Alabama DR’s airlift kitchen headed to Hungary to help with refugee efforts
By The Alabama Baptist Staff
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (BP) – Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief’s airlift kitchen will be a valuable resource for Ukrainian refugee efforts taking place in Hungary, said Mark Wakefield, DR strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.
The kitchen was packed up in Prattville and shipped out by truck to a holding facility in Birmingham Friday morning (April 1) and will be flown to Hungary with other aid resources soon.
ALSBOM executive director Rick Lance broke the news via Twitter: “Our Alabama Baptist airlift kitchen is on the way to help refugees who have come to Hungary. Pray for those offering a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name.”
Wakefield said the kitchen will be used by volunteers serving with North Carolina Baptist Men and Hungarian Baptists.
“We are excited to be able to see it deployed,” he said. “Providing the kitchen is part of the broad-based strategy of our DR partnering with IMB to help take care of refugees.”
Six Alabama Baptists also plan to travel to Romania in late April to serve alongside churches assisting Ukrainian refugees there.
While the kitchen is more than 25 years old, this will be its first use, Wakefield said, noting it has been offered during previous international disasters and it is the second of its kind in Alabama.
The first airlift kitchen was constructed by Cliff McMahan, then state airlift kitchen coordinator, in 1995. After Alabama Baptist teams used it to serve thousands of meals to survivors of the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, they donated the kitchen for Armenian Baptists to use.
Between that disaster and the current model’s construction, the International Mission Board gave a similar kitchen to Alabama Baptists, but it was left in Indonesia following tsunami relief work in 2006, according to a previous news report by The Alabama Baptist.
For more information about Alabama Baptist DR or to give to the efforts in Ukraine, visit alsbom.org/ukraine.
Kentucky Disaster Relief will be deploying teams to Poland
By Mark Maynard/Kentucky Today
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief will be deploying teams to Poland for the next several months to help with the Ukrainian refugee crisis.
Roughly 10 million Ukrainians have left their homes in the past month. That’s about one-fourth of the country’s population. According to the United Nations, it’s the largest displacement of Europeans since World War II.
Kentucky Disaster Relief Director Ron Crow said volunteers have been inquiring about how to help.
“We’ve had a number of people across the state asking if the KBC is going to be involved with the refugee ministry,” he said. “We got the call with Send Relief and will be working through our national partners.”
Kentucky will be partnering with Disaster Relief personnel from Ohio, Mississippi and Louisiana, he said. “Each of us will rotate weeks for the next six months. They will be small teams because housing is limited.”
Crow said volunteers need to be flexible and willing to adjust on the fly depending on the need. “It may be that we run some errands,” he said. “Whatever the church needs us to do.”
Of course, sharing the Gospel will be a premium need and the refugees are hungry to learn more about Jesus, Crow said. “Opportunities to share the Gospel are in abundance.”
Fewer than 1 percent of Ukrainians are evangelical Christians, according to Send Relief. IMB missionaries are cultivating gospel access through innovative digital strategies. As of today, more than 5.77 million people have access to the Gospel at their fingertips. Through project “Hope for Ukraine,” designated digital responders offer prayer, determine what physical help can be provided, and share the Gospel through the one tool we all have in common – mobile devices.
Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief is being asked to deploy teams to Gdańsk, Poland, and is beginning the process of building several small teams, Crow said. As with any disaster relief deployment, teams could be redirected or asked to stand down at any time.
Team members must be willing to serve in a variety of capacities that could include: custodial, cooking, cleaning, childcare, ministering, transporting or any other duties as requested. Team members must be flexible since they are supporting the local church in Poland and their needs.
In order to participate, volunteers must:
- Be a member of a Kentucky Baptist church affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
- Have a current passport.
- Be fully vaccinated with a COVID vaccine card. Fully vaccinated means having the initial one dose Johnson & Johnson, or two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. You do not have to have the booster.
- Be physically able to walk long distances and be on your feet much of the time.
Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief team to deploy to Poland to assist Ukrainian refugees
By Roger Alford/The Christian Index
DULUTH, Ga. (BP) – A team of Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers is being deployed to Poland to help care for the millions of refugees streaming out of Ukraine.
Ricky Thrasher, interim director of Disaster Relief, said the eight-member team will spend eight days helping Polish churches minister to the displaced Ukrainians, largely women and children, who fled their home country to find safety outside the war zone.
The number of Ukrainians fleeing the country is growing every day, according to the United Nations. Most of the refugees have gone to Poland. Millions of others have been displaced within Ukraine.
Thrasher said the Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are eager to get into place to help in the humanitarian crisis.
“They’re like the Marines of the Baptist world, always ready to go wherever they’re needed and to do what needs to be done,” he said.
Thrasher said the volunteers will have a wide array of duties, including cooking, cleaning, helping to conduct health screenings, providing childcare and distributing goods.
Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are most often deployed within the U.S., having ministered over the past year to victims of tornadoes in their home state, a major hurricane in Louisiana, and wildfires that destroyed homes in Colorado.
Georgia has about 7,000 trained disaster relief volunteers who serve in chainsaw brigades to clear fallen trees from homes and property after tornadoes and hurricanes, who man mobile kitchens in disaster areas, who spend long days shoveling mud and carrying soggy furnishing from flooded homes, who set up mobile showers and laundromats for survivors and volunteers in hard-hit areas.
In Poland, the team being led by long-time Disaster Relief volunteer Bob Sprinkel will help see to basic needs of refugees, helping to arrange food and shelter.
“My heart is in it,” Sprinkel said. “It’s what I desire to do. It’s why I’m part of Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief, to serve Christ in crisis. I feel so honored to be able to go there, to help the people. I wish there was more we could do.”
That’s true for every Disaster Relief worker, Sprinkel said.
“I would describe them as the best of the best,” he said. “They are super people. They are very well trained, disciplined, and they love Christ without question. I’ve served with each one of them many times before, and they’re very hard workers.”
The Georgia Baptists will be deployed from May 8 through May 16, serving multiple sites in Poland.