More than two weeks have now passed since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The atrocities we daily witness from afar are horrific and shocking. Along with many other individuals and ministries around the world, BBI is working around the clock to serve from our own place and setting. Many of you have generously given to this effort, above and beyond your normal commitments. For this, I want to say THANK YOU and share some of the fruits of your giving.

First, let me introduce you to the precious refugee family now living at our office in Riga.

Slavic, his wife, Liuba, and their daughter arrived on Wednesday evening. Almers and his wife spent the week arranging the office to be comfortable for their stay. Slavic is a Ukrainian pastor who was serving in Russia when the war broke out. They have two sons who are still in Ukraine and cannot leave. Please be in prayer for these young men.

Slavic, his wife Liuba, and their daughter Liuba enjoyed a time of food and fellowship with Almers before heading to the camp

It’s important to note that, because men ages 18-60 cannot leave Ukraine, that leaves a huge refugee population without Ukrainian pastors. The pastors cannot leave! Therefore, having Slavic with us in Riga to minister to the Ukrainian refugee population entering Latvia is a tremendous blessing. He and Almers will be working closely to respond to needs in the coming weeks. In fact, this ministry began just hours after their arrival!

On Wednesday night, a bus filled with refugees (the majority of whom were children) arrived at Eagle’s Wings Camp for an overnight stay to rest and recuperate en route to Finland.

This project was initiated by a Finnish couple named Heide and Margo. They were sitting at home watching the horrors unfold on television and asked themselves what they might do to help. Margo is a bus driver who had planned a weeklong vacation. His company agreed to allow him to use their bus to transport aid and refugees. Heide then contacted a Baptist church in Poland, which connected them with the Latvian Baptist Union, which then connected them with Eagle’s Wings Camp. This is the beauty of partnerships.

Heide and Margo asked themselves: "What can we do to help?"

Eagle’s Wings’ executive director, Diks Bortnikovs, and the Riga office staff, Almers and Vineta, worked together to purchase bedding, food, and other supplies for the refugees’ impending arrival. Thirty-eight arrived in total; almost every adult had between 1 and 4 children with them. The youngest was a 7-month-old baby, held by her very young, very distraught mother. They were exhausted and discouraged.

In the meantime, Dan Roth had traveled to Riga to bring Slavic and Liuba to the camp to minister to the refugees upon their arrival. When the chaos settled, bellies were filled, and the children were put to bed, Slavic and Liuba entered into more serious, quiet counseling and prayer with each of the refugees. In their native language, he was able to give a short Gospel message, encouraging them that the Lord is in control and present with them amid their pain. Of these Ukrainians who fled the terrors of their homeland, only one family is Christian. Let us pray that the words of Truth they heard on Wednesday night will resound and take hold in each of their hearts.

The youngest refugee to arrive at camp was 7 months old. All of the children were thrilled to have a safe place to play and burn energy!

The next morning, our visitors awoke refreshed and a bit more encouraged.

Stories were shared. One woman spoke of bombs dropping around them as they fled in their car. Another shared about the destroyed bridges that impeded their escape. An 85-year-old woman said that she had traveled alone for three days to make it to the border. Immediately after crossing into Poland, she boarded the bus that brought her to the camp.

Later that day, our new Ukrainian friends boarded the bus once again to make the last leg of their traumatic journey to safety. They left with parting words of gratitude and relief. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve and will be opening the camp to more refugees soon. This horrific crisis has only just begun. Please continue praying for Ukraine, for those who have fled, and for those who have stayed behind to fight for their nation.