• Lisa is on the run with her mother, grandmother and little dog Charly. | Photo: C4I
SOS Ukraine

‘I need to get rid of my fear first’

Rita Quartel - 22 March 2022

In the distance, the air raid alarm sounds. Ukraine. Since February 24, the scene of war and violence, resulting in millions of refugees. In the past weeks, Christians for Israel has already helped a several thousand Jews flee from the Land of the North and leave for Israel, and it is expected that many thousands more will follow in the coming weeks.

At this moment, I am standing on the Moldovan side of the border. It remains an surreal sight to see the refugees crossing the border. On foot, with their entire lives squeezed into one or two suitcases. In many cases they have had to say goodbye to their husbands, fathers, sons or brothers on the other side of the border. After all, men between 18 and 60 are not permitted to leave Ukraine.

Resting place

It is freezing cold. In a small building rented by a local evangelical church, all the refugees receive coffee, tea, food, warmth, and, if they wish, help with the next step. For Koen Carlier and the groups of Jewish refugees this place has now become a resting place as well. Before the long drive to Kishenev or Bucharest begins, they are able to recover a bit with coffee and something to eat.

Maxim, who coordinates the work in the building, now knows Koen well. The team of volunteers (from about 120 evangelical churches across the country) not only provide coffee and tea, but often also arrange packed lunches for our groups, ordered in advance by Koen. The evangelical church started renting the small building that is located almost directly across the border six months ago and is now using it 24/7 to offer some comfort to the numerous refugees. (Maxim: “The Lord knew what was going to happen”). And this is much needed, because the distress is great. Some people cry, others stare blankly ahead. A five-year-old boy screams continuously. He cries out for his father. Most of them have no idea where to go or how to make the journey to another European country. I realize how special it is that we are not only able to take care of the Jewish refugees and help them leave Ukraine, but that we can also offer them the perspective of a new and at the same time ancient homeland! A land that has been promised to them by God Himself.


As we (Sergey and Ruslan from the Christians for Israel Ukraine team and I) are taking care of some logistical matters, we encounter a fleeing Jewish couple with their father. They were temporarily taken in by a Christian family in the border town. They did not know Christians for Israel. The host family will provide their own transportation to Kishenev. Back at our ‘resting place’ we ran into another Jewish couple. Volodymyr (71) and Tetiana (64) fled their hometown near Kiev. They could no longer cope with the constant air raid and the fear of what was to come. Living on the eighth floor of an apartment building with no elevator, they had to run time and again to get to the shelter, a big problem for Volodymyr who is struggling with his knees. Their daughter already lives in Israel and she advised them to leave everything behind and come to Israel as soon as possible.

Volodymyr and Tetiana. | Photo: C4I

We offer them a ride to a shelter close to our base a little further south, where a hot meal awaits them and where they can spend the night. They gratefully accept our offer. Two days later they will take one of our buses to Kishenev and from there to Israel, a country they visited many times before but until now had never considered their own homeland. This has now changed for good.


At the shelter we meet Florentine (34) and her daughter Lisa (13) with their dog Charly. Florentine’s mother (62) is also there, but she is still too upset to speak to us. Also Lisa prefers not to talk and finds comfort in her dog. An image that will linger in our minds for a long time. Florentine tells us that she is a dentist from Vinnitsa and went to the border on her own initiative, because she wanted to leave as quickly as possible. Through friends from Ashdod (Israel) she heard about the shelter in Moldova. The war left its marks. She is terrified, and above all she wants to offer her mother and daughter a safe place. As a Jew, she hopes to find this safe haven in Israel. She doesn’t want to think too much about the future. “I have to get rid of my fear first.” Florentine says she has always enjoyed working as a dentist, but adds, somewhat bitterly, “I have a long vacation now”. Florentine, Lisa and Grandma also join us on our next bus to Kishenev.

Florentine and Lisa (with their dog Charly) | Photo: C4I


“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth”
Isaiah 43:5-6

Our bus

In the coming days and weeks, once again hundreds of Jewish refugees will desperately need our help as they flee Ukraine and leave for Israel. We purchased our own second-hand bus in Ukraine, in order to make transportation from our central shelter in Ukraine as efficient as possible to ensure that we can help as many people as possible in the best possible way. Renting busses was getting more expensive and now with our own volunteer drivers, we are able to drive non-stop daily from our shelter to the Moldovan border, where three buses from the Romanian bus company we hired take over and take the refugees to Kishenev for a direct flight to Tel Aviv.

Our own bus with eagles’ wings. | Photo: C4I

We are called to bless Israel, and what is a better and more tangible way to help do that in this time of great need for the Jewish people of Ukraine? Your prayers and donations are very much needed. Will you help?

Emergency Assistance
Jewish refugees are brought from our shelter in Ukraine to Moldova. Buses then bring them to airports in either Moldova or Romania. From there, they are brought to Israel. The expense of such a bus trip is € 4000 or $4400. This is about € 100 or $110 per person. Would you like to assist one or more Jewish refugees with their evacuation and emigration to Israel? Or do you want to sponsor a whole bus? Please support our emergency campaign. Your support is of vital importance. Thank you in advance!


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