Preparing for a River of Aid in Ukraine

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Calvary Chapel Ukrainian Relief: Preparing for a River of Aid

Story by Margot Bass
Photos courtesy of George Markey and Caleb Beller

God has provided a massive warehouse less than two hours from the border of Ukraine that pastors believe will serve to bring a flood of aid into Poland—where nearly half of the 3 million Ukrainian evacuees have fled for their lives since Russian troops invaded their country.

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A volunteer of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces helps a woman cross a debris-laden street in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 16. Both Russia and Ukraine projected optimism ahead of another scheduled round of talks Wednesday, even as Moscow’s forces rained fire on Kyiv and other major cities in a bid to crush the resistance that has frustrated Kremlin hopes for a lightning victory. Calvary Chapel pastors and believers are working hard to get aid to these hard-hit cities, having opened a pipeline for food, water, and medicine. They’ve secured a large warehouse in Krakow, Poland, to temporarily store the supplies before they go out. AP Photo/Andrew Marienko

The warehouse in Krakow, Poland, stood empty on Sunday, March 13. Yet Calvary Chapel pastors on the ground believe it will soon overflow with food, medicine, and other important resources to help Ukrainians under siege and heavy military attack. The Russo-Ukrainian War has devastated numerous Ukrainian cities and caused more than 3 million citizens to flee to neighboring countries. Many are still trying desperately to get out. Those still there often face deplorable conditions.

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A Calvary Chapel-led effort is gathering life-saving supplies for Ukraine’s beleaguered cities at this warehouse in Krakow. ”We have a ton of guys with vans, a church network, and a chaplain network that will distribute [the goods] throughout Ukraine,” said Jake Knotts, who is involved in organizing operations at the warehouse.

From a Hose to a River
In a live Facebook video on March 13, Pastor George Markey of Calvary Chapel Kyiv and Pastor Caleb Beller of CC Fullerton, CA, along with two other men, seemed small standing in the large, vacant warehouse. They were excited about the potential to get more aid to suffering Ukrainians. “These amazing doors that God has opened up are going to [enable us] to get in more aid, support, and resources. This pipeline [of assistance] already existed, but we’re trying to go from being a hose to a river.”

Less than two hours from the Ukrainian border, the warehouse is ideal for the ongoing Calvary relief effort. George has been spearheading a Calvary Chapel response from a command center in Hungary. His brothers David and Aaron are working with him in coordinating this ministry.

One of the men in the warehouse that day was Jake Knotts, who has helped established the base of operations in Krakow. “There are people starving, people in urgent need of supplies. This is the pipeline that is going to get it there,” said Jake, who formerly lived in Ukraine as he pastored a Calvary Chapel; he is married to a woman from Kyiv. He flew into Poland the day after Russian troops invaded Ukraine to help evacuees get settled.

                  

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“Well, that kind of evolved. We saw that there was a need to get aid into Ukraine,” Jake shared. Use of the warehouse was generously provided for free to the Calvary assistance pipeline. A local church is also assisting. “We realize that we can really collect large quantities of food and medicine and then channel it into Ukraine, where we have a ton of guys with vans, a church network, and a chaplain network that will distribute it throughout the whole country. So we’re really hoping just to have a collection point here to get it across the border.” Describing the size of the warehouse, Jake said, “They can fit three or four big rigs in, just turn them over and get them out, and have a lot of volume coming through.”

Caleb added, “We’re going to start working with [donors] on getting mass amounts of resources. We’re hoping some of the guys from the west are going to be dropping off supplies. Operationally, we’re hoping that within the next 24 hours, we’ll be having trucks unload from local (suppliers). We believe God’s given us this place for a reason. Our goal is to get it as filled as possible with resources.”

George declared, “Right now, I’m excited because we have an opportunity to do 10 times, 20 times more than we’ve been doing. I’m grateful. We have a lot of things to work out, so pray for us as we work out the logistics. I think we’re getting really close to doing something big.” While in this Polish city, George also attended important meetings to help solidify the pipeline effort.

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Orphaned children, who were rescued from danger in Ukraine, play at a safe location. One part of the Ukrainian CC-led effort, Operation Exodus, has been to evacuate thousands trapped in the war-torn country, including these young children.

The men know there is an urgency to act quickly. Addressing the CC family worldwide, Caleb explained, “We’re also going to make it really easy for those of you who want to give so that this place stays full for as long as possible. This is the front lines. (There was recently an air strike at a military base near the Polish border.) We don’t know how long we can operate at this capacity. But as quickly and effectively as we can do it, we want to do it with your help.”

Caleb shared, “On Monday, we were able to get 100+ orphans to safety.” A secure place has temporarily been found for them. “Please be in prayer for this convoy of kids.”

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? … See You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?’ … And the King will say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ”  Matthew 25:37-40

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These orphans joyfully enjoy security; they were among a group of 100 who were recently rescued from the war and are receiving loving care.

Operation Exodus
George and his team have set up headquarters in Hungary, where he coordinates the efforts to rescue people from Ukraine, called Operation Exodus, and provide supplies for those still there. Caleb said, “We’ve got this Calvary network. After George’s 30 years in Ukraine with all of his Ukrainian connections, we are now building a pipeline involving our military chaplains and aid groups. … We’re just seeing miracles take place. But there really are dire needs, and God is working on those things through [donors] and people on the ground. The Calvary network … is getting vehicles and resources into the hands of some of these guys in Ukraine that are right on the front lines serving in a really powerful way.”

Caleb exclaimed, “You can’t even imagine how big the network, this body of Christ, is …. Christian pastors, military chaplains who are connected throughout the front lines. It’s believers here in-country. What we’re trying to do is get them supplies and finances.” The network has been successful in early days. Supply chains are being set up and resources are coming in.

On Friday, March 11, Caleb reported, “We got our Operation Exodus transports [to rescue people] into Ukraine [the day before], which is an amazing miracle and answer to prayer. We’re getting our first extractions out … we couldn’t be more excited to see these buses getting full of people.” Evacuations will continue. “Thank you for all who are praying. The operation is now fully functioning, and people are getting into buses and to safe spots.

He continued, “One of the places into which we were getting vehicles was one of the places that was shelled recently. Not only are those vehicles getting into the right hands, but those vehicles are going to be used in places that are now hot zones as they’re trying to get to people—to Ukrainian military chaplains who have access to front lines.”

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The warehouse is large enough to accommodate up to four truck rigs delivering supplies. The goal is to get it as full as possible with resources.

Contacts and connections are growing, Caleb said. “We were on a call with one of the executives at Samaritan’s Purse, who’s interfacing with us. The needs are huge, but God is creating these inroads. … We’re able to cut red tape and do immediate things in immediate places.” Caleb added that meetings on Monday “opened up some significant doors for helping us get aid to the front lines. God has given us favor with government and aid agencies.”

George reflected, “God has blessed us with some really good contacts, but keep on praying. God is the best contact, and we want to see people get out.”

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Leaders in the Ukrainian supply pipeline project film a video announcing the acquisition of the warehouse. They are (left to right) a resident of Krakow; Jake Knotts; Pastor Caleb Beller of CC Fullerton, CA; and Pastor George Markey of CC Kyiv.

Translators Needed
In addition, another pressing need has arisen, according to George. “Ukrainians are pouring into these countries, over 3 million now, and that’s just huge.” He has heard from a leader in the Calvary Chapel movement in Poland that Ukrainian translators are needed, especially at crowded train stations.

He observed, “Whole trains are coming with 500 Ukrainians at a time, every day. We need those translators; pray for that. And we’re going to need funds; we need to have a center of Ukrainian volunteers that can, 24/7, keep track of these refugees coming over—getting them placed, translating for them, helping the local churches reach out to them, keeping abreast of all the information that can be helpful for them. Of course, there’s also the trauma they experience. That’s huge—it’s going to take years [to recover].”

Caleb concluded, “Thank you for all that you’re doing for Ukraine and this team. Together, we’re seeing the Kingdom of God have a huge impact.”

 

Financial & Prayer Support
There are several ways that the worldwide Calvary Chapel family can support efforts in Ukraine:
• Donate to the Ukrainian Refugee Fund with Shepherd's Staff
• To give through CC San Diego (Pastor Phil Metzger), click here
• You can also give through Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia at app.securegive.com

 

                  

(To learn more about Calvary Chapel University, visit their website or read our past coverage on the school)

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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