Calvary Church San Diego of Chula Vista, California has taken the initiative to assist Ukrainians seeking refuge in the United States through the Mexican border.
According to The Christian Post, Calvary Church San Diego only provided medicines and aided in rescue efforts for Ukrainians at the onset. The church's website specified that they purchased insulin, cancer medications, and other medicines needed, which they transported over the last few months to Europe where Ukrainians have taken refuge.
But the church began several weeks ago to provide shelters to refugees entering the country through Tijuana, Mexico. Calvary Church San Diego Pastor Phil Metzger said in an interview with The Christian Post that their initiatives were borne from having 25 Calvary churches in Ukraine.
A California Church's Answered Prayer
Metzger narrated that they began helping Ukrainians cross the border after a longtime friend of his sent him a message about it. His friend, who is a missionary and a pastor in a Sacramento-based church, knew Calvary was near the border and asked if he was interested to help Ukrainians in Mexico. Metzger felt the timeliness of the offer because of their initiatives for Ukraine.
"We were already praying; we were already involved. When we heard about the opportunity at the border, it was just natural; this is what we need to do. This is the right thing for us to be a part of right now," Metzger said.
After his friend messaged him, the pastor traveled to the border with his staff. There, they encountered Ukrainians who they offered overnight shelter to. A total of 100 Ukrainians responded to their invitation that night. Since then, the number of refugees kept increasing. CBS8 reported that there are 200 to 400 families assisted by the church daily.
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Metzger then had to team up with other individuals in transporting Ukrainians within the first few days of his new endeavor. The team-up involved a group bringing the refugees to the border from the airport. Calvary would pick them up at the border and transport them to their respective shelter.
Besides having a system of transportation, Metzger also created "People Center," which is a numbering system that keeps track of the influx of refugees they have assisted through the border. The tracking system includes an application that refugees need to fill up whenever they and their children check in at Calvary. This allowed the pastor to have a digital queue where refugees with medical emergencies are prioritized.
A Welcoming California Church
The refugees are currently housed in the church and the homes of 100 congregants. The pastor said that it was not hard for him to find shelter among his congregants, who eagerly took in the refugees.
"People were inspired, honestly. They just saw the immensity of the need and jumped into it," Metzger revealed.
Calvary Church members were so welcoming, that some congregants even took in several refugees. One couple, Meredith and Joe, has already taken in multiple families in their home for temporary shelter. Meredith told CBS8 that what she is doing comes from being a mother herself, enabling her to empathize with the refugees they help. Meredith stressed that what they are doing for the Ukrainians is humbling because it is more of a privilege than anything.