Some personal thoughts on the first few weeks of responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis that has resulted. By Viorel Iuga, General Secretary of the Romanian Evangelical Alliance and President of the Romanian Baptist Union
We do what we want. Most people have a big heart, they get involved in helping others, but there are some careless people too. Those who want to get involved find solutions and those who do not want to help find excuses.
Evil does not sleep. Most people appreciate the sacrifice, but there are also some profiteers. To help the many, it is not worth stumbling upon the lack of seriousness of the few.
The Church is essential. The heart of the relief work is and remains in the local churches. They get organized, get involved and work hard and well. They need to be contacted, encouraged, helped and appreciated.
Previous collaboration helps a lot. We saw that individuals, families, churches and organizations came together and did a great work. Most already had good connections. Let’s collaborate with as many people as possible in good times so that we have someone to collaborate with in difficult times.
Trouble opens up new partnerships. During this period, people and organizations that had not done it before met, twinned, and worked. In these times, possible impediments were not considered, but collaborated for the common cause.
Leadership is vital. A church that has a leadership that cares, mobilizes many and the work they do has only to gain.
Coordination is difficult. I have found that many people are ready to get involved, but few have the patience and wisdom to mobilize and coordinate. Let’s invest in training people who have the gift of mobilization, coordination, and long-term passion.
Win specific projects. Palpable projects, even very simple ones, are supported much better and faster than glorious theoretical ideas. Let us be practical!
God rewards. All the people who get involved experience big joy and some of them have seen divine miracles. The joy of helping others is one of the greatest rewards. Let’s get involved and convince others to do the same.
Motivation matters. Anonymity does not guarantee humility and public appearances do not show pride. Let us act in truth and with love!
Urgency can bring mistakes. Seeing the suffering, many Christians, including the pastors, have mobilized with priority for material help, but fewer have put as much emphasis on spiritual help. In some cases, “table service” put the preaching of the Gospel in second place. Let us pursue faithfulness. Let us be faithful to what has been entrusted to us. I am glad that in some cases the situation changed and the pastors invest their time in helping others especially with the Good News.
Naivety persists. There are people and organizations that understand almost nothing about the current situation. The sums they offer and the claims they have lead many needed people to refuse their money. Some continue to believe that, with a small donation, they can do exaggeratedly large jobs. Others cannot imagine the conditions of war or the fact that things can change overnight. They want to know exactly how the people will proceed, what they we buy, when they will go etc. If in a normal situation these demands can be met, in time of war the needs change from day to day and those involved seek to help where it is most needed.