One year of war in Ukraine – reflection and thanks

A message from UPF President Joe Privott

February 2023

Dear Friends,

One year ago, on February 24, 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine created the greatest crisis in Europe since World War II. Millions of Ukrainians are refugees living out-of-country or are displaced in their own homeland. The war’s impact has been felt worldwide and no one can predict when this terrible atrocity will end.

But… in the midst of this darkness, Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary (UBTS), with the support of UPF and people like you, has been privileged to share the light and hope of the Gospel throughout Ukraine. Guided by the resolute leadership of UBTS President Slavik Pyzh, a selfless team of staff, students, and alumni have been delivering material and spiritual aid to tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people since the day the war began.

Their actions are guided by the Seminary’s BMA core values: Biblical (love God and your neighbor), Missional (serve unbelievers and believers), and Accountable (understand and be committed to your calling). This is more than humanitarian work – it’s Kingdom work that your prayers and gifts make possible.

Last February, your gifts to the Emergency Fund enabled UBTS to open a refugee center at the Seminary in L’viv. And then you helped thousands of women, children, and elders reach safety in Poland and beyond. You stepped up again with generous support when UBTS began transporting food and supplies to other areas of Ukraine that desperately needed humanitarian relief.

Most recently, your gifts to the Winter Survival Fund, which were fully matched, provided generators and other life-saving provisions to help Ukrainians endure harsh winter weather – often without heat, electricity, or water.

These and other acute needs will continue long after the fighting ceases. So, we are now establishing WeCare Centers all across Ukraine. These are nonprofit, non-governmental platforms (NGOs) where local and international organizations work together to rebuild communities with a Gospel Kingdom mindset. They are led by local UBTS-trained leaders, with oversight by UBTS and American experts to assure integrity and efficiency. These centers of help and hope are crucial now and will play an even more important role in restoring communities when the war ends.

Supporting WeCare Centers that are locally managed and operated with high standards for integrity and accountability is a unique opportunity for philanthropic-minded people to maximize the impact of their gifts to Ukraine.

The UPF Board has great confidence in Slavik’s strategic leadership and values his heart for training Christian leaders and strengthening local churches. The UBTS team has always served with integrity, skill, and creativity.

Notwithstanding the challenges of Covid, and now the war, enrollment at UBTS has grown every single year since Slavik became president. Tuition has been waived for most current students, who are unable to pay this expense due to the war.

The UBTS core values, developed to guide Seminary education in a time of peace, are being strengthened and activated throughout Ukraine in the crucible of war – impacting more people than we ever could have imagined.

The UBTS team has truly become the hands and feet of Jesus, extending His love, care, and compassion to people in their time of greatest need. We believe God is at work. In the midst of this great evil of war, the seeds for rebirth and revival are being sown.

To say “Thank You” seems inadequate to express our deep gratitude for the prayers and gifts you have made. Be assured that your financial support is always gratefully accepted and prudently used to achieve the most needed and effective outcomes.

Finally, we must also thank the tireless volunteers who are UPF. We have no office or employees, and minimal overhead. Essentially every dollar contributed to UPF goes directly to fund activities on the ground in Ukraine.

Thank you. Thank you, friends and benefactors. Thank you, UPF volunteers. And especially, thank you to every member of the UBTS team.

May we all continue to support the Kingdom work of the UBTS team in the uncertain days ahead. And may
we continue to pray for the “big miracle” that will bring this horrible war to an end.

UPF Board of Directors

W. Joseph Privott – Retired President & CEO
Novus International, Inc.
J. Cliff Eason – Retired President & CEO
Southwestern Bell Division, ATT
Suzanne Galvin, Esq. – Partner
Thompson Coburn LLP
William Jefferis – Chairman of the Board
T-Net International
Jeffrey Klopfenstein – Retired Business Unit President
Novus International, Inc.
Thomas O. McCarthy, Esq. Managing Partner
McMahon Berger, P. C.
Walter Polowczak – Co-founder & Retired President
Nebo Systems, Inc.
Scott E. Reed – Retired Chief Financial Officer
BB&T Corporation
John Smith – Retired Vice President
Southwestern Bell Division, ATT
Tony Vermillion – Retired Vice President, Global Security
John White – Retired President
Kairos Private Equity Fund
Retired President, CEO and Chair
Haemonetics Corporation