Jim Wilson, an elder at Tayside Christian Fellowship (TCF) and his wife, Carolyn recently welcomed a Ukrainian family into their home. Jim explains what ‘stepping up for Ukraine’ has meant for them:
There are times in life when we are exposed to national and global issues where you want to be more involved in helping as well as asking God to sort these same issues. Famines, wars, natural disasters all come to mind.
So when the Russian attack on Ukraine broke out on our door step and a call for help was raised, Carolyn and I both felt that here was something we could directly be part of and get our hands “dirty”. We also felt that this is something that Jesus did as part of his mission here on earth.
There were government channels that could be followed to be hosts to Ukranian families looking to escape from the fighting, bombs, imprisonment and even death, but our opportunity arose through our links with our friends at the Church of the Nazarene in Perth. As an organisation they had sister churches based in that area who were on the front line as it were being asked more and more to provide help for these people.
Our initial family that had been allocated to us was a family of four including an eighteen-month-old child. After a little reflection we asked if we could change this family for another, primarily because Carolyn and I both work quite long hours and generally need some good sleep, so with the possibility of someone crying through the night we felt it would suit us better to make this change although an element of feeling ’bad’ about this did cross our minds.
The families coming through this programme had mainly a church background but our new family, a mother and daughter, did not have this connection. This made no difference to us. We simply wanted to help people in need and had the ability to open and share our house with them.
Carolyn still does help filling out forms etc for this family but was constantly sitting at the table every night during the initial 3-4 weeks organising them for this new temporary life in the UK, a minimum of 6 months was the commitment. That was hard going. Many nights I would arrive home at 9 o’clock or later and there they were with google translate trying to sort things out!
They are a very pleasant family. They came to TCF (Tayside Christian Fellowship) on occasion but not understanding English was a huge barrier. They did comment very positively about the music.
Carolyn has been more able and available to do other things with them and generally tried to look after them as best as possible. I think we have learned something more about different cultures, how we think, how we react to things when they are not done the same way as we would do, like me and the dishwasher, but the bigger picture we think is that we have helped to save lives whilst at the same time doing something that Jesus would have done.