FCA helping to provide shelter, transportation and more to help Ukrainians not just survive but share the Gospel
April 25, 2022
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Despite condemnation from other countries, Russia is continuing its assault on Ukraine, recently attacking the city of Mariupol and leaving nearly 20,000 Ukrainian citizens dead in the streets.
In light of these troubling events, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) is praying without ceasing for all Ukrainians who have been affected by the Russian invasion, including FCA coaches and athletes.
“We call on our brothers and sisters around the world to join us in prayer for everyone affected by this conflict,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “This is a time for unity as the body of Christ to share the Gospel and provide compassion and care to the Ukrainian people.”
One Ukrainian FCA coach, Vova, was forced to take his wife and three children out of their home and travel to Poland for their safety. As FCA’s Ukraine lacrosse director, Vova was determined to find out how his fellow FCA Ukraine staff fared and whether they were safe. He found that some had fled areas of fighting, some were serving in the military and others were scattered in surrounding countries.
“It’s hard to focus on God’s Word [at the moment],” Vova admitted. “My mind and heart desire it, but they are filled by all the activity and needs, like in Mariupol—300,000 people can’t drink water. They are cut off. You want to focus on God’s Word but are hit with bad news.”
He immediately went to work, asking his lacrosse community and their families about their needs and helping coordinate food, clothes and finances. He continued a virtual coaches Huddle and weekly leader calls with staff still in Ukraine and met with ministry partners to see what doors God may be opening during this time. Vova, who is also the president of the Ukraine Lacrosse Federation, hosted his first sports practice for the children staying at a refugee conference center on March 26. He, along with volunteers, collected nets, soccer balls, lacrosse goals and sticks and invited kids to the grass space around the center for a time of play, coaching and a devotion time.
“We don’t think as if we are refugees, but God’s warriors,” said Vova. “We’re here because God gives us these opportunities. We were in our own beds, and in one day we lost everything. It reminds us that we are on this earth for a short time. We have nothing, but we are where God has us.”
Vova concluded, “It’s a horrible situation for us, but I’m here so I speak the Gospel here. We pray to see God, not the problem.”
The FCA ministry in Ukraine was founded in 2009 and has grown to 22 Ukrainian staff in addition to 6 staff in the FCA Divisional Office who serve both Europe and Eurasia. When the war on Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, 14 FCA Ukraine staff and 16 family members were in the United States at FCA’s global conference, and 14 staff were still in Ukraine. Five of the staff in Ukraine were able to travel to Germany, Poland and Slovakia, while the remaining 8 staff and their families are still in Ukraine.
The 28 Ukrainian staff and family members who were in the U.S. when the war began are being supported near the FCA Support Center in Kansas City, Missouri until they can return to their homes which may likely be for a minimum of six months.
FCA’s ministry seeks to support coaches and athletes in their walk with God all around the world, including Ukraine. Through FCA, over 1,500 Bibles have been delivered to Ukrainian refugee camps in Poland to bring the light of Christ into the darkness of this crisis. FCA’s aim is to ultimately reach 80,000 coaches in Ukraine with the Gospel through FCA Huddles, Bibles, or other means.
For more information on how to help those affected, please view FCA’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.
FCA’s theme for 2022 is Every, based on Ephesians 1:3: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” FCAreminds Christian coaches and athletes that they already have everything they need in Christ and encourages them to seek Him both on and off the field.
After extensive growth, FCA has reached millions of people with the Gospel. View a timeline of FCA’s 68-year history here, including videos, quotes, articles, leader profiles, Camp themes, photos and more.