Texas Baptist Men sending more volunteers to Poland to help Ukraine refugees

The disaster in Ukraine is getting worse with an estimated 3 million people having fled the Russian invasion.

Many are walking across the border with Poland and into the arms of Texans who are experts in disaster relief.

A team from Texas Baptist Men will provide crucial backup to Polish churches taking in 400 Ukrainian refugees a day. 

And it was a quick turnaround for the volunteers. They just found out over the weekend that they will be boarding a plane Wednesday night. 

Rachel Jones is packed and ready for her flight to Poland.

"I have lots of socks and my warm fuzzy rain boots," she said.

The Plano mother of two says she’s guided by her faith as she embarks on a two-week mission to help Ukrainian refugees. 

Jones and nine other volunteers are the first large volunteer team Texas Baptist Men is sending to help with the humanitarian crisis on the Ukraine-Poland border. 

"We started hearing more and more difficult stories," she said. "I knew then the Lord was pressing on my heart to go."

Texas Baptist Men helping get people out of Ukraine safely

Within 48 hours, Jones’ flight was booked. 

John Hall with TBM is feeling jet-lagged after getting back from the Polish city of Chelm.  It is 15 miles from the Ukraine border. There, churches are taking in as many women and children as they can. 

For Ukrainian refugees, it’s the first step to finally feel safe. 

One week ago, Hall made the trip to assess how his team in Texas needs to prepare. 

"We will be mopping. We will be cleaning, washing, resetting beds and even toilets and showers," he said.

Hall met one woman who made the harrowing journey from Kyiv.

"She said to me, ‘We laid on the floor when the bombing started, waiting for death,’" he recalled.

Former FOX 4 Anchor Richard Ray is also one of the volunteers. He deployed to South Asia with TBM in 2005 after the deadly and destructive Indian Ocean tsunami. Now, he’s eager to help once again. 

"One of my favorite sayings has been to preach the Gospel always. When necessary, use words," he said. "We are going to go over there and show people the love of God, whatever language they speak."

As Russian forces continue to fire indiscriminately into civilian areas, casualties will mount and test the faith of those who have interrupted their lives to help the innocent.

"We stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. For those without a voice. We help the helpless," Jones said.

Some of the volunteers will be at churches. Others will be at a distribution center in Poland that sends supplies into Ukraine. 

TBM has a two-week rotating shift of volunteers. The first couple of teams are full, but there will be a need for others in the future. They will provide teams as long as help is needed.