KRAKOW, Poland—Rockwall resident Glenda Mitchell*, a Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief chaplain and assessor, leaves March 4 to join a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) from Send Relief en route to Poland to assist with the influx of Ukrainian refugees following Russian’s invasion.
Send Relief is the compassion ministry arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. The DART group will help Polish Baptists develop strategies for serving the refugees.
“They observe, lend a hand, and make suggestions regarding response plans,” SBTC DR Director Scottie Stice said, adding that SBTC DR will participate in future teams expected to be sent to minister in Europe during the crisis.
In addition to Mitchell, the initial DART crew includes one SBDR volunteer from Ohio and four from North Carolina, Stice confirmed. The team is expected to spend much of its time in the Krakow area.
“I am very excited about how God is going to use our team to help the people of Ukraine and to help Baptists in Poland minister to them,” Mitchell said. “It’s a privilege.”
The DART group’s arrival in Poland occurs in the wake of IMB President Paul Chitwood’s recent visit to Eastern Europe. In a video recorded along the Polish-Ukrainian border, Chitwood invited Southern Baptists to be part of the ministry there, Baptist Press reported on March 2.
“We’re here to minister to them in any way we can,” Chitwood said in the video. “We’re grateful for the prayers and the financial support of Southern Baptists to make possible us sharing help and hope in the name of Christ with those who are now displaced and refugees from their own homes.”
Baptist Press also reported that many IMB workers in Eastern Europe have been relocated out of the danger zone, but ministry continues. As of early March, the Polish Baptist Union has plans to house 1,000 refugees in designated centers.
The United Nations puts the current number of Ukrainian refugees in the hundreds of thousands, but that number could rise to as many as 4 million.
As the conflict escalates, Send Relief and its partners are preparing for further ministry, including food relief, shelter, and transportation.
Stice requested prayer for the DART group: “Please pray for this team as they seek to encourage and plan with Polish Baptists in their ministry to Ukrainian refugees.”
This article also contains reporting from Baptist Press.
* Name changed for security purposes.