A pastor from Trail and a member of his congregation will land in Poland next week as part of a humanitarian effort to help the many Ukrainians driven from their homes by war.
Pastor Shaun Romano of the Gateway Christian Life Center and Chris Reid – a Trail native and FortisBC worker – will arrive in Krakow on March 16, alongside Lethbridge Chaplain Dwayne Schaaf and Faith Woods of Mission Partners International of Ontario.
This compassionate mission is just one of 16 trips to Ukraine the Gateway Christian Life Center has made since the church began doing missionary work in Crimea in 1999. That year, the Gateway congregation joined the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and partnered with a church organization in Kyiv that has planted places of worship throughout Ukraine.
In 2006, before moving to Trail, Pastor Romano became personally connected with a Christian mission in Luhansk Oblast, the easternmost oblast (province) of Ukraine.
Eight years later, the scale of Christian missionary work in the Eastern European nation has been transformed due to political instability and territorial disputes.
“In 2014, when conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine and Crimea was annexed by Russia, it changed the scope of our mission from a localized and regional ministry to a national ministry, as relations and partners scattered throughout the Ukrainian country,” Romano said. Explain.
Because Ukraine is a priority country, he says the church continually raises funds for the cause.
“We have worked with the elderly, orphanages, churches, drug treatment homes and, more recently, in partnership with Clear Vision, a Ukrainian charity, to organize glasses clinics in villages where options were limited” , said the pastor.
“Over the past two years, we have also provided relief ministry to pastors and their wives from the occupied territory of Ukraine and Crimea.”
In fact, the church had organized a father/daughter trip to Ukraine during the 2022 spring break, but that all changed when the war started on February 24.
With war relief in Ukraine now underway, anyone wishing to help can do so in a number of ways, such as donating directly through the Gateway Christian Life Centre.
“We partner with an organization called Mission Partners International,” Romano said. “It’s a Canadian charity that sponsors seniors, children and pastors in Ukraine and Belarus.”
During this two-week trip to Poland, the group will partner with a ministry in Krakow called Slavic Mission in Europe.
The Slavic Mission recently acquired a hostel for 74 people, so Trail’s men and their peers will be working to serve and provide whatever physical assistance they can to incoming Ukrainian refugees.
“We are also bringing resources to provide food, clothes, first aid kits, medicine, water and other items and send them daily to Ukraine from Poland,” Romano said.
“During this trip, we also hope to solidify partnerships for future assistance.”
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