Ukraine: The CottonTales Project

By March 31, 2016
(Photo courtesy SGA)

(Photo courtesy SGA)

Ukraine (SGA) — Because of the horrific violence in eastern Ukraine, thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes for other parts of the country.

To help evangelical churches minister to these devastated individuals and families, Slavic Gospel Association created the Crisis Evangelism Fund (CEF). To date, several tons of aid–including food, clothing, mattresses, bed linens, and other help–has been distributed to the refugees through local churches. Many opportunities for the Gospel have been created.

There is a new opportunity to help refugee women get back on their feet and provide for their children. Through SGA’s new CottonTales Project, refugee women are creating beautifully-crocheted forest animals and colorful, Ukrainian-style kitchen aprons. They are helping to provide for their families in a productive way. Volunteer coordinator Katey Laird explains:

Our family was still in Ukraine last fall, and we were housing a refugee family in our home. As we saw their needs firsthand, we also kept hearing about all the thousands of refugees fleeing to our region (in Odessa). We met others as well. Forced out of their homes or jobs (usually both) by the ongoing conflict, each of these women has a tale to tell. They are tales of tragedy and loss, tales of financial ruin, and tales of ongoing hardship, uncertainty, and anxiety in the midst of a Ukrainian economy in shambles.

It occurred to me that a crochet hook and ability was something nearly all of these refugee women had in common. The CottonTales Project provides a way for these women to have supplemental work between shifts in the meager-paying jobs they have struggled to find, wherever they are. Often, they are treated as unwelcome outsiders somehow to blame for the strife in the east and the ruin of the local economy. This social atmosphere is a backdrop up against which the Church can make a big difference, shining the love of Christ brightly to these hurting ladies.

The highest goal of CottonTales is that, by the mercy and grace of God, each woman’s “tale” will be FLOODED with the light of the knowledge of God and His…very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

I love the description by the Apostle Paul of how salvation transforms a life, reminding us to be “ready for every good deed, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves…. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us…by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:1-7).

What a beautiful thing it would be if each of these women’s hearts was filled with this hope!

(Photo courtesy SGA)

(Photo courtesy SGA)

SGA is passionate about working through local churches to reach out to these families. Through this project, believing and unbelieving refugees are brought into close contact with local believers in their new cities of refuge. The churches long to show compassion yet without creating dependence, and through the CottonTales Project, part-time work creating these crocheted animals is provided. SGA can reach even greater numbers of people and help them get back on their feet at the same time.

Spread the word about this exciting project. In a way, it is a tangible show of the love of Christ to refugees.

To donate, visit http://www.sga.org/donate, select the Crisis Evangelism Fund option, and in the “Comments or Instructions” section, advise how many bunnies (boy or girl), tigers (boy or girl), moose, or aprons (child or adult) that you would like.

 

One Comment

  • Gloria Burns says:

    I volunteer for an agency that works with adopted children from Ukraine. We may be interested in purchasing some of the toys or aprons mentioned in this article. Please send me more information.

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