By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
MORRISTOWN — For the past several weeks, Tennessee Baptist churches have been collecting supplies for Ukrainian refugees.
Their efforts culminated on May 2 when volunteers from Nolachucky Baptist Association loaded the first of two containers that will be sent to Moldova to assist in Ukrainian relief efforts.
The containers were loaded at God’s Warehouse, a ministry of Nolachucky Baptist Association in Morristown.
“We picked up items that Tennessee Baptists collected from Memphis to Mountain City and Chattanooga to the Kentucky state line,” said Don Owen, who oversees the ministry of God’s Warehouse which also includes volunteers from other associations in East Tennessee.
“It’s been tremendous to see how Tennessee Baptist churches have responded,” Owen said. “They have gone above and beyond the call to help the refugees from Ukraine,” he added.
Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, agreed. He initiated the call for Tennessee Baptist Convention churches to get involved early last month. Churches were asked to drop off supplies at five locations across the state and two trucks from God’s Warehouse were dispatched to pick the supplies up in late April.
“I am grateful to all the Tennessee Baptist churches that were able to participate in supplying items to assist Ukrainian refugees that have fled their country because of the war,” Jones said.
“Once again TBC churches continue to go above and beyond to assist those in times of great need. Thank you.”
Owen said the first container sent to Moldova was a partnership of several entities, including Nolachucky Association, God’s Warehouse, the TBMB and World Emergency Relief (WER) of California.
That organization, led by Kristy Scott, provided the freight costs to send the 40-foot container to Moldova, he noted.
In addition, the container contained items supplied by people from all over the country who have sent supplies to God’s Warehouse.
“God has put all this together,” Owen affirmed.
The second container headed for Moldova is slated to ship on May 16, Owen said. Also, God’s Warehouse (through the Harvest of Israel Ministry) sent two containers filled with supplies last week to Israel which will be used to help Jewish Ukrainian refugees there, he added.
Marilyn Morrow, a volunteer from First Baptist, Morristown, coordinated the sorting and packing of supplies that were sent to Moldova.
Volunteers worked hundreds of hours in order to get the boxes ready for shipment, Morrow said. “It is so exciting to get this done,” she affirmed.
David Hawkins, director of missions for Nolachucky Baptist Association, observed that collecting supplies for Ukrainian refugees “is a practical and tangible way our Lord blesses the cooperative efforts of Tennessee Baptists far beyond what any one individual, family or church could do.”
As the first container makes its way to Moldova, Jones exhorted Tennessee Baptists to continue to pray for the Ukrainians in the days ahead.
“Pray that as supplies are delivered each person will be able to hear the gospel and that the Holy Spirit is already working on many to respond,” he said.
Jones also asked for prayers that “the war will be over soon and that we might have many more opportunities to assist with their needs but most important of all, to share the Good News of Jesus with them as they recover.” B&R