Crates for Ukraine Update

 

The Beard family from New Hope Christian Fellowship in Elizabeth City, North Carolina reached out to the OPC Refugee Ministry Subcommittee for financial support as they planned to participate in the PCA’s “Crates for Ukraine” program. The family has dear friends in L’viv, MTW missionaries, who have been serving for several years.

Aimee Beard was excited to have a way to help, “Finally, there was something tangible we could do to help our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Knowing the need was urgent, I started reaching out to local churches and friends in our community and the help began to pour in. Many were happy to help and especially so because several know [our family friends] personally. A handful of pharmacies and private physicians allowed us to purchase items at cost through them. We have a friend at Harbor Presbyterian (a supporting church) who is a paramedic and he reached out to the county to see if they could help. The county also allowed us to order medical/wound care items at cost through them. The process has truly been a beautiful thing to witness.”

“My initial goal was twenty crates. That was before all the support started to come in. We have already filled 70 crates, but I am expecting we will reach 80 by the time our last round of couriers leaves. Incredible! God is so good. It is amazing what He can do with a simple, ‘yes!’ We have a total of nine couriers who have all registered and purchased airline tickets.”

Aimee’s daughter, Callie, expressed interest in accompanying the team to Krakow after a family friend had to bow out of the trip, and more volunteers were needed. The OPC Refugee Ministry subcommittee considered this request and, in the end, were glad to be able to pay the remaining cost of an airline ticket for Callie at the cost of $1701.00. Thank you to all of those who donated to the Ukraine Crisis Fund and enabled this young woman to be able to participate in this important program.

An email from Aimee after their trip spoke of the success of their trip, “All crates made it to Krakow. Our final courier team arrived Wednesday with all 47 of their crates. All together there were 92 crates that were sent over from our community here in Northeast North Carolina. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness and blessings. He had his hand in every part of this entire mission. So many moving parts and details that only He could orchestrate. It is amazing what He will do with a simple yes.”

“We saw the warehouse where all the crates are stored until the team drives them to L’viv. The Ukrainian/Polish/English church service on Sunday was neat. It was great to see our friends from L’viv and the rest of the team. You can tell they are tired and are looking forward to a time to rest and reassess the situation before winter.”

Crates for Ukraine was an initiative started by the MTW L’viv Team in June of this year to address the war time aid needs of Ukraine. MTW (PCA) took the initiative in this effort and invited the OPC to join in their efforts. The OPC was privileged to be involved in this way.

Crates’ mission was simple: The Ukrainian Church and their national partners desired to provide personal and humanitarian aid from the hands of churches in the U.S. to the hands of churches and displaced communities in Ukraine. Churches, communities, or families were invited to pack a crate and send it to Ukraine via Krakow, Poland.

The Ukraine church in L’viv received and is processing these crates and sending them to the neediest communities and churches of Ukraine. MTW was able to utilize the 15 churches throughout Ukraine to network and resource the needy communities. 

Here is the latest data on the Crates for Ukraine initiative.

A few quick facts:

  • 1,315 crates were delivered to Krakow.
  • 186 Couriers brought aid.
  • Over 250 churches participated from over 100 cities and 21 states. 
  • 15 churches in Ukraine received/processed aid.
  • Over 115 locations have received aid or have in turn become aid distribution points.
  • Aid processing continues to reach the most needy and vulnerable.
  • 100 crates went to newly liberated villages (Lzyum and Kharkiv region) and our partner churches.
  • This Ukraine Aid Map will be updated weekly with more detailed delivery information. 

Many have asked about future aid initiatives. A possible “Crates for Christmas” initiative is in the works. We will update as information about that become available.

You can find out more about the efforts to help in Ukraine by listening to The Reformed Deacon episode where David Nakhla interviews MTW’s Ukraine Country Director, Jon Eide, and by reading the September 15 issue of the “Crates for Ukraine Update” from the PCA’s Mission to the World.


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CDM Meeting in Clarkston, Georgia

The Committee on Diaconal Ministries met for their

stated bi-annual meetings on April 7–8. This year, they met at

Redeemer OPC in Atlanta, Georgia, the hosting church for

the Clarkston Refugee Ministry, which the CDM supports.

This meeting was an opportunity for many of the members

of the CDM to visit the refugee ministry for the first

time. “[Pastors Weldeyesus and Tamirat’s] fervor for the gospel

and their heart for people was wonderful to experience.

Clearly they have a gift for reaching into the lives of those

who have lost country, home, and precious relationships,”

shared committee member Ron de Ru.

CDM member Seth Long agreed. “I was most impressed

with sitting in the living rooms of families who have fled persecution

and danger . . . and the ways they are desiring to now

provide for their families in a land and culture much different

from their own. It was truly wonderful to see how the Lord in

his good providence is gathering families to be connected to

the gospel outreach work of the church, caring for the spiritual

and physical needs of the stranger in our midst.”
[This article was originally published in the June 2022 Edition of New Horizons]

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A New Podcast: The Reformed Deacon

By Trish Duggan

In November 2021, the Committee on Diaconal Ministries (CDM) launched a podcast focused on the office of deacon, called The Reformed Deacon. It was developed with the local Reformed deacon in mind: to help train him, to encourage camaraderie with other deacons, and to educate a greater audience on the role of the deacon. Episodes will include interviews of local deacons, elders, pastors, authors, and others with relevant experience. The podcast will also share case studies and dig into topics often complex or misunderstood. 

The Office of Deacon 

Perhaps you have heard one or more of the following in your church: I can’t hear the preacher—I’m not sure his mic is even on! I’m sure one of the deacons will get to it. Or, I know that family isn’t really making ends meet. I’ll be sure to mention it to one of the deacons. Or, We don’t have enough chairs set up for Sunday school. I’ll let the deacons know. Or, We’re moving next week. I’ll ask the deacons for help. 

The local deacon’s role can sometimes seem to be a kind of catch-all for many of the physical needs of the church, from managing church facilities to aiding a needy family to everything in between. Further complicating their work can be its sensitive nature, along with complex family situations, distrust from those both inside and outside the church, and even dishonest requests for help. This office requires great wisdom! 

In addition, many OPC deacons may be serving their congregation alone, without the benefit of a colleague to commit to regular times of counsel and prayer. Some diaconates are small and spread thin, with somewhat unclear tasks. So what exactly is a deacon’s job, and how can he be better supported in it? 

Supporting Deacons through a Podcast 

The CDM continues to recognize the need to support the local deacon in his God-appointed work, and it prayerfully strives to meet that need. A unique aspect of the CDM’s approach is its great desire to see local deacons supported not only by the committee, but also by one another. There are, after all, nearly one thousand deacons in the OPC, representing hundreds of years of experience! 

Over the years, the CDM has organized gatherings primarily for deacons (three national summits to date and another one in June 2022) and developed training materials, a resource website (OPCCDM.org), a newsletter (The Mercy Minute), and a deacon check-in program (where deacons are partnered in order to take intentional time to talk one on one and are given counsel and financial support). 

And now, there is a podcast, too. 

In its first episode, Tim Hopper, a deacon at Shiloh OPC in Raleigh, North Carolina, said that he reminds himself often that deacons, too, need to sit at Jesus’s feet. “It’s easy for me to be doing things and staying busy,” he said, “and I’m good at making my lists and getting things done, but that’s what Martha was doing, and our Lord told her she needs to sit at his feet . . . My wife often asks, ‘Are you getting to hear the sermon?’” 

In another episode, Dr. Cornelis Van Dam explained that he wrote his book The Deacon: Biblical Foundations for Today’s Ministry of Mercy because, when he was a pastor, newly ordained deacons would ask for resources on the diaconate. “That question always kind of bugged me,” Van Dam said, “because I didn’t think there was a good holistic treatment of the office.” 

Deacons, this podcast is for you, and the CDM hopes you will benefit by listening. For those who are not deacons, the podcast may allow you to better understand and support your local deacons in their work. When you are able, remember to pray for the deacons and elders in your church as they fulfill their calling. They are likely doing more than what you see on Sunday! 

Look for The Reformed Deacon wherever you listen to podcasts. We’d love to hear from you. What topics would you like to hear on this podcast? Go to: opccdm.org/podcast-feedback or email us at mail@thereformeddeacon.org. Find show notes and links at thereformeddeacon.org. 

The author is communications coordinator for the CDM. 


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