“I am deeply saddened by the war and grieved by the pain and loss it is causing,” says Multiply’s interim general director Vic Wiens. “And yet I am also confident that God is present in the midst of the chaos, and we will see him intervene in ways that bring healing and hope to Ukraine and beyond.”
Multiply partners with a vibrant network of Mennonite Brethren churches in Ukraine. Even before the war, there was a close relationship with leaders Maxym and Anya Oliferovski, who oversee Multiply’s work in Ukraine, and with Johann Matthies, the regional team leader for Europe and Central Asia.
However, throughout this most recent crisis, there has been more communication than ever, and more mobilization in regard to praying, giving and even going, with workers and churches from all over Europe being organized to help bring aid to refugees who are fleeing Ukraine into neighboring countries.
When Maxym was asked early on how Multiply could help, he was quick to reply: “Most of all, we need prayer support, that God would intervene and stop this war. We already see miracles happening. There was a children’s shelter that was bombed, but somehow all of the children were on one side of the building, and the missile hit the other side, and no one was hurt. We count these as miracles, and we ask you to pray for even more.”
Maxym and Anya have chosen to stay in Ukraine, moving to a rural location outside of their home in Zaporizhzhya. At least for the time being, they continue to oversee efforts to help people in practical ways within the country.
As the directors of New Hope Center, they have been involved for years with caring for youth at risk and families in crisis. Their offices have now been overhauled to serve as a haven for those same families, and more besides. The couple is separated from their daughter, Katya, who is currently in Dortmund, Germany, hoping to be reunited with her parents again soon.
Maxym reports that many of the MB church leaders have chosen to stay in Ukraine, though their wives and children have fled to Germany. Some church leaders have been forced from their communities because of the bombing but have fled to other parts of Ukraine where they work to provide others with food, shelter, comfort and hope.
As regional team leader, Matthies has been working tirelessly from his home base in Detmold, Germany, to stay in touch with those who remain in Ukraine and support their efforts among the most vulnerable.
Matthies is also coordinating a multifaceted charge to mobilize workers, aid and transportation to the borders of Ukraine where refugees are being met and served. MB churches in countries like Germany, Austria and Lithuania are sending practical help.
When vans arrive near the border, they are unloaded of aid and re-loaded with refugees, many of which have been transported to other countries and welcomed into homes and churches.
Some of the aid arriving at the borders is also finding its way into Ukraine to help those who cannot leave or choose not to. Every effort to provide help comes with a desire to give hope in the name of Jesus.
According to Matthies, the international response has been critical: “It’s so good to know that we have a global family that cares, a family that will find every possible way of coming alongside those who suffer, and to help them. Our faith is being tested. During these days, we are being invited to suffer with Ukraine.”
Donations to Multiply have been used in relief efforts both within Ukraine and in surrounding countries. In Ukraine, financial assistance has not only been allocated to purchase food and supplies but also to fund workers.
For example, to address the increased need for oversight of collaborative efforts, Multiply Ukraine and the Association of MB Churches in Ukraine are now supporting two of the MB church planters to work full-time within Ukraine.
In surrounding countries, finances have been used in refugee relief to acquire urgent supplies and food, to purchase vans to transport aid and refugees, to buy Gospel literature and to strengthen and support existing churches and ministries in their local efforts.
All donations received by Multiply for Ukraine are being monitored and dispersed through Maxym Oliferovski in Ukraine and through Johann Matthies in Europe.
To support of Multiply’s relief efforts in Ukraine, please donate to “Ukraine Ministry Project.” In addition to urgent needs in the war zones, this project continues to support MB churches in Ukraine with ongoing discipleship and church-planting, as well as with practical ministries like the New Hope Center that serve youth at risk and families in crisis.
To read regular updates on Multipy’s response to the war in Ukraine, visit the Multiply website: https://multiply.net/ukraine-in-crisis
Multiply is the global mission agency for North American Mennonite Brethren. The agency’s vision is church planting locally, nationally and globally.