Russian air strikes on Ukraine’s energy grid Nov. 23 left millions of people with no light, water or heat, according to a Nov. 25 Reuters article.
Ongoing forced power outages means Ukrainians are facing a bleak and cold winter. In partnership with numerous relief organizations, Mennonite Brethren churches are scrambling to provide people with warm clothing, stoves, firewood, generators, flashlights, batteries and basic food supplies. In addition to help from North America, aid has recently come Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite churches in Korea and European countries.
“Your brotherly love, help, unity and support strengthen us to try—with all our might—to help both those who are fleeing Ukraine and those that remain behind,” says MB pastor Gediminas Dailyde in an email to Multiply, the North American MB mission agency. “Even as we witness the worst rampages of Satan during this war, we also experience an extraordinary work of God.”
Two North American Mennonite Brethren agencies are providing opportunities to give toward this need for heat and basic supplies as winter settles in.
Donations made to MB Foundation designated for wood stoves will be earmarked for Mennonite Brethren as part of Mission Eurasia’s goal of providing 2,000 wood-burning stoves to Ukrainian families. Mission Eurasia, founded in 1991, works in 13 countries in Eurasia and Israel to train, equip and mobilize Christian leaders through holistic ministry.
Roman Rakhuba, chair of the Association of MB Churches in Ukraine, alerted MB Foundation president and CEO Jon C. Wiebe to a need to purchase 100 of these wood stoves to be distributed to Mennonite Brethren evenly among five regions in territories near the front line at a cost of $25,000.
“The request for wood-burning stoves comes to me directly from the Association of MB Churches in Ukraine,” Wiebe says. “The stoves will provide heat for warmth and cooking for MB families as they minister to those who are struggling to survive the cold winter months. Mennonites in the United States rallied together 100 years ago to provide food to alleviate hunger among our brothers and sisters in what was then southern Russia (present-day Ukraine). We are challenged to meet the need again.”
Each stove is simple but sturdy and designed to heat one room and serve as a cook top. It costs $250 to manufacture, deliver and install one wood-burning stove with a two-week supply of firewood. Mission Eurasia and its partners will install the stoves and provide iCare food packages and Scripture to bring heat and hope to people.
“As winter cold moves in, countless thousands of families and individuals hunker down in what remains of their cities and towns,” says Mission Eurasia president Sergey Rakhuba in an emergency proposal. “They have no heat, little access to food, medical care—or hope.”
To give, visit the MB Foundation website. Donations MB Foundation receives above $25,000 will go to the general Ukraine MB Church Relief Fund, started by MB Foundation to provide food and medical supplies.
MB Foundation is the stewardship ministry serving U.S. Mennonite Brethren.
Donations to Multiply for its work in Ukraine will aid in the distribution of 3,500 30-pound bags of food, 20 generators and 50 stoves by the end of December.
Johann Matthies is coordinating Multiply’s Ukraine crisis response in conjunction with Multiply workers, MB church leaders in the region and a partnership with European Mennonite Relief Organizations.
“The need is so great,” Matthies says. “The city of Kharkiv alone has lost the residences for over 150,000 of its inhabitants. One stove heats one household. All missions in Ukraine combined cannot compensate for the need in just one of the many cities attacked.”
Multiply would like to build and distribute another 150 stoves by the end of January. View a video of this project here.
To give, visit https://multiply.net/ukraine-in-crisis and select the Ukraine Ministry Project. In addition to funding food, generators and stoves, donations will support relief efforts and MB church ministries in Ukraine.
Multiply is the denominational mission to provide emergency relief and holistic ministries in Ukraine. Multiply partners with MB churches in Ukraine and works with national staff and volunteers in pioneer mission efforts, working where no MB churches are yet established.
Mennonite Central Committee is an inter-Mennonite agency supported by Mennonite Brethren that is providing humanitarian aid in regions across Ukraine. Renewed bombing in October prompted some MCC partners to temporarily suspend parts of their emergency response while others found ways to adapt their programs. To support MCC’s response in Ukraine, give here: https://mcc.org/stories/crisis-ukraine.
MCC staff from North America are currently in western Ukraine and will be visiting with ministry partners involved with relief work, including Ukrainian Mennonite Brethren serving at the Reimer Center in Zaporizhzhia. The agency anticipates providing first-person updates when their staff return.
Connie Faber joined the magazine staff in 1994 and assumed the duties of editor in 2004. She has won awards from the Evangelical Press Association for her writing and editing. Faber is the co-author of Family Matters: Discovering the Mennonite Brethren. She and her husband, David, have two daughters, one son, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and two grandchildren. They are members of Ebenfeld MB Church in Hillsboro, Kansas.