God’s Protection & Comfort for His People

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Pam Markey: A Heart to Help the Hurting

Long-Term Missionary Shares Plight of Her Friends in Ukraine

Story by Christmas Beeler

Now the director of Calvary Chapel Bible College Eurasia in Tbilisi, Georgia, Pam Markey has served on the mission field in Eastern and Central Europe for the past three decades. As her adult children minister amidst the crisis, Pam traveled to minister to them and her grandchildren, seeing her role to bring comfort and support. As one who has planted churches and raised children in Ukraine, Pam shares the plight of her Ukrainian friends and family amidst the war.

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The entire Markey family attended a reunion in Indiana. Pictured above are all of the Markeys—minus George, Sr., who passed away in 2007—and their spouses.

God Opens a Way Out
By the intervention of the Lord, Pam reported, all of the Markey children, spouses, and grandchildren living in Ukraine have made it safely out. Although Ternopil has been relatively safe, Jonathan Markey wanted to take the children to a more secure place. He drove with his wife, sister-in-law, and 12 children all night and then waited at the border for hours. He has since made trips back to Ternopil to minister to others. Through it all, the family has sensed God’s protection and presence. “God has been our very present help in times of trouble; He is with us in the midst of the storms,” Pam explained, adding that the Psalms have been a great comfort.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed.

Psalm 46:1-2a

“We don’t merely have ties to Ukraine, but my children grew up there. Two of my sons are pastors of churches there,” Pam explained, adding that her youngest (ninth) daughter Kristen Hope was adopted in Ukraine as a toddler, and that many of her grandchildren are Ukrainian. In addition, Pam and her family have close friends in Ukraine who are still there, enduring the hardships of the ongoing, brutal war.

All her family have a passion and respect for the Ukrainian people. “They are trying in different ways to minister to refugees, and they themselves are refugees. [So they are] using their various gifts and abilities to do that,” Pam explained. One son is overseeing a command center for supplies; another is using his gift for music and worship; two others have opened up their apartments in Ukraine for evacuees. In Ternopil, the city has been inundated with refugees that need a place to rest on their journey out.

                  

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Rather than focus on their own troubles, the Markey family are more interested in ministering to those fleeing the brutal war, those who need the love and hope of Christ. “They all feel that their suffering is nothing compared to what many of the Ukrainian people have been through and are still going through,” she reflected. Most of all, they desire to be instruments of the love of God. Pam explained that, even though there have been times of tears, “Their strength is from the Lord. Because God loves so much, and His love has been poured out in their hearts, they want to give that love to others. They want to share that hope that we have in the Lord.”

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

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Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian women have had to leave behind their homes and their husbands in order to help their children escape the brutal ongoing conflict. While the fathers stay behind to fight Russian troops, the mothers must get safely to the border and make the difficult choice of which country to go for refuge. Many wait at the border for hours because of the sheer volume of evacuees. More than 3 million people have fled Ukraine, with about half of them going to Poland.  Photo by Pastor Billy Rutledge, Hatteras Island Christian Fellowship

Long-Time Missionaries
Pam Markey grew up on the mission field in southern Africa before moving to the States and marrying her husband George in the early 1970s. After college, they spent time at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa under Pastor Chuck and Kay Smith, then George pastored a church in Indiana for several years. In 1992, the Markeys moved to Ukraine with their eight children—ranging in age from twin 16-year-olds down to a 5-month-old. A few years later, they adopted their ninth child, a toddler girl who had been abandoned with a heart defect.

The Markeys ministered and lived in Ukraine for 14 years, raising their children and seeing them marry and go on to plant churches of their own in various countries. “Living there [in Ukraine] and being a part of the school system, meeting so many people as we were planting a church,” she recalled, “my heart became tied to the Ukrainian people.” She was deeply grateful for “all that they were doing for my children, how they shared with one another.”

The people of Ukraine have an indomitable spirit, Pam said, sharing a Ukrainian saying: “Hope dies last.” Even after they have been “beaten down, they hold on to hope.”

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In happier, more peaceful times, Jonathan Markey reads a book to his children in their home in Ukraine. Jonathan, his wife Stephanie, and their children were able to safely evacuate Ukraine after Russian troops invaded. They stayed as long as they could to help others before they had to flee to safety—with six adults and fifteen children in one van. Photo courtesy of the Markey family

Friends Enduring War
Staying in touch with Christian friends from other countries over the years, she recalled a recent phone call to Ukraine, from which more than 3 million people have evacuated due to the ongoing war. “I’ve talked to friends that I knew for years, as we were there 14 years.” When she asked her dear friend in Kyiv if she and her grown children were going to evacuate or shelter in place, the woman replied, “I’m staying here.” Soberly, Pam related, “Since I talked to her, the city’s been bombed. I know their apartment building is close to the metro tunnel where they go when the sirens go off. She has a son and two grandchildren. We were about the same age. They’ve chosen to stay in the country they love.”

When Pam contacted another sister in Christ to see how she was faring, the Ukrainian woman told Pam that she decided to stay to help others in need. Pam related her friend’s words: “We learned what to do from your example when you were with us—how to take care of people, how to feed them—and we’re going to stay here and do that.” She and her 8-year-old son also must respond to the sirens by going to the basement in their building.

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The Markey family has served the Lord for three decades in several countries—including Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Hungary. Photo courtesy of the Markey family

Unable to Escape
Pam’s own family had become close to a large family of 11 who are still unable to flee Ukraine. “Taking in foster children, they have nine children. We’ve been trying to get them out of the country,” Pam shared. But the process has been wrought with difficulty and danger. “In the process of doing that, they’ve gone without food. They’ve had guns pointed at them. They thought they were almost out; we thought they were almost out. And then they were stopped at a checkpoint and had to go back at gunpoint. My heart just aches for that.” She asked for prayer for that family’s safe evacuation.

Sadly, their situation is not unique. She has friends living in apartments that, when the sirens blare their warnings, have had to run down to the basement and wait while bombs are being dropped. “They come up and find the house next to them has been destroyed. Lives are changed forever because this is happening.”

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Pictured above is the entire Markey family with all of the spouses and grandchildren. They gathered for a special reunion in Indiana. Their father, George Markey, Sr., had pastored a church in Indiana before moving to Ukraine with their children, who now serve in several countries.

Hope and Peril
Many of the Ukrainian people don’t want to leave but rather to stay and defend their country. She related, “There are waves of hope—and they think things are getting better—and then a neighbor is shot.”

In moments of hope, she recounted that some have said, “I’m going to stay, I’m going to be here.” But then things get dire, “and then the only way that they can survive is to try and get their family to safety over the border,” Pam explained. Then, after they reach the safety of a neighboring country, they yearn to return home because “they want to rebuild. These people have a spirit that just doesn’t stop.”

Her voice choking with emotion, Pam added, “I love the Ukrainian people and my dear friends that are there.”

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Pastor George Markey, Sr. (red shirt) and Pam with their eight children, their son-in-law Jed Gourley (back right), and their daughter Kristen Hope whom they adopted in Ukraine, sitting on Melanie’s lap (left). The children attended public school in 1992 when they arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine, and quickly became fluent in the language. Several of the Markey children currently pastor and serve in Russian-speaking countries. Photo by Tom Price

Raising Money for Food
Pam and other Calvary Chapel believers are working to do what they can, especially to supply basic needs for those in jeopardy. In a Friday, March 10, video release, she explained that they had a team in place and were raising funds to buy food. “We need to reach out. We need help. Food now is in shortage. When we think that things are over—they’re not over; they’re only beginning.”

As hundreds of people responded and shared the video, the team received donations and was able to supply needed food. See other Calvary Chapel coverage of the ongoing relief effort in Ukraine at: calvarychapelmagazine.org.

                  

Watch Pam’s video update on the CCBC Eurasia FB page
                  

Donations
Following are ways that the worldwide Calvary Chapel family can support efforts in Ukraine:
• Donate to the Ukrainian Refugee Fund with Shepherd's Staff
• 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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