jesus said, "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick" (Mark 2:17), he wasn't talking directly about those who have cancer, who need basic medical aid, and who don't have access to a hospital. Rather, he was talking about those who are spiritually sick. Germany is a nation which is just that, sick, in need of a Healer.
I'm sure one question remains at this point: "What do you do?" It's a fair question. Close to the beginning of March 2022 YWAM Nuremberg opened their doors and started preparing the beds for what would soon be some 20+ refugees from Ukraine. That number continues to increase as a wave of people seeking a roof over their heads flood into Nuremberg. Keep reading to hear how we as a team, and how I personally am responding.
Upon prayerfully deciding to devote myself to a full-time response to this crisis, I partnered once again with YWAM Nuremberg, as they had expressed that they would like to jump immediately into action. We met as a team on Monday, the 28th of February to talk about this initiative for the first time. Two thing were clear: 1). we would open up to receive refugees in our building, and 2). there was a need for supplies.
Fast forward to today and we have been able to:
- provide housing for 51 people in and through the YWAM Center
- keep our Welcome Center open every day, through this more than 500 people have received needed clothing
- work with 30 volunteers serving Ukrainians in practical ways: cooking, organizing donations, packing boxes and driving vans.
- send 10 vans full of aid to the Polish-Ukrainian border
- provided 8000+ meals through the YWAM kitchen
After all of that, we prayerfully considered if we would continue beyond our original three month plan. God compelled us to do so, so now we have began Phase 2! Vans are still going to the border, meals are still being served, and the YWAM Center is still an open door to those who need clothing and shelter after fleeing the war.
I personally at the moment am helping to equip others in the team to continue on the good work in this project. I will be getting married(!) in August and will therefore be taking a step back in July, as this project has been an all consuming effort on my end the last months. After the honeymoon, we will see if there is still a need to jump back in here or if God leads us (wow, have to get used to that pronoun) towards another ministry area.
Let me share a recommendation which I hope everyone of you reads. It’s a blog full of prayer requests, stories, and photos from front line workers in Ukraine. The link is: https://www.ywamslavicministries.org. Be warned, it will likely bring you to tears, and I encourage you to let it do so. Keep those affected by this war in your prayers.