The First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Santa Barbara has been holding nightly services this week to pray for Ukraine.
Many in the congregation, including the pastor himself, have family and friends in Ukraine.
“We gather together to pray to stop this bloody war. A lot of our family members are still there,” Pastor Michael Smiyun told the News-Press Wednesday. “Our relatives and friends are spending day and night in a bunker. Especially the children.
“We are praying to protect them. We are praying to God to give them wisdom for what to do for themselves and others,” Pastor Smiyun said. “We are also praying for their brothers in Christ to help them. Additionally, we are praying for wisdom for the Ukrainian president, to stop this evil from Russia, they are not listening to anyone, other presidents or countries.
“We believe God can do more than we can imagine,” he said. “According to the Bible, there are alot of miracles where God saved the nation of Israel and other nations. We are also praying for the U.S., and we are thankful for anyone who stands with us.
“We are also praying for Ukrainian refugees,” said Pastor Smiyun.
More than 500,000 Ukrianians have fled across their western border.
“They were living a normal life, and now they have basically nothing. We are also raising funds to purchase supplies for the refugees,” Pastor Smiyun said.
The First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Santa Barbara has a partnership with a European church. All funds raised go to a church in Germany, where the congregation purchases supplies for the refugees and takes the supplies to the border.
“Everyday we are calling close relatives and friends,” Pastor Smiyun said. “I personally know two families with a wife and children who have already fled across the border and are in Poland. Some families do not want to leave, but they must go into the bunker during the bomb sirens.”
Services at the First Ukrainian Evangelical Church are being held every night this week at 7 p.m., except Saturday when the service will be at 9 a.m. The church is located at 150 Pebble Hill Drive, Santa Barbara.
Pastor Smiyun said people who want to donate to the efforts for refugees can bring a check to the services.
He also told the News-Press that UCSB musicians will perform a concert in honor of Ukraine Tuesday at the church. He said UCSB has requested a suggested donation of $20.