Krisztina Badó, Bishop's secetary from the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, Western Ukraine, at the international Ash Wednesday Peace Prayer spoke movingly of the thousands of people fleeing across the border into Hungary where pastors and congregations are mobilizing to take care of these refugees. Read her contribution and prayer in full.
Transcarpathia is the Western region of Ukraine is cut in Carpathian mountains, and is home of strong Hungarian minority of 130 000 people.
What our reformed church did in the last days and continues to do?
We observe in these days families escaping the war by car and foot, crossing the Hungarian-Ukrainian border or staying in our cities and villages for the time being.
People from Kijev or from other cities have reached Transcarpathia and refugees are arriving to Ukrainian Hungarian border. They have to wait for long hours to cross the border. During this time our pastors, members of the congregations and volunteers taking care of them with hot meal, sandwiches, fruits and water. The Hungarian Reformed Church Aid (HRCA) which is our partner, has been providing emergency response from the first day on Hungarian and on Ukrainian side of the border, as well.
The number of refugees is growing daily. All cities and villages in Transcarpathia are well prepared to welcome refugees. Accommodations, board and lodging are given in schools, kindergartens, church institutions locally.
The Bishop of the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, Sándor Zán-Fábian, in a circular to the congregations, with love and respect, asked Pastors, Elders and Chief Elders to stay in their place, and remain where they are. "There is a need for the Gospel, for gathering praying communities, and for the ministry we owe to those left behind. Let us care for one another, remain humane, helpful and patient," he said. Taking care of the elderly, ill people, poor families, those left behind, and the refugees arriving in the region in growing numbers, are the main responsibilities of our Christian duty in these days.
So many church and civic organizations abroad has started emergency response and providing us with humanitarian aid to the victims of the war in Ukraine by offering food donations, hygiene equipment, etc.
The situation is horrible, young men, fathers, sons left the country from our region as well, because they do not want to be drafted as soldiers in this war. They left their families, parents and also their congregations. We wait our God’s guidance in this difficult situation.
Almighty God, we bless you for our lives, we give you praise for your abundant mercy and grace we receive. We thank you for your faithfulness even though we are not that faithful to you. Lord Jesus, we ask you to give us all around peace in our mind, body, soul and spirit. We want you to heal and remove everything that is causing stress, grief, and sorrow in our lives.
O, Lord, God, we pray for peace and love in all the nations, among all the people, that all wars and hatred will end. We pray for those who suffer from wars and for those who flee. Give them strength, faith and hope.
Please guide our path through life and make our enemies be at peace with us. Let your angels go ahead of us and strengthen us to carry on. In Jesus' name, Amen.