Ukraine Updates: Markeys & Browns

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July Updates from the Front Lines in Ukraine: Markeys & Browns

Testimonies compiled by Kathy Symborski
Photos courtesy of the missionaries and pastors

Calvary Chapel missionaries and pastors continue to minister in war-torn Ukraine and to Ukrainian refugees in surrounding countries. Today, we bring you testimonies from George and Sharon Markey, and Joel and Katya Brown.

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Just outside Budapest, Hungary, newly relocated Ukrainian refugees welcome a delivery of nutritious aid from Calvary Chapel missionaries Pastor George and Sharon Markey. They minister to Internally Displaced People out of Calvary Chapel Golgota and Golgota 11, in Budapest. George pastored at Calvary Chapel Kyiv, Ukraine, until after the war broke out; his extended family members, following God’s call, have faithfully served in Ukraine for many years—and continue to serve during the war. Photo courtesy the Markeys

Pastor George & Sharon Markey
Calvary Chapel Golgota Budapest and Golgota 11
Budapest, Hungary

Currently, our ministry is focused on refugee care rather than church planting. We hope to start a fellowship in our home for refugees and any seeking Hungarian friends whom God brings our way.

We are working with a team of other refugees to help internally displaced people (IDPs) within Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees in Hungary (and sometimes in other countries as well). Recent projects include a mental health conference in Budapest for refugees; aid deliveries to refugees in Hungary living outside of Budapest (because most of the available aid is in the capital city); mobilizing and training Hungarian Christians to minister to the refugees around them; recruiting and hosting short-term teams from the U.S. to serve refugees in Hungary; designing a website where refugees can find out what resources are available to them and how to access them; and raising awareness and funds from the churches in the U.S. 

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A short-term mission team engages with Ukrainian refugee children in recent days. Sharon Markey stated that some of their projects include, “mobilizing and training Hungarian Christians to minister to the refugees around them [and] recruiting and hosting short-term teams from the U.S. to serve refugees in Hungary.” Photo courtesy the Markeys

Two growing needs are:
(1) Soul care for the many volunteers serving IDPs in Ukraine; they are becoming exhausted after over four months of unrelenting service. So we are planning a trip into Ukraine in August to show them that they are not alone, find out what the specific needs are, and provide times for corporate worship and prayer.

(2) Helping the IDPs prepare to survive the coming winter, since many are living in structures that are not winter-worthy. We want to do this by either helping them evacuate to places ready to receive them in other countries or helping to prepare winter-worthy housing in Ukraine.

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An elderly woman in Bucha, Ukraine, examines the remains of her home after a direct rocket hit. “Russia continues to level towns and target malls and residential buildings across the country,” George stated. Photo courtesy the Markeys

Prayer Points:
• an end to the war
• many to be saved; there is a new spiritual hunger and openness that we haven't seen since the early ‘90s
• God to move in the hearts of those who can help Ukraine to send money and aid and even volunteer.

To make a donation or to find out about sending a short-term team to serve refugees, visit

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Katya Brown (front) captures a moment of joy with doctors and volunteers at the nearby baby hospital. “It feels like half the men in Ukraine are fighting for our country, while half the women are having babies so they can fill the country,” she observed. Pastor Joel Brown and his wife Katya of Calvary Living Water, Mukachevo, Ukraine, partnered with another hospital to provide needed medical supplies to the baby hospital and its overloaded maternity ward. Photo courtesy Joel Brown

Pastor Joel & Katya Brown
Living Water Mukachevo, Ukraine

We are still in Ukraine serving and housing refugees. At the height of activity, we had five commercial spaces to house refugees as well as some small houses and host homes. We hosted over 500 people daily, with a turnaround of about 300 people a day. We have housed, fed, and cared for over 10,400 people since the war began.

While the number of people coming daily has significantly slowed, we still receive new people daily and care for 250-plus people on a daily basis. Now a little more than half of the people we serve are "long-term" guests (two weeks or more), and they are almost all people with nowhere to go—those whose homes have been destroyed or whose cities have been occupied by Russian forces. We continue to support those running evacuations from hot zones, who now have to travel deeper and deeper.


(Learn about a full-service travel agency hosting custom Bible land tours designed for those with a passion for God's Word and His people from one of our sponsors, Mayfair Travel)  mayfair logo

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Volunteers, organized by Calvary Living Water, repair war-damaged homes, allowing people to remain in them instead of in crowded refugee centers. This house, located outside Kyiv, was devastated by a rocket; now with repaired walls and roof (right), it is livable once again. Joel explained, “Now, little more than half of the people we serve are ‘long-term’ guests, and they are almost all people with nowhere to go—those whose homes have been destroyed. … We have housed, fed, and cared for over 10,400 people since the war began.” Photos courtesy Joel Brown

Active Involvements:
• helping repair homes in areas that have been liberated
• partnered with our local hospital in providing needed supplies for the maternity ward and baby hospital—they are overloaded because of the added refugees in the city
• gathering protective and defensive items for all those in our community and extended refugee community who have sons, brothers, and fathers defending Ukraine on the front lines
• providing English lessons for refugees
• putting on events in the city to further the Gospel and bring hope—children's festivals and music and art festivals—many of these things run by our refugee guests, giving them a purpose

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Songs of praise down by the river drew many to Calvary Living Water’s Art Café “as a place for relaxation, live music, and the Gospel,” stated Joel. “We are still a church that reaches out to the community. … Our mission never changed—just adapted and expanded." Photo courtesy Joel Brown

While we spend most of our energy running our refugee centers and housing hundreds daily, we are still a church that reaches out to the community, especially as this community has doubled in size since the beginning of war. So we had an "ART CAFÉ" music festival down by the river. A place for relaxation, live music, and the Gospel. Our mission never changed—just adapted and expanded.

Prayer Points:
• an end to the war
• finances to continue serving refugees and that we would use the finances wisely
• our volunteers—their health and their hearts
• creative ways to reach our community
• the Gospel to keep being heard and received
• my family as we serve together—that He would protect us and give us rest

Partner with Joel Brown Ministries at Joel Brown Ministries


(To learn more about Mayfair Travel, visit their website)

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