Faith-Based Ministry ‘Joni And Friends’ Help People With Disabilities Left In Ukraine

Ukrainian Refugee

Despite risk and danger, Joni and Friends Ministry chose to remain in Ukraine to rescue people with disabilities in Eastern Ukraine this Friday.

According to CBN News, there are approximately 2.7 million disabled persons living in Ukraine. These people were exposed to certain risks and trauma due to war but would receive very little help. This was the reason why Joni and Friends Ministry had been planning to rescue these individuals and their caregivers.

"We are still alive. God continues our lives, and that means we can do something for people who need help," said Galyna, a Joni and Friends in-country coordinator in Ukraine.

Together with her team and network of Churches, Galyna worked hard to help reach out to Ukrainians with disabilities, she told Joni and Friends. The team started rescuing 39 people, sending them to Poland. Now, the ministry based in Ukraine had helped nearly 250 people to reach Poland. 

She cited one story of her first rescue missions. "When we came to the border...I looked at the line of people who were crossing on foot, and I saw a familiar face. It turned out that this woman was the mother of a boy with cerebral palsy, and he was in a wheelchair."

"She came to me and gave me a hug," Galyna continued, "and we managed to help her! At first, I wasn't sure that there would be a place in the vans. But when the people from Germany came, they agreed."

As said in the report, the group of Galyna waited for 11 hours to let 42 people cross safely into Poland.

"Praise God," she said at that time. "That is the greatest blessing! They are there. They are safe."

This upcoming caravan will rescue people with disabilities from Chernegiv, Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Brovary, and Korosten and will include 7 wheelchair users. As they cross the border, the caravan will meet the team of Joni and Friends in Poland.

According to the team, the refugees would be given a hot meal and a hotel room until arrangements were approved for them to travel to Germany or the Netherlands.

Joni and Friends Ministry planned to provide shelter, hygiene products, medical attention, clothing, food, and counseling for psychological trauma to individuals next year.

"We have war, we have so many people killed. But we are so grateful that through this situation the Word of God is being shared even more, and the power of Christ is being revealed," Galyna said. 

As for the ministry, they were encouraged that despite the tragedy, people were drawing themselves to God. They also asked for prayers and resources as Russian troops continues to destroy hospitals, schools, churches, and blocks of apartments.

To mark the month-long invasion in Ukraine, the ministry posted on Facebook, "They are shooting at innocent civilians and do not let humanitarian aid reach people in many cities of Ukraine. Please pray that the Lord helps our partners to wake each morning ready to do his will. Pray that he will protect them from shelling and bombing as they work."