Local Church Finds Mission Helping Refugees

Source: Baptist Press

Since the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, one West Sacramento Baptist church has been working to assist refugee families repatriate to the United States.

Working with refugees not only from Ukraine, Russian Baptist Church and its Senior Pastor Mikhail Avramenko have helping to resettle Slavic families from former Russian dominated Soviet republics and even Russia itself.

“In all, we see that God is working with all of us, bringing us to a deeper understanding of who we are, why we are here and what can be done for the glory of God in this situation,” Avramenko said. “One thing we had noticed for the last two months, is that there are many refugees who come not from Ukraine, but from Russia or the former Russian republic. We are helping all newcomers.

“Ethnicity, language or nationality should never be a basis for any argument or disputes.”

Leading a congregation of approximately 2,700 worshipers of Slavic decent and diverse nationalities, the conflict in Ukraine has left many in the congregation decrying the war. Working collaboratively with a consortium of pastors, 40 refugee families have been successfully resettled in California since April.

Upon the refugee families arrival in the Sacramento community, they are welcomed into worship and fellowship gatherings while receiving assistance with transportation, housing, court appointments, banking, social services, medical care and school enrollment.

“That is an endless service and very appreciated by refugees because most of the time, they don’t know where to start,” Avramenko said.

Tatiana Vinnikova, a Ukrainian member of Russian Baptist Church who was hired by the consortium of churches working to support the refugee families said, “During these months, I realized that I like to serve such families. I myself am from Ukraine and my heart is breaking from what is happening now in my country. Ukrainian refugees need, first, moral and emotional support, housing, transportation, work, (and help) in matters related to documents and legalization in the United States. I will do this as long as they need me.”

In response to the conflict in Ukraine, the U.S. State Department has is raised its refugees and is poised to welcome approximately 180,000 Ukrainian displaced refugees through a series of asylum programs. Local churches like Russian Baptist Church and others have been in conjunction with the State Department to provide assistance to refugees upon their arrival.

To learn more about U.S. Department of State refugee policies and learn how your church can become involved, please visit state.gov.

Source: Baptist Press