Brody Spatholt is a small kid with a big heart. He recently celebrated his fifth birthday, and in lieu of birthday presents, asked his friends and family to bring loose change to his birthday party to help fill a big jug.
Brody’s grandparents, Edinboro residents Jim and Linda Rummel, told Brody about the aid that McLane Church is providing to Ukrainian refugees through its sister church in Chelm, Poland. Earlier this month, Brody’s family donated $555 to the McLane Church Ukraine Fund from the donations collected in “Brody’s Jug.”
Brody got a surprise when McLane Church sent him an invitation to meet Pastor Henryk Skrzypkowski at his recent visit to the United States. Skrzypkowski leads the church in Chelm that has been providing housing, clothing, food, and other necessities to Ukrainian refugees since the war began.
“Brody was speechless! I could tell that he really enjoyed the experience and was in awe of Pastor Henryk,” Brody’s mother, Lindsey Spatholt said. “We had such a wonderful visit, and I’m so glad we were able to meet Pastor Henryk and hear firsthand about the situation in Ukraine and all of the amazing support he and his church are providing to the refugees. We’re so grateful that McLane Church gave us this opportunity to help too. Brody now understands the impact of his gift and the people he is helping.”
McLane Church learned about the work of Baptyści Chełm, located just 15 miles inside the border of Ukraine and Poland, shortly after the war began through one of its members, Robert Blank. With contributions from congregants, community members, and friends, McLane has sent more than $60,000 to the small Polish Baptist church to aid its efforts with refugees.
Skrzypkowski addressed the McLane Church congregation last week to thank them for their support and to remind them that the war is ongoing and that refugees still need assistance. In his message, he mentioned Brody’s gift.
“You told me the story of a boy who collected some monies for his birthday party and gave it to the cause, and I would like to say thank you to him personally for doing this,” Skrzypkowski said. “We will tell other groups and other churches for generations to come. This unity has surfaced because of the hardships that we’re facing to assist these poor people. And that’s a unity that I never experienced. God is trying to get us ready for something even greater in the future.”
Robert Blank and Brian Kelly spoke to Pastor Henryk and Jonasz today. They are doing well–very tired–but okay.
This week they have only been hosting about 100 people each night, but they are expecting a surge of refugees this weekend, including the possibility of about 100 orphaned children who are making their way to the polish border.
They are very thankful for our partnership with them and said we were one of the first groups to reach out and help. They are very appreciative of and encouraged by our support.
So far our church has raised over $40,000 to help.
They have begun to send food into Ukraine to help people there. They said food in stores is in very short supply. They have been sending pallets of food with about 1,200 pounds of food on each pallet. They are sending the pallets to people they know in Ukraine for distribution.
A pallet costs about $800. Anyone who wants to buy a pallet can give a check to our church marked “Pallets for Ukraine” and we will forward this money to them.
Pastor Henryk and Jonasz asked us to pray specifically for the following five things:
1). An end to the war.
2). Protection of the Ukrainian people from Russian weapons.
3). Help and peace for the refugees.
4). That God would use the refugees to spread his word.
5). For the staff at the church at Chelm who are tired and some are ill.
Pastor Henryk said he recently visited a church in Ukraine where the pastor shared that there are three kinds of armies in the world:
1). Military armies.
2). Political armies.
3). Prayer armies.
The last group has the greatest power! Let’s be an army of prayer for our friends in Poland and Ukraine!
You have given $30,000 to date to help our sister church in Chelm, Poland. That money is buying clothes that somebody in Eastern Europe is wearing. It is buying food that somebody right now is eating. It is buying a place for someone to spend the night.
We just received this email update from Jonasz, Pastor Henryk’s son:
“We are working tirelessly to get everybody the help they need with the limited resources and volunteers we have here. At the moment we have 200 beds available to Ukrainian refugees that are filled every night. Last Sunday, for the first time ever, our service did not take place in our chapel because of our current situation. We had to move our church to the Chelm Community Center. During the service we had the opportunity to listen to our visiting volunteers from the US, Latvia and Ukraine. We were reminded of the story from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 14: the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus didn’t send the hungry people packing. Even though we might have the temptation to wash our hands of the responsibility, it is not what Christ teaches us.”
We are partnering with Baptyści Chełm, a church in Poland that, like many churches in that country, is struggling to help the flood of fleeing Ukrainian refugees. As a church, they are trying to provide everything from living space to food and clothing to cash so people can buy basic necessities. We can help them do this.
Robert Blank is a long-time member of McLane and native of Poland with close ties to this crisis.
Through this contact, we can help these dislocated individuals get the help they need to survive.
We have established a “Ukraine Fund” for this purpose. Just CLICK HERE to give. Checks can also be sent to the church office with Ukraine in the memo line.
Whether or not you are able to give, we can all pray for the people of Ukraine and ask God to help them. Prayer seems not only to move the hand of God, but just as importantly, it unites us in solidarity with those who are suffering.
Click here to read updates from Baptyści Chełm
As we gather for worship today, our hearts are broken by the tremendous human suffering happening at this moment in Eastern Europe.
We have watched in disbelief in recent days as atrocities have unfolded that we wanted to believe were relics of the past.
We’ve felt powerless to help.
The words of Psalm 2 come to mind. The author of this ancient poem asked:
1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together, against the LORD and against His Anointed One:
3 “Let us break Their chains and cast away Their cords.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord taunts them.
5 Then He rebukes them in His anger, and terrifies them in His fury:
6 “I have installed My King on Zion, upon My holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the decree spoken to Me by the LORD: “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.
8 Ask Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance, the ends of the earth Your possession.
9 You will break them with an iron scepter; You will shatter them like pottery.”
10 Therefore be wise, O kings; be admonished, O judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in your rebellion, when His wrath ignites in an instant. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.
In the midst of our disbelief over what is happening, we can do three things.
First, we can pray. We can pray for the people of Ukraine and ask God to help them. Prayer seems not only to move the hand of God, but just as importantly, it unites us in solidarity with those who are suffering.
Second, we can give. Details are being finalized as we speak, but we are reaching out to a church in Poland that, like many churches in that country, is struggling to help the flood of fleeing Ukrainian refugees. As a church, they are trying to provide everything from living space to food and clothing to cash so people can buy basic necessities. We can help them do this. Specific details will be emerging shortly on our website, but for now, if you would like to give toward this need, through our website or app select “Ukraine” from the dropdown list and make your donation. Checks can also be sent to the church office or dropped in our offering boxes with Ukraine in the memo line.
Third–and this must not be overlooked–we can act kindly. We can love as Jesus taught us to love. Because national acts of evil and aggression such as those we are witnessing start in the hearts of individuals. If we want to confront the evil we are witnessing, then we must act kindly toward the people around us. The way we treat the cashier at Wal-Mart has a cosmic effect on the world around us. Love of our neighbors is the way to change the world.
So, today, let us pray.
And then let us worship, mindful of a God who showed us the power of love.
Prayer for Ukraine
Holy and Gracious God, We pray for the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia; for their countries and their leaders.
We pray for all those who are afraid; that your everlasting arms hold them in this time of great fear.
We pray for those who are fleeing; that they would find security in you.
We pray for those who are hurt, wounded and suffering; that you would be their help.
We pray for all those who have the power over life and death; that they will choose for all people life, and life in all its fullness.
We pray for those who choose war; that they will remember that you direct your people to turn our swords into plough shares and seek for peace.
We pray for leaders on the world stage; that they are inspired by the wisdom and courage of Christ.
Above all, Lord, today we pray for peace for Ukraine and the end to its suffering.
And we ask this in the name of your blessed Son.
Lord have mercy.