Thirty Ukrainian members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are stranded in Kansas City after their country was invaded while they attended an FCA conference in San Antonio last month. The organization brought the Ukrainians to Kansas City, where they now are staying with local families, Fox 4 News reported.
The FCA, which has offices in 105 nations, has a strong presence in Ukraine. Andriy Kraftsov, who leads ministry in Ukraine and Russia, said 13 members decided to bring their families with them to the conference. They learned about the invasion from television news.
“The first feeling was guilt that we’re here and our friends are dying and our cities destroyed,” he said. Kraftsov’s wife and five sons, ages 10 to 19, are staying with Dan Britton, FCA’s chief field officer and coach of Ukraine’s national lacrosse team.
“Suddenly, we realized we had an issue on our hands long term,” Britton said. “What happens? Do they go back, can they go back? Just being in Ukraine in December and fast forward to now and see what’s happen just breaks my heart.”
Kraftsov recently traveled to the Ukrainian-Polish border to help his mother flee the war-torn country. “The way they welcomed Ukrainians with open arms when the train comes in and all these people get out, kids and moms and dogs, it was impressive,” he said.
Now back in Kansas City, he and the other Ukrainians are holding Bible studies through Zoom with coaches and athletes stuck in their homes with bombs going off around them. The mission is not just to survive but to serve. “People want to go back to rebuild their city, rebuild their families and continue to rebuild their lives,” Kraftsov said.
The FCA has established a Ukrainian Crisis Relief Fund that has raised nearly $300,000 in just two weeks to help Ukrainians stranded here and trying to start over elsewhere in Europe.
“It’s been really amazing to see the local Kansas City region step up,” Britton said. “We’ve had churches host meals and be able to provide fellowship for them and encouragement.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice