Page 5 - Presbyterian Connection
P. 5
 A Ukrainian Connection
  By the Outreach and Missions Ministry Team, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Lindsay, Ont.
There is hardly a news broadcast that is not focused on the horrific situation in Ukraine. Individuals all over the world are incredulous at the terrible acts of war they are witnessing. No one in Ukraine has been spared from the relentless bombing, lack of food and ut- ter destruction of their cities and towns.
In situations like this, far away from the actual devastation, we are often left with feelings of helplessness and despair and begin searching for ways to sup- por t the people of Ukraine and the thousands of individuals and families who have fled to safer locations.
As Christians we are called upon to be “the hands and feet of Jesus.” That call has always caused us to mobilize our re- sources and find ways in which we can help our neighbours
across the world.
At St. Andrew’s Presbyterian
Church in Lindsay, Ont., our ac- tions are guided by the values we have established to represent our mission—most significantly, the values of Social Responsi- bility and Loving Relationships. Motivated by these values, the Outreach and Missions Minis- try Team decided to try to find a way to bring one of the many dis- placed Ukrainian families to Lind- say. Weaving our way through the current federal government CUAET (Canadian Ukrainian Ac- cess to Emergency Travel) guide- lines we have been able to make many valuable connections with agencies and individuals in our community and others.
The process required for a family to come to Canada is cum- bersome and there are lengthy waits for proper documentation, given the huge numbers of fami- lies seeking to come to Canada. Thankfully, a mother and her two sons arrived in Lindsay in late May after a long journey from
A Ukrainian family arrived in Lindsay, Ont.
Germany. Representatives from the church were on hand to greet the newcomers and emotions were running high. The family is now busy settling in to their new, safe home.
Donations to help support the Ukrainian family in Lindsay can be made at standrewslindsay. com/donate.
 Congregations interested in sponsoring refugees to Canada can contact the Sponsorship Department through Presbyterian World Service & Development at
 Fundraising for Ukraine
 By Sara Webster-Schoenmakers, member of Knox Presbyterian Church in Fingal, Ont.
In October 2008, with the support of my family and church family, I participated in a life-changing mission trip to Eastern Europe through the Women’s Mission- ary Society of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. We visited parts of Hungary, Romania and Ukraine and toured a number of schools, churches and villages, as well as a farm. We ate with the locals; we stayed in their homes; and we shared the love of God.
Like so many around the world, when the conflict in Ukraine began, I was devastated and hear tbroken, and was looking for ways to help. There were lots of local organiza-
tions reaching out for donated goods to be shipped to Ukraine to provide emergency assistance to all those in need, including those on the front lines, those displaced after having fled their homes and those unable to leave Ukraine.
As a family with two young boys, ages eight and 10 years old, I thought that getting the whole family involved was a perfect way to not only help, but to also teach my sons a valuable lesson about giving and helping those in need.
We also thought that we could get our church family involved.
Our most giving and generous congregation at Knox Presbyterian Church in Fingal, Ont., overwhelm- ingly suppor ted this project. Within two weeks, numerous boxes and bags filled with essential items,
such as baby supplies, personal hygiene products, paper products, PPE, over-the-counter medication, and socks were donated. By the end of our call for donations, the local organizations that were col- lecting essential items had put a pause on accepting fur ther contri- butions to be shipped, due to an overwhelming response.
How fantastic that so many peo- ple across the country responded, including our small rural church.
Now there was the question of what to do with this reserve. The overstock sat in my house for weeks, until one evening an op- portunity arose—a friend shared a Facebook post about Ukraine Help Middlesex, a local outreach group based in London, Ont., that was reaching out for help to bring Ukrainians to our area. In- stantly, I contacted Richard Hone of Ukraine Help Middlesex, and it all moved very quickly from there. The following day I delivered all of our items to Richard, who very gratefully accepted them—they were to be distributed among the refugee families arriving in Canada. I could have stayed all day and chatted with this very
Sara Webster-Schoenmakers (left) during a mission trip to Eastern Europe in 2008.
 Fundraising efforts at Knox Presbyterian Church in Fingal, Ont.
kind, generous, knowledgeable and passionate man. This group is firmly centred on the mission of helping Ukrainian visitors with generosity, love, helpfulness and compassion. While the group originally began as friends and neighbours in the Coldstream and Ilderton area who wanted to help, it has grown from there and mem-
bers are now from all over.
In a time of such sorrow and sadness, this group of friends and neighbours has grown to over 1,400 members and has worked hard to bring so many visitors to our communities, towns and cities. And it means so much to know that in some small way we
have been able to help.

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