22 March, 2022

In the last few weeks we have been supporting Ukrainian church leader, Pastor Pavlo and his church in the L’viv region. Since the start of the war, like so many, they have turned their church into a hostel and have been caring for 50-60 refugees per night. Many people from the church are also hosting refugees in their own homes. After staying 1-2 nights Pavlo and his team are then co-ordinating transport for people to get over the border into Poland.
Pavlo told us,

‘As I coordinate these efforts, even though it’s often very stressful and very sad to see the devastation that enemy makes to our country and people, I also rejoice seeing God’s Kingdom at work – seeing how church can truly be Jesus’ hands and feet, how each member of the body does his small thing, that together make a beautiful picture of Love overcoming death and fear! And that includes all of you – who are supporting us spiritually with your prayers – and God gives us strength and energy to serve; and supporting and resourcing us financially, providing all necessary things and allowing us to focus on people and meeting them in their grief and meeting their daily needs for food and shelter. So thank you so much for doing your part and it’s a privilege for our church to partner with you in that.’

If you’d like to support Pastor Pavlo, his church, and many others across Ukraine, you can make a donation to our Ukraine Response Fund

16 March, 2022

Churches in Ukraine are serving with distinction in the face of trauma, chaos and exhaustion. We are seeing extraordinary acts of servant leadership. One church in Kyiv recently drove minibuses to rescue 86 people from nearby Chernihiv, coming under fire as they did so. No one was injured, and all were rescued. This particular church has now safely transported 500 people from Chernihiv to the Polish border.

Over the weekend, five men from churches in Mariupol, attempting to take supplies to the vulnerable, came under fire. All were killed. We grieve bitterly with their families. And we are challenged by their courage. Their willingness to lay down their lives in the service of others points others to Jesus, the servant King.

The good news of this King continues to ring out across Ukraine, even now. Three people turned to Jesus over the weekend in a small rural church outside L’viv, where one of our team is now staying. The hope of Jesus is changing communities in Ukraine.

14 March, 2022

This weekend we heard from one of the pastors that we have been financially supporting in Kyiv, Pastor Dymytro. He told us that they were able to meet to worship together, despite the sound of bombs and cannons all around them. They welcomed visitors into their church and have been getting supplies for the elderly and vulnerable in their neighbourhood. Christian ministry in a war zone looks so very different from normal life, as Pastor Dymytro shared, ‘one of the ministry we are doing is staying in a long line to help supply those who need medicine. Right now the pharmacies don’t have variety of needed medicine and have long lines. Thank you for your prayers, love and support.’

11 March, 2022

Innovista is supporting the people in the bombed-out city of Kharkiv. Innovista Ukraine National Director, Tolik, who lives in L’viv is co-ordinating a convoy of vehicles which travel to Kharkiv every few nights. This is at least a 12 hour drive and the drivers are risking their lives to get food, fuel and other supplies to those who have not been able to leave the city. Please pray for the safety and protection of these brave drivers, for an unlimited supply of fuel and that these supplies would sustain those people trapped in Kharkiv.

10 March, 2022

8 March, 2022

In Moldova, refugees continue to arrive in large and growing numbers at the Ukraine/Moldova border. Innovista Moldova National Director, Maricela is working flat out to coordinate receiving refugees at an area in the North. One current challenge is reducing the length of time that women and children are spending waiting at the border in the freezing cold before they can move to a ‘first stop’, where they can get food, heat and sleep.

Maricela’s aim is to see the churches and Christian organisations working together across the country, so that resources are put in the best places, providing the most help – immediately and in the weeks to come.

Please pray for fruitful meetings and humility for all, so that the maximum help can be given to the most people.

4 March, 2022

It is becoming more dangerous for people to leave Kyiv and the east of Ukraine; meanwhile essential supplies are running out there. The risk of starvation is increasing. Churches in the west continue to gather supplies and drive them as close as possible to the conflict areas.

Churches in L’viv are awaiting arrival of a group orphans who have been evacuated from an orphanage in Kyiv and are heading west. An Innovista grant has been used to buy blankets and bedding for them.

In Moldova, Innovista is co-ordinating a church-led response and trying to link that with government efforts. Maricela told us that ‘it’s chaos at customs’ as thousands try and cross the border.

3 March, 2022

Church teams in the L’viv area are responding to the devastation being wrought across cities in the east today by loading trains heading with bread, water and other essentials. Churches continue to open their doors to refugees, providing shelter and food. Our appeal total currently stands at an incredible £112,000, and we are so grateful for every gift given. Church pastors have received funds today to purchase the essentials required to serve those fleeing and seeking refuge in their churches. Thank you!

2 March, 2022

Churches in the west continue to receive refugees. Supplies of food, water and medicines are stabilising. Supplies further east are much more patchy. One church in L’viv is coordinating lorries driving supplies into the east, and bringing back refugees. Many refugees want to continue to the Polish border rather than staying in L’viv, fearing that the brutality and destruction they have seen in the east will start to move westwards.

Innovista is sending grants directly to church leaders who are part of our long-term network, so that they can buy supplies as and when they become available. Today we are working out how to get money to church leaders in the conflict zone through connections we have in Kyiv. We are also supporting churches in Moldova, as Maricela (National Director) helps to coordinate the relief effort of many churches in Chisinau, and at the border.

We have, so far, received donations to our Ukraine Response fund of £97,000: thank you for standing alongside churches in Ukraine as they serve during this fast-moving situation.

1 March, 2022

Many Ukrainians have crossed the border into Moldova, where Innovista has worked for years. One large church in Chișinău has become a hub for Ukrainian refugees. The church has hired a large campsite to accommodate as many people as possible, with many families taking refugees into their own homes. This is costly: Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and ordinary families are not in a position to sustain this. Innovista is sending funds from our Ukraine Response fund to support this church in purchasing essential items. Our team in Moldova, led by National Director Maricela, have suspended their usual ministry in order to fully support the relief effort of the churches.

26 February, 2022

We’ve heard today that ‘the churches in the city are taking many, many small steps to help as they’re able – hosting refugees (one family in Tolik’s church has taken four families in) getting supplies – food, water, clothes etc, and providing a welcome. There is a shortage of food and fuel, the supermarket shelves are almost empty’.

25 February, 2022

We have received news this morning from our colleagues in Kyiv, who are currently safe – Ira and Alex have been able to remain in their homes while Valeriy has left Kyiv with his family to seek refuge elsewhere. There is the sound of explosions from their homes and many spent the night in underground stations.

Over 50 team and supporters met on zoom last night for a moving and sombre time of prayer, with Tolik and Slavic joining us. They and their teams are encouraged and so grateful for the support, both prayerful and financial of all Innovista supporters. Thank you for continuing to stand alongside them. So far, we have raised £40,000 – thank you so much for the outpouring of generosity we have received for our teams on the ground.

Today, please pray for;

Safety of our staff and teams in Kyiv and across the country

Protection for Tolik with the likelihood of him being conscripted

Provision for churches and teams in both the conflict zone and across Ukraine

Protection for Slavic as a Ukrainian living in Russia

24 February, 2022

As news breaks this morning of Russian tanks rolling into Ukraine, Innovista is on the ground, working through a network of churches and church leaders to help their communities. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our supporters, we have been able to send money for supplies, we’re supporting church leaders as they deal with this crisis, and we’re praying. We will continue to share news and updates here and on facebook

How Innovista is Responding in Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine continues to be precarious and frightening. We are keeping in close contact with our colleagues in Ukraine, who continue to serve Jesus bravely amidst the rising tension.

23 February, 2022

On Monday, we shared an urgent message from Tolik, our National Director in Ukraine. Churches needed to stockpile bottled water, non-perishable food, generators and fuel. We had taken the extraordinary decision to send $10,000 USD to enable this.

We invited you to help. And we have been astonished by the speed and generosity of your response. Within 24 hours, you had more than met this need. On behalf of the Ukrainian church, thank you. Thank you for caring, and for giving, and for standing with our brothers and sisters in this hour of need. Olya, a friend and former colleague in Kyiv, said yesterday, “Thank you for care of our country. We feel your support.”

Our emergency Ukraine Response fund is set up to support our team and local churches to be beacons of hope in the coming weeks. Gifts we received in excess of the $10,000 USD, and gifts we continue to receive, form the beginning of this fund. If you haven’t yet given and would like to, give here. Our local staff will guide the best use of these resources as the situation develops.

22 February, 2022

Innovista’s Ukraine Response

To make a gift to support our response in Ukraine click here.

The situation in Ukraine continues to be precarious and frightening. You will no doubt have heard that President Putin has sent “peacekeeping” troops into two regions of the country.

We are keeping in close contact with our colleagues in Ukraine, who continue to serve Jesus bravely amidst the rising tension.

Jason, our International Director, spoke to Tolik our National Director in Ukraine, yesterday morning . He said that there are churches within the conflict zone that are committed to staying and serving ‘come what may’.

Meanwhile there are other churches, in the west of Ukraine, that are preparing to open their doors to an influx of displaced people, as they flee the conflict in the east. Tolik himself has already agreed to host three families in his own home, should they require refuge.

I have asked Tolik what he and the Church needed. He asked for bottled water, non-perishable food, generators and fuel to support their communities during this period of conflict and uncertainty. The time for them to gather these supplies is right now, while they still can.

We have therefore taken the extraordinary decision to send $10,000 USD to Ukraine today for our team to start to gather these supplies. This is beyond our budgeted expenditure for the year, but we are convinced that we must stand with our brothers and sisters to meet this need.

We are also keen to equip you, so that you can pray into this complex and grievous situation, and will share resources over the coming days. Keep your eye on our website for more details.

As the situation evolves in the coming weeks we will be considering how else we can best help including direct staff support, care packages, supporting churches who are responding and coaching church leaders as their communities are impacted by this war.

Innovista has been working in Ukraine since 2003, led by Anatoliy Sapsay, the National Director. We have four members of staff in Ukraine and in 2021, trained 240 leaders. This includes leaders like Dmytro.

To make a gift to support our response in Ukraine click here.