A Waynesboro pastor will head to his home country of Slovakia Monday to offer aid to refugees at the border fleeing the war-torn country of Ukraine.
“The church council gave me two weeks humanitarian leave to provide pastoral counseling and translating,” said the Rev. Drahus Oslik, associate pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Waynesboro. “The Ukranians speak Ukrainian which is not Russian and a lot speak English. Slovakian is close to the Ukrainian language, but not as close as say Irish English to American English. They still need help translating.”
“My home (Lutheran) congregation in Pribelce (about 180 miles from the border) has reached out for financial support. The congregation is taking in 10 individuals which will be housed at the church center and there are several additional families, including my parents, who are opening their homes to host the refugees in need,” said Oslik, who also served as pastor of a church in Slovakia about 50 miles from the border of Ukraine.
Members of ELC received letters from Oslik as well as Pastor Zuzana Alcnauerova of his home church requesting prayers and support. “The congregational motto (at my home church in Slovakia) for this year is, ‘Be the gift to others.’ As Pastor Zuzana wrote, ‘it has become quite a prophetic motto,’” he added.
“We don’t know how long the war will go on, but we know that the cost of human lives, and resources will be great. Any donation will help and every contribution will go directly to those in need without any administrative costs, according to Oslik. “We will be in direct contact with the church in Pribelce and will be receiving regular updates on the refugee situation.”
The Pribelce church is collecting clothes, food and hygiene products. “But we are also providing shelter for women and children. Ukrainian men had to stay there, to defend their homeland. All government, non-profit, and church organizations are helping as much as they can,” Alcnauerova said.
“It’s hard for me to write this letter, and hard for me to ask for help, but I do it on behalf of those who have nothing … not even freedom,” she added.
Those interested in helping with the effort can donate via check made to Evangelical Lutheran Church of Waynesboro, PA, (43 S. Church St.) with Ukrainian Refugees Fund in the memo line or at www.elchome.org through the Give Online link at the bottom of the home page by selecting Ukrainian Refugees Fund. “We will then wire the money directly to the Lutheran Church in Pribelce,” Oslik said.