Robertsdale pastors take local relief to help Ukrainian refugees

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 8:12 PM CST
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ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WALA) - Two pastors from a Baldwin County church have been near the Ukrainian border in Moldova since this weekend. First Baptist Church of Robertsdale has a long-standing partnership with a church there and is committed to helping in any way it can.

The thousands of refugees flooding over the border from Ukraine to Moldova are desperate, cold and hungry. Fox 10 News first introduced you to Pastor Jeff Copeland and his team a week ago as they prepared for a relief trip to the region. Holy Trinity Christian Center in Cuhurestii de Sus, Moldova is a 20-year and longest standing partner church of First Baptist Church of Robertsdale and church leaders here knew sending prayers alone wasn’t enough.

“When we met them, they literally showed us pictures of shelves in stores with nothing on it,” Pastor Copeland said of the refugees he’s met. “They were empty of food and the people in the entire region were very hungry and didn’t know how they were going to eat.”

Images of empty grocery store shelves shared with Pastor Copeland illustrate the dire need of...
Images of empty grocery store shelves shared with Pastor Copeland illustrate the dire need of fleeing Ukrainians(Pastor Jeff Copeland, First Baptist Church of Robertsdale)

After a long flight and then, road trip across Romania, Copeland and Family Pastor, Josh Lilly arrived in Moldova, where the money people in Baldwin and Mobile counties donated has already paid to provide food and medical supplies for hundreds of Ukrainian refugees. It has also paid to fix a sewer system in one of the major shelters there. It would have otherwise been shut down, leaving people in the cold.

“Everywhere we went, we just got hugs and tears,” Copeland said during an interview from Holy Trinity Christian Center Tuesday, March 8, 2022. “They couldn’t believe that we came, that they were so happy that we came and that was one part of the mission. We wanted them to know that we were with them, not just in prayers from a distance.”

Copeland said the reality witnessed at the border has been tough.

“Just to see them holding everything they own. The look on their faces. Just such pain and suffering,” recalled Copeland.

Pastors Copeland and Lilly have each posted video updates from the region on the Service Ukraine Facebook page. Copeland said the outpouring of support from the gulf coast has been tremendous and is making a real difference.

“This is one of the greatest outpourings of support that we’ve ever had, and we need it and it’s been a blessing because we got here and the needs are just so vast, but yet we’ve been able to meet many of them thanks to the generosity of folks that’s watching your news station and we’re grateful for that,” Copeland said.

Pastor Josh Lilly will stay in the region for two weeks while Copeland makes his way home at the end of the week. The need for financial support is great, just so the basic needs of the refugees can be met. The church and its partners have set up the Facebook page, Serve Ukraine where you can find a link to donate to the cause.