our first trip to Ukraine (March 12th)
On Thursday, March 10th, we loaded the trailer with 88 air mattresses and 20 pumps. That was everything one retailer had in stock. On Friday, March 11th, Aurel Munteanu got his passport and we started our trip to Ukraine. We made another stop on the way to buy 98 more mattresses, which was also everything this other store had in stock. We spent the night at our brethren from northern Romania. They live 65 km south of the Ukrainian border. On Saturday morning, we purchased other items from our list and headed toward the border.
We made a stop in the border city to meet with our brother, Romi, one of our contacts. He is Romanian, but his wife is from Ukraine. Bro. Romi and his family used to live in Ukraine, in the town across the border, but he works on the Romanian side, so he used to cross the border every day. The border police and customs officers know him. He and his wife volunteered to help a Christian organization that operates a youth campground outside the Romanian city, so they live on the camp’s premises now.
This campground became a refugee camp, hosting and feeding Ukrainian refugees. Some just need a place to spend the night on their way out of the country, others need a place to stay indefinitely. Such is the case of a Baptist family we met, the mother with five children (4 daughters and one teenage son have been staying at this facility for more than a week. The husband stayed behind, with their two older sons, who are above 18 years old, and need to be drafted.
Two of the brethren from this campground (they are from a Plymouth brethren assembly) offered their van to us and also to come with us to Ukraine. We loaded their van, as well, and headed toward the border. There was a long line of refugees, some crossing by cars, others by foot. We saw some very moving scenes there. We crossed the border after a 40 minute wait on paper work. We were considered a humanitarian convoy and had priority. The refugees wait for hours to cross.
We arrived in Solotvyno, the first town, where we met bro. Michail, his pastor from a Baptist Church in Chernivtsi, and three other brothers that came with them, to help. It was a joyful and encouraging moment. We transferred the aid to their two vans, handed them the Ukrainian cash, prayed together and parted ways. We brought them several hundred copies of Gospel literature in Romanian and several packages with all our books. There are many Romanian speakers in that part of Ukraine, so the literature will be distributed around there.
We crossed back into Romania and spent the night in Baia Mare. On Sunday morning, we had a prayer meeting with our brethren there and after lunch we started our trip back south. By 10:30 PM, I left Aurel at the train station, to ride the train back to Filiasi, and by 11 PM I was home. Aurel got home early Monday morning.
This was, in short, our first trip there. Because of lack of space, I can’t enter into too many details. The trip was so intense, physically, spiritually, emotionally. All I can say is that Aurel and I won’t ever be the same after going there. The trip was very important, as we needed to assess the situation ourselves, meet the people involved, establish relations and contacts, identify needs and opportunities to help, both in terms of humanitarian aid and spiritual work. We did that abundantly. We saw the Lord going before us and opening doors in a mighty way. We praise the Lord and thank you all for your prayers! The first mission was fully accomplished.
What comes next?
First of all, we wish to thank all of you for your
prayers, encouraging words and more than generous donations toward this
cause. We are completely impressed and overwhelmed by all the funds that
were poured in toward this effort. You entrusted a lot to our care, and we
feel the burden of responsibility that comes with this big amount of trust
and finances. As those of you that support the Romania Mission Work already
know, the funds will be spent efficiently, transparently, and wisely.
Thank you all again for everything. May the Lord be glorified through this work and His Kingdom proclaimed and increased!
Raul Enyedi & Aurel Munteanu
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726