Boundless Charity

Romanian Christians and Churches welcome Ukrainian refugees

It’s bitterly cold as we approach the Romanian-Ukrainian border early this morning. Cars are parked on both sides of the street as people wait anxiously for their friends and family members to arrive. We are witnessing many scenes of gratitude and tearful reunions, amidst the pain. But not everyone crossing the border this Saturday morning is embraced by relieved relatives. There are exhausted mothers who have little more with them than their children’s backpacks, and isolated men who may not yet be sure whether their flight (due to their dual citizenship) is a blessing or a betrayal of their own country. Smiling children rejoice in the new adventure their mothers have promised them to try and protect them from the reality of the situation.

An Overwhelming Reception

But they are all overwhelmed by the reception they experience on the Romanian side. Samaritan’s Purse are supporting a range of Aid organisations, volunteers and Christians who are ready to give them warm tea, food, water and other supplies.

“Do you know where to go? Do you need somewhere to sleep or someone to drive you somewhere?” asks Cornel Haureș, who often has the first contact with the refugees. The pastor has been helping at the border on a voluntary basis for two days now – he sleeps in his car at night so that nobody really has to travel on without help.

"Lucky Ones"

“We see a lot of people – especially women and children – who come crying and try to find somewhere to live,” he tells us and then turns to the next family and asks where they want to go.

Most of those who are currently arriving are among the “lucky ones” who are only passing through because they have relatives in Poland, Germany or Italy. ”They left their country on time because they knew where they were going,” says Bogdan, one of the volunteers.

“Half A Million Refugees”

“But we expect a much larger wave of refugees of up to half a million people in the next few weeks. These are the desperate ones running away from war not knowing where they will end up. And they will then stay here in the region.”

Romanian Christians Help

But if one thing becomes clear, it is that the Romanian Christians are getting ready to take in the refugees who have no relatives in the West.

Sebastian Mariniuc, head of the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child in Romania and head of the Romanian aid organisation Pentru Tine has already had a mattress camp set up in his association’s premises. A homeowner we met yesterday also wants to take in a family. Church leaders and pastors are liaising to decide how they can best support the expected streams of refugees.

“Life in Romania is not easy. 49 percent of my income goes to the state in taxes. And yet we will help these people,” explains Sebastian Mariniuc, through whom we have seen the life-changing effects of Operation Christmas Child in his country over the past week and through whom we are now experiencing the incredible networking and hospitality of the Romanian churches and Christians.


As Samaritan’s Purse, we stand behind these Christians who meet the refugees from Ukraine with open arms and boundless hospitality. And as they set up camps, distribute food, drive exhausted families to the nearest town, listen, serve tea and share the comfort and hope of God, we support them in prayer and giving.


Responding to the Crisis in Ukraine

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