Our family of four began our ministry journey with YWAM two years ago, when we left our home, job and community in Birmingham, AL to attend the Family DTS in Tyler, Texas. Our plan, after completion of DTS, was to join our sister and brother in law, who are YWAM Kings Kids leaders in Warsaw. Our vision was to pioneer a base and begin running DTS in Poland for the first time in decades. Of course, God had other plans for us timing wise, and we returned to Tyler for SOE and then joined staff, with a focus on family ministry. During this time we continued to pray, plan, prepare, vision and scout for our ministry in Poland. However, we didn’t expect to be in Poland quite so quickly!
In February, a week after returning from a trip to Poland, the attack on Ukraine began. This set into motion the Mercy Works department of YWAM Tyler to provide relief and assistance. Our family accepted the request to spend two months in Warsaw, hosting and connecting ministry opportunities for teams from the States. These teams consist of about six members who stay for 10 days each.
Since arriving in Poland our family and teams are primarily based in Warsaw. We minister in any location around the city where we find a need or receive a request for help. Some days we spend at the train and bus stations cooking, serving food, cleaning, packing supplies, engaging in conversations and praying with our Ukrainian friends as best we can using a translator or google translate. Other days we visit the refugee centers where the practical tasks are similar, but we can spend more time relating to individuals and playing with children since they are not currently traveling. Lastly, our teams are renovating a vacant house (which was used at one point as a brothel) in south Warsaw, in collaboration with another ministry, Open Door Foundation, to become a home for refugees. This work includes conducting repairs, cleaning, painting, installing appliances, furniture and much more.
In addition to our ministry in Warsaw we take day trips to the border city of Medyka and the refugee camp nearby in Przemysl. The needs fluctuate daily depending on how many Ukrainians are crossing the border into Poland, but there is a considerable YWAM presence there from all over the globe to minister to the people. We help carry luggage, which is often shopping bags, along with cleaning the sleeping rooms and cots. The children are also a focal point for us as we attempt to bring joy to their day and allow their mother to rest.
We believe God is calling us now to purchase property in Ustron, located in south Poland near the Czech border. This will meet the immediate need of providing a home to refugee families while creating a long-term possibility of a YWAM base. We have found a potential property and are now in the process of negotiating a price and raising the funds necessary. In this property, we will house Ukrainian families for approximately one month while they transition to a location they can live until returning home. Our ministry will consist of prayer, bible study, and trauma healing/counseling. Please join us in prayer for this to come to fruition if it is good and pleasing to God’s will.
Overall, the two months we have spent in Poland serving Ukrainians has revealed the spiritual, emotional and physical tension between good and evil in this crisis. We know God is sovereign over all situations, but at times it’s difficult to grasp what good this war will bring. There is a very real sense of hopelessness for many of the people we encounter, so we must have faith to speak life, truth, hope and joy that can only come from knowing Christ. Our attention can become too focused on the material and tangible needs of food, shelter, etc, that we neglect the emotional and spiritual needs. We have learned to be intentional in sharing the supernatural peace that we carry with us with each person we encounter who is in the midst of chaos.
Our family received prayer and prophecy several times before we left Texas and the common word the Lord was speaking was the “Esther calling”, that we were “created for such a time as this”. As we take steps into what we believe God has called us to, we see Him moving in ways that many would call “coincidence”, but we see as divine appointments. Our God is on the move, and though we may not fully understand what the coming days will hold, we know that for today, and each day His mercies are new and our faith is being refined. Join us as we prepare and wait to see not only the good, but also the miraculous things God will do through this situation.