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.
Within hours of that meeting flyers were printed, responsibilities were taken-on, and the praying continued.
The response from the neighborhood and city were overwhelming. Clothes, sleeping bags, and mattresses flooded our space. We packed things together, google-translating the labels into Ukrainian, and another volunteer and myself drove a cargo van full to the border of Poland and Ukraine. (MANY miracles on that trip, alone!) From there the things would be transported to another YWAM base in Ternopil, who was in turn helping to provide necessities to the base in Kiev, as well as housing internally displaced people. I remarked then how incredible it was to see Christian and non-Christian alike, laying aside differences to serve. To God be the glory!
Fast forward two weeks and we find ourselves with a house full of Ukrainians who have fled their homes, leaving all they have behind. Usually they left with only one small bag per person. Will there be an apartment or home for them to return to? For many it seems unlikely.
One man came knocking on our door this last Monday with his wife and three children. I saw them through our store-front like windows and immediately knew they needed help. They had just arrived in Nuremberg from Kiev, a journey which had taken them five days and through four other countries. Only one night on the road did they have a bed to sleep in. Their destination was Stuttgart (though they had no specific tie to this city), but upon arriving in Nuremberg, the father knew he couldn’t drive any further. He had hardly slept at all since leaving their home and could no longer concentrate on driving due to sleep deprivation. They asked for a place to stay, and within a few minutes I could confirm that we had beds for all five of them. Their otherwise tired, distraught faces cracked a smile — they had found help.
I later asked him, Anton is his name, how he found us. After all, Nuremberg is a city of over 500,000 people. He said he was sure he could find help at the main railway station, and after parking his car, set out on foot in that direction. They were passing by our building (which is only a few meters from the station) and noticed that we had signs in the window written in Ukrainian. Upon hearing this, we both agreed that God had guided them to exactly where they needed to be. His hand was on them and was protecting them. He began to tear up as he reflected on their journey and arrival in Nuremberg, and proceeded to give me a huge hug. I embraced him and began to tear up myself.
Anton, and numerous others who have made the tough decision to leave Ukraine have, as I mentioned, arrived at our doors with nearly nothing. We made the decision that for at least the next three months they will receive a place to stay and food at no cost to them. This is where things get practical: we need your help. You can click on the button below to see how to give your time or resources.
Please keep us in your prayers — it changes things. And let’s all continue to pray, as well, for the war in Ukraine; the governments involved, the soldiers on the front line, and the millions of civilians taking the brunt of this war. Even so, God is good. Miracles are happening and lives, yes souls, are being saved in the midst of this!
Now, if you need me, I’ll probably be in the kitchen cooking for our new house-guests.