MATTHEWS, N.C. – We’re hearing from two local church leaders who recently returned from the Ukrainian border.
Their close ties with another church in Ukraine motivated them act.
“It was just heavy on my heart,” explains Pastor Bill Smith, with Grace One Church.
Smith, the English-language pastor at the church and lay leader Daniel Yen felt the need to act.
“God just put it upon my heart, I had to go,” Yen says.
The Asian-American Church has built close ties over the years with a church outside Kyiv.
Smith and Yen flew to Poland, spending several days helping organize and pack relief items.
They would get the items to the border, then volunteers would drive vans into areas of Ukraine where supplies were needed.
“These drivers are just everyday volunteering to go into really hot battle regions that needed humanitarian aid, and they would get those supplies in there and get the refugees out,” Smith says.
The two partnered with other volunteer organizations, some they only met when they arrived.
“Once people found out we were on the ground, you know American pastor and me on the ground, just through several degrees of freedom, we find out about other Americans who want to help,” Yen says.
Smith, who has close ties to the Ukrainian refugee community, says the coming days and weeks will continue to prove tough.
“Do we stay here and hope we can go back soon because the war will be over? But if we go back, what will we go back to? Our home might be gone, our job might be gone,” Smith says.