Franklin Church helps Ukrainian refugees in Moldova
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WSMV) – Some Tennessees are on the ground in Europe helping Ukrainian refugees.
Some members of Rolling Hills Community Church in Williamson County Church have people helping in Moldova, a country bordering Ukraine
The church said it wanted to step in and help through Justice and Mercy International; a non-profit organization that the church started.
News 4’s Tosin Fakile spoke with Chris Hardy and Rachel Trammel in Moldova who has been in Moldova for several days via Zoom. Both are from Nashville and they said their place of stay was about a 2-hour drive from the Ukraine-Moldova border.
Both Hardy and Trammel said they felt it was necessary to be in Moldova to help and they described the atmosphere in the small country as one of sadness and fear.
“We started seeing the news of this crisis on television and said we had to go help,” said Rachel Trammel, a member of Rolling Hills Church and a volunteer with Justice and Mercy International.
“We knew our staff were giving their lives serving these refugees from Ukraine and we felt we couldn’t allow them to do it all on their own. And we had to be there to support them,” said Chris Hardy, member of Rolling Hills Church and volunteer with Justice and Mercy International.
They can help through Justice and Mercy International. Their help comes in the form of essential resources to keep Ukrainian refugees warm and comfortable.
“We provide them with resources. Food, hygiene supplies like toothbrushes. Some of them have left home and have nothing. So we prove hygiene supplies, food, blankets, bedding heaters, whatever they might need for shelter and warmth,” Hardy said. “We are also working to provide resources to a refugee camp we were in yesterday so far they have seen 900 refugees pass through this camp,” he added.
Senior Pastor Jeff Simmons of Rolling Hills Community Church said the church is no stranger to Moldova. Through Justice and Mercy International, they have been helping Moldova for over 15 years and have about 40 people on the ground.
“We have four halfway houses through Justice and Mercy International that we’ve turned into refugee sites that they help incoming refugees,” said Jeff Simmons, senior pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church.
“There are about 30 churches we work with that are hosting refugees,” Hardy said from the ground in Moldova.
Hardy and Trammel work with Alina Magdaliuc, a Moldovan who works with the association. Magdaliuc said they were in disbelief when the Russian invasion began in Ukraine.
“Then we saw people coming and it was difficult because only women and children could cross the border. And it’s hard. They have to leave everything behind. They have to leave their husbands, their fathers, their brothers , their homes. Everything they have. They leave that behind and they come,” said Alina Magdaliuc, Justice and Mercy International Country Director for Moldova.
Magdaliuc said getting to the border was no small feat for Ukrainian refugees.
“Many of them walk on foot because they don’t have transport. Some of them wait in line for 10 hours or more carrying their children and the things they wanted to take with them. That’s why some of them, when they get here, are very sick because it’s snowing in Moldova this week, Magdaliuc said.
“We decided we wanted to make a difference. This is not the time to try to evacuate, this is the time to engage. As a church, as Justice and Mercy International, that’s what we immediately thought of. is how can we help, can we make a difference right now,” Pastor Simmons said.
Nashville volunteers helping in Moldova shared some of the stories of refugees in the camps
“I spoke to this young woman who was 3 months away from completing her undergraduate studies in Odessa Ukraine and now she has no idea what her future looks like,” Trammel said.
“We met a 16-year-old boy, and he was out of the country with his site when the war broke out, and his parents, mum, dad and brother, are still in Odessa. And now he is in a refugee camp with his sister all alone. And I think the burden we carry is just overwhelming,” Hardy said.
“It’s heavy. I think heavy is the main word that I will use even more than sad because the need is so great and we just want to do whatever we can to alleviate that need,” Trammel said.
People can donate to Justice and Mercy International to help efforts in Moldova. Here is the link to do so: https://justiceandmercy.org/
Copyright 2022 WSMV. All rights reserved.