“We are partnering with YWAM [Youth with a Mission] in Ukraine to give refugees a safe place to stop, sleep, eat, and rest, and help them find a safe way to get out west,” he added. “We have many groups coming in every day and are bracing for hundreds, even thousands, more.”
People can help them in multiple ways, he said: by praying and interceding, donating, and providing humanitarian aid, especially medical help.
Melnichuk comes from a Protestant background, he told CNA. While he himself is not Roman Catholic, he said that he “cherish[es] the rich history of Christ’s church, including it’s Catholic story.”
Both of his parents emigrated from Ukraine to the U.S., where they met and he grew up, he revealed in an online testimony in 2016. He later returned to the country as a missionary and has lived there for two and a half years. And, it seems, he and his wife have no plans to leave even as they help others escape.
“Our phones are slammed,” he wrote in a Facebook post on March 3. “We are getting hit with the first actual stream of refugees beginning the exodus out of crisis cities. The first wave was just a trickle compared to this. We’re doing our best to find answers and solutions.”
“Please pray for us to do this well,” he asked. “We need the grace of God.” In the meantime, he added, “I choose to keep smiling.”
“It is an honor to follow Jesus in a time like this,” he said in another post Wednesday. “Every day groups come in and we see the tired and shocked faces of people who have left everything behind and don’t know what lies ahead of them.”
“I have seen the church in Ukraine and around the world become one living body,” he said. “No labels or tag — just one purpose: love as we have been loved by God in Christ Jesus.”
Former Washington, D. C., correspondent Katie Yoder covered pro-life issues, the U.S. Catholic bishops, public policy, and Congress for Catholic News Agency. She previously worked for Townhall.com, National Review, and the Media Research Center.