[Photo Courtesy of the Trans-European Division]

General Conference

Adventist Churches in Poland Serving as Places of Refuge

“The family is getting bigger,” said Marek Micyk

Poland | Dejan Stojkovic and ADRA Europe, with tedNEWS

Seventh-day Adventist churches in Poland are becoming shelters for Ukrainian refugees. The Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) in Poland is working in cooperation with the local churches and a large number of volunteers to show solidarity with refugees from Ukraine.

“It was absolutely beautiful to see this church and the work they are doing,” said Dejan Stojkovic, Trans-European Division Youth director, reflecting on his ongoing visit to the Rzeszów and Przemysl Adventist churches in Poland. “To come back from the border with Ukraine and start a Sabbath with the volunteers and the refugees is very special,” he remarked.

[Photo Courtesy of the Trans-European Division]

[Photo Courtesy of the Trans-European Division]

Marek Micyk, Polish Union Conference Youth director, also felt moved by the experience and palpable solidarity. “I like this picture we are creating… to see that even amid disaster, we have family everywhere. Those people that are coming, we do not know them yet, but we know already that we are family. The family is getting bigger.”

Both leaders urged church members to continue praying and supporting relief efforts. “As a second Sabbath just started, while the war is raging in Ukraine, we are grateful for these volunteers and pray for ways to brighten the corners of the world where we live,” said Stojkovic.

Can I Hug You?

Michael Peach joined the ADRA team in Poland all the way from sunny Australia. At night, when he was supporting people fleeing Ukraine, he met an elderly lady who touched his heart. “As we stood shivering at the border, an old lady walked up to my colleague, gave her a big hug, burst into tears, and said, ‘THANK YOU’. We hadn’t done anything, but we were the first friendly faces she’d seen in a while,” Peach shared.

[Photo Courtesy of the Trans-European Division]

[Photo Courtesy of the Trans-European Division]

“The people of Poland have literally opened their homes to their neighbors fleeing Ukraine; it is a beautiful thing,” Peach continued. “At midnight, it’s -5° Celsius, and thousands of women, children, and pets are crossing the border with no real certainty. Some have relatives waiting for them, but most board buses to reception centers where they can be linked with a Polish host family. This week, ADRA has been providing blankets, petrol (the nearest petrol station is 100 km from the border), and USB power banks.”

In Search of Peace

It is estimated that 1–2 million Ukrainians already live in Poland. Many fled in 2014 after the takeover of Crimea and the beginning of the war in Eastern Ukraine. And now, so far, at least 900,000 Ukrainians have gone to Poland1

1  https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukrainians-fleeing-fighting-arrive-poland-record-numbers-2022-03-06/

This article was originally published on the Trans-European Division’s news site