A multisite megachurch based in Texas has helped hundreds of Ukrainian refugees relocate amid the Russian invasion, working with ministry partners in the Eastern European nation.
Gateway Church, which has nine locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area plus dozens of other smaller meeting groups in the United States, has helped around 400 Ukrainian refugees relocate.
Lawrence Swicegood, spokesperson for Gateway, told The Christian Post on Tuesday that the church is also in the process of helping relocate hundreds more refugees.
Swicegood contended that Gateway has been able to help out because of relationships with several congregations located in Ukraine that predate the outbreak of the war.
“Now, we are leveraging those long-established relationships to immediately focus on humanitarian relief and relocation efforts within Ukraine and in neighboring countries throughout Europe,” he said.
“This includes providing shelter, food, water, medical supplies and numerous daily supplies. We have engaged a larger network of churches and partners to collectively assist over a thousand families and individuals in dire need.”
Gateway has also allocated approximately $500,000 from the church's outreach budget for financial aid, which was added to Gateway members donating around $526,000 in the last few weeks.
“So, collectively, over $1 million has been sent to assist the thousands of people in need. We will continue to raise money for this important relief and relocation effort,” added Swicegood.
Swicegood told CP that he hopes Gateway’s efforts show that “God loves and has not forgotten about the people of Ukraine." He stressed that churches, in general, are “called to be a light in a dark world because Jesus came to a fallen world to give His live for all mankind.”
“We believe as Christians that we should be proactive in helping people in their time of need,” he said. “War has devastated so many, but it has not crushed the spirit and hope of Ukrainian people.”
In February, Russian forces invaded Ukraine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming that he was defending the newly proclaimed independence of predominantly ethnic Russian communities in the eastern part of the country.
Since then, millions of Ukrainians have fled their homes as Russian forces attack various cities, reportedly committing various war crimes during their military operations.
Numerous churches across the U.S. have been among those offering aid, including raising funds and supplies to provide to Ukrainian refugees.
Last month, for example, the Ukrainian Pentecostal Church of Nicholasville, Kentucky, raised around $145,000 at a bake sale to purchase supplies for those displaced by the conflict.
Victor Selepina, organizer of the UPC bake sale, told CP in an earlier interview that he “never anticipated to have so many people come out and to raise that amount of money.”
“Our community has been absolutely wonderful,” said Selepina. “We’ve been very, very, very blessed with a community that we live in, and also the opportunities that this country has given us at one point that we can now organize such events.”