A pastor from Columbus has left the U.S. for his second mission trip to war-stricken Ukraine this year.
A 76-year-old pastor from Georgia's Weems Road Free Will Baptist Church has flown to Ukraine for the second time this year amid the Russian invasion that began in February to help refugees and displaced victims of the war. Upon seeing the devastating news reports coming from Ukraine in March, the pastor asked God how he could help the children and families impacted by the Russian invasion.
Following his first two-week trip in April, Pastor Mike Randall said he was working to raise $100,000 to purchase medical supplies and vans to aid in evacuating refugees out of Ukraine faster, WTVM 9 ABC reported. His wife, Salina Randall said that while they were not able to meet the $100,000 goal, the Georgia pastor was still determined to do God's work. Through their nonprofit called "Hear the Cries of Children," which the Randalls formed after they got married, the couple have raised $8,095 for the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Pastor's Wife Shares Her Husband's Determination to Help Ukraine Refugees
Salina said that her husband is due to come home on July 7, but that if she doesn't' "hear from him," she told her husband that she would see him "in heaven." According to her, the pastor saw the news on his birthday on March 2 and decided to travel to Ukraine to carry out a humanitarian mission amid the Ukraine invasion, WRDW reported.
"I said, praise God. He has a big heart for children. Anywhere in the world, he would go for them," Salina, who has been married to Randall for 16 years, said at the time. The 76-year-old pastor then flew to the Ukrainian border in Poland to assist in aiding refugee families who left behind loved ones to defend the country against the Russian invasion.
Pastor Randall said that he believed it was the right thing to do and was not afraid for his safety, as he was doing God's work. The Georgia pastor, who was formerly a marine vet said, "I'm not out here as a hero. I'm just out here to do what's the right thing to do."
Russia Continues Its Assault on Ukraine as Refugee Crisis Worsens
On the 106th day of the Russian invasion, President Vladimir Putin's armed forces continued its assault on Mariupol, where mayoral aid Petro Andryushchenko said Ukrainian authorities found 50 to 100 bodies in two of five buildings they searched, Al Jazeera reported. He called it an "endless caravan of death."
Meanwhile, the Ukraine refugee crisis continues, with almost seven million Ukrainians having fled the country. Most of them have sought refuge in the European Union, the Washington Post reported. A "temporary protection directive," which is an emergency power that had not been invoked since its inception 20 years ago, now provides Ukrainian refugees the right to work and access health care, education, and housing with the EU, but has raised issues on racism and discrimination.