Igors & Nora– Thank you for your prayers and help
More days the war takes place, more people get used to it that there is war. But war is not a norm and what it reminds us about reality, meeting every day with people from Ukraine and hearing their stories and needs for help.
Last week we brought used minivan to Ukraine, which was purchased in Germany, brought to Latvia and then adjusted for transporting handicap people. One of the request we get from Ukraine, they need small buses to be able transport people from dangerous zones to safe places, plus bring a food. Your gifts has been used for to bring this bus to Ukraine.
Ukranian boy, Sasha
Nora encountered many stories each day, I asked share one of them to see different side of the day to day life in Latvia and Ukraine during this past weeks.
When the war started, mother of Saha, Irina, sent him to his grandma to countryside, to be safe.They lived in Kyiv. Irina with her husband decided to stay in Kyiv and do everything they can to protect their city. At one point they understand that it is too dangerous for her to stay, she needs to move away further from the warzone.
Irina come to Ukrainian/Polish border, she was walking, hitchhiking for 3 days. She crossed the border, where Christians from Chelm Baptist church at Polish border picked her up and took to their shelter. She shared her story about her little boy, who is with his grandmother in countryside, where no public transport wasn’t going anymore. She couldn’t get to him, and his grandmother wasn’t able to get out of the village. Irina wanted to stay close to the border to wait for the possibility for her son to be delivered to her. Volunteers from Latvia at that shelter encouraged her come to Latvia, while they try work out how to get her sone to her. We started to look for the ways through Christian network to get her son to Polish border to his mom. We found the pastor, who were 400 km away from the village where boy with his grandmother was staying, he arranged that other Christians, who lived closer to grandmother to pick them up and bring them to the border.
Then we brought Irina to Ukraine border again. We arranged the volunteers to take her to Polish border. Irina was taken back to Chelm, there she understood that her mother can’t cross the border and leave the country, because she is nurse. Nurses need to stay in Ukraine to help, so our volunteers took her into Ukraine to meet the grandma and her son. Finally, they were able to see each other and go back to safety to Latvia, which will be their home till war is over and it is safe to return. This war has crushed so many lives in so short time – we hear those stories every day – family, mom with her 2 children, are calling us and asking to take her back to Polish border for weekend – to hold the memory service for her husband and father of her children, who have been killed.
Then we just found the way for 4 moms and their 4 small kids to get back to Ukraine – they feel it’s safer there now and they want to be back reunited with their husbands and families. It’s hard for us to let them go because of their safety and hard for them to stay and see what’s going on there.
It’s stories like that every day… but we are glad we can help, protect and do something to stand against the evil. Thank you for your prayers and support. We passing on.
CCX Ukraine staff team - this picture has been taken before war
We would appreciate your prayers also for student ministry which is continue in the light of war and we keep bringing hope trough Jesus to people whom do not know him.
I will have quite intensive two following weeks.
Today I have arrived in Poland - Krakow, where we are meeting with Formacion planning team until Monday May 2, plan student leaders training conference which will take place in July 30 - August 5th, after 2,5 years not able meet face to face we will do that.
Monday May 2, I'm meeting on zoom with CCX Ukraine staff team, to find out more how they doing as a team and try find way to support them. They are quite tired, emotionally and spiritually and try figure out what is student ministry looks like during war. I don't have unswears, but encouraged that they want to meet with me. Your prayers much appreciated.
Then from May 2 - 5 we will run YSN / Young Staff Network/ Meeting first time after 2,5 years in zoom face to face with 20 staff from 18 Europe countries. For some of them feels a bit strange to be traveling again, but also a real privilege to be meeting together face to face. Many of the staff feel nervous, but also excited at the thought of being together. We'll be studying Philippians together and thinking about how to continue serving with joy in the midst of uncertain circumstances.
Also I'm meeting in Poland with two staff from Ukraine whom I asked to pray in the early stage of war. Olena and Brian Welch. We want to work out way how to help staff in Ukraine and what that could look like in a long run
Then from May 5 - 7 in Warsaw I will be meeting with IFES Polish movement staff team and board and try work out how the ministry for them could look like in curent situation whne they work alote with refugies and also in close cooperation with CCCX Ukraine.
Then from May 9 - 13 I will be in Thessalonica where we will run IFES Europe GS meeting.
First meeting for 40 national leaders of IFES Europe movements since 2018. Many of them have not seen face to face each other.
Your prayers much appreciated, thank you for being with us in this challenging journey.
Igors & Nora (pictured below)
If you would like to support us financially, please make checks payable to IFES/USA, and designate to
“IFES – Igors Rautmanis” and mail to IFES/USA
PO Box 46007
Madison, WI 53744
By electronic funds transfer or recurring credit card: you can download the necessary form at www.ifesworld.org/give
By one-time credit card: give online at www.ifesworld.org/give
Igors & Nora– our Outreach partners with International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, based in Latvia has been sending regular updates regarding the humanitarian crisis and how they and their ministry partners have been able to respond. Here is Igors’ latest report:
Story from border of Moldova
This week we wanted to tell the story of fantastic story of God's work we were part of:
After some weeks of the war, we have received several requests from different people who asked if there is any way for Ukrainian refugees who fled to Moldova to get to Latvia. Moldova is one of the border countries with Ukraine, it is twice smaller when Latvia, they are struggling economically, they are not part of European Union, but they have taken in many thousands of refugees in their families and country, but they physically don’t have any place for people there.
Nora contacted Latvian Embassy in Moldova and asked, how they see situation and if they are willing to help to identify people who wants to go to Latvia and perhaps organize a group of such people. From our side we were willing to find a bus and finance this trip to pick up people from Moldova. But Kristine, Embassy worker refused, she said that they are only 2 people in Embassy, they are overwhelmed already, and she is not able to do that. But during a day she started to receive messages, calls from people in Latvia and Ukraine, who begged her for a help. She broke down emotionally, called me back and said that she is willing to organize the refugee group of Ukrainians, who are willing to go to Latvia.
We found a company Ventspils reiss, whose drivers were experienced enough and willing to go to Moldova, since this is a trip 3 days and 3 nights long trip in one direction with very complicated roads in Rumania, where it is still 1 meter high snow, mountain roads and blizzard. The private company in the same municipality agreed to sponsor this trip.
We understood that we need to fill up the bus with all kind of humanitarian donations – since we find out we are going on Friday, but bus already left Latvia early morning on Sunday, churches in Riga and local people in municipality of Ventspils brought everything they could for the refugee camps in Moldova during Saturday. We filled up the bus in a day with food, hygiene products, diapers, medicine products, blankets, batteries –everything we knew they would need there. We bought food, blankets, toys for people on their way back.
We had to organize the papers for customs, and Ventspils municipality were willing to make those, sign even in Saturday. We also had to find a person who would be willing to go with drivers to Moldova and take care of them on the way back – find a place where they could stop, eat stay over. And just in the couple of hours we got a call from the best possible person for such trip – Andrej. He is a pastor of the biggest Russian speaking church here, he himself is Ukrainian and has relatives in Moldova. He has a gift of organizing and leading big groups of people, but he also notices each person separately. He was away from Latvia, and as soon as he landed and got the message, that we need somebody, who will go with this bus, he agreed to go.
Family of 23 people. Dad with 7 of his own children with guardianship of others
wanted to go to his relative in Latvia.
We brought 49 refugees (mostly children) from Moldova.
Through Igors' contacts from England, we found Christian refugee camp in Moldova, where we could leave all the Humanitarian Aid, on the way back we found the Hungarian and Polish Lutheran Diaconian Refugee camps, where people on the way back could eat and sleep over. Christian network works!
Of course, many things changed and didn’t get as planned, it took even 24 hours longer then planed to get to Moldova, but they got there and were able to get all the 45, even 49, because a private car joind the bus. Latvian embassy worker ended up to call police, since cars didn’t want to let the bus through. Police ended up escorting a bus through Kishinev, capital of Moldova.
One of the families we took was a family of 23 people. Dad with 7 of his own kids with guardianship of others wanted to go to his relative in Latvia. When the company, who sponsored this trip, found out about them, they got in touch with his Latvian relatives and promised to stand behind them – to take care of them in long ran, as long as it is needed.
The Embassy worker, Kristine, who helped to organize all this – admitted that it was right thing to do – since an embassy did that – fathers, whose families we were taking to Latvia were ready to trust us. She followed up all the way back for a bus. And at the end she wrote – it was fantastic work of humanity!
Those people will be safe and well cared here. God protect their fathers, sons, husbands, who stayed to fight!
Thank you for your prayers and support!
It means a lot. In Latvia we have 100 000 refugees from Ukraine, mainly female and small kids. Now the challenge hosting them and helping them with accommodations and day to day needs.
Next week I'm going to Ireland meet with regional team, to think strategically how we can support neighbor countries with Ukraine which are helping with refugees.
Thank you for being with us and people from Ukraine.
Igors & Nora