Minnesota nonprofits, missionaries help Ukrainian refugees

Minnesotans are in Eastern Europe following the Russian attack on Ukraine to help by providing relief to refugees.

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Thousands of refugees are rushing to borders to flee Ukraine. Bethany International missionaries are waiting for them on the other side.

One team based in Hungary at the border aims to give refugees relief.

“We have more than 20,000 refugees coming in a day,” Norbert Ban, Bethany International missionary, said. “We are here to give them hope and pray with them. What they don’t have is peace.”

Ban has ties to Minnesota. He lived in the state for 20 years with his family.

The team is working with local Hungarian churches to feed, house and clothe refugees fleeing Ukraine with no place to go.

“The situation is pretty bad, 20 people in one room. They need to be fed. We are there to help with the kids,” Ban said.

He said they’re helping about 200 refugees per day.

Missionaries on the ground explained there’s nearly a 20-hour wait for anyone crossing the border from Ukraine into Hungary.

Katie Knoepke is a Bethany Global University intern stationed in Hungary helping with relief efforts.

“There’s a lot of people in a small space and a lot going on because they don’t know when they’re going home or if they’re going home,” she said.

The Russian invasion triggered a rapid response with organizations all over the world springing into action to give refugees some relief.

“We’re just so thankful of the opportunity to go and in a practical way show God’s love to these people that are hurting, that are lost and are not knowing what to do,” Dan Germo, Bethany International mission director, said.

Bethany International, a Bloomington-based organization, has served people around the world since 1948.

Leaders said sending a team to help refugees was a no-brainer.

“It’s what God’s called us to do,” Germo said.

Ban calls it his purpose: Finding hope in the midst of chaos.

“Pray for us and support the work. Pray for peace,” Ban said.

Bethany International is raising money to fund these efforts. Click here for more details.