Ukraine and Russia. Are we really all one in Christ?
"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
With the conflict in Ukraine ongoing, and the relentless atrocities we are still seeing on our news, it felt important for us to write to you again. These inhumane acts have not passed us by unnoticed and unaffected – far from it. As a charity we are heartbroken by what is going on in Ukraine and regularly meet as a team to pray for Ukraine, those injured, and the people displaced by the conflict. We grieve alongside them.
As a charity that began helping Russian orphans and others in dire living conditions almost 30 years ago, we constantly consider how our work is perceived by others and we understand that for some, this is a challenge and difficult to understand. Should we be helping people from Russia? To answer this from a Christian perspective, we first need to know what God thinks about it. The Bible talks about two conflicting communities and describes the believers among them as ‘One in Christ’. Galatians 3:28 says, "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
As Christians, we know that God calls us to show love and compassion to all, especially people in need, regardless of where they happen to have been born. Should an orphan living on £76 a month really have their support removed because of the actions of others? Should we remove the help we offer to two incredible centres that rescue so many women, men and their children from abuse and homelessness? As a Christian charity, this is impossible for us to contemplate. Our Russian partners and project leaders are Christians too. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ and their hearts are for peace. We know that their deepest desire is only to share God’s love with each orphanage leaver and family in crisis they support through their respective ministries.
For them, the reality is this; victims of violence in Russia and young people living in severe poverty are now facing even greater hardship through no choice or fault of their own. Over five million Russians are homeless and over 16 million women in Russia experience violence at home each year – in times of hardship, these numbers will only increase.
In a country that already has such significant social challenges, the current war and sanctions mean food prices and the cost of necessities have soared, only exacerbating the problems many were already facing. For example, one very staple Russian food, cabbage, has increased in cost by 210%.
We believe God calls us to use what we can and to give what we can, even if that means starting small. In response to the increased difficulties of people we know living in poverty, we have opened a hardship fund for them and the projects we already connect to.
For our beneficiaries, this will amount to some extra funding, for example – more towards the crisis centre budgets for food provision or financial aid for orphan mums, many of whom are expected to live on just £100 each month, which is of course, impossible.
We have already begun sending extra funding to our projects, but our resources are limited without your help. A gift from you, no matter how big or small, is important. Even £5 could mean the difference between an orphan mum being able to feed her children or not.
We are so grateful for each of you who continue to care about the welfare of ordinary Russians through this challenging season of need on such a global scale.
Though there are harrowing stories coming out of Ukraine, it is an encouragement to hear about ordinary people and charitable organisations stepping in to provide relief for refugees and support for those still living in conflict zones. We continue to pray for God’s peace and intervention there and the alleviation of suffering. Both for them, and the ordinary Russian who is feeling powerless to speak up and hated by the world.
In pain, God provides hope. Let’s be His hands and feet and live out His call to one in Christ.