On Friday, Sept. 23, and Saturday, Sept. 24, Undaunted Love Ministries will be hosting a Ukraine relief sale at 320 North Ronks Road in Bird-in-Hand. The sale’s main auction will be held on Friday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., selling donated goods to raise funds for the ministry’s work: providing Ukrainian pastors with the supplies they need to help their communities and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ at the same time. On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event will continue with a family fun day, and the Undaunted Love Ministries team will be there to share their stories and give people a glimpse into the work they are doing in the war-torn country.
Undaunted Love Ministries, a Christian nonprofit organization established in Lancaster County and operating out of Dnipro, Ukraine, is built around the idea of empowering local pastors on the front lines in Ukraine because they can reach the Ukrainian people in ways that foreigners cannot. As established members of their communities, the pastors understand the culture, speak the language, and have connections and relationships in the area they are already serving in.
Although Undaunted Love was officially founded in June, the ministry started taking shape at the beginning of the war. In March, mere weeks after Russia invaded, Jeffrey Stoltzfus and a few of his friends traveled to Ukraine on a mission trip to provide aid to the people who were suffering as their cities and towns were under attack. Since the war and corruption meant that many civilians were cut off from receiving any kind of help, the small band of friends worked to bridge the gap and fill in where disruptions in aid had left people to fend for themselves.
“As we were there, after a while we realized we can haul aid all we want, and it’s going to be good, it’s going to save lives, but we really want to make a lasting impact past a week of food,” Stoltzfus, the president of Undaunted Love Ministries, told The Lancaster Patriot. “We want to make an impact on their lives for Jesus, so we started connecting with pastors instead of just distributing the aid ourselves. And we started connecting with pastors along the east, right close to the line, that were distributing in their towns.”
The little crew also chose to help the people through local pastors because many pastors had depended on their flocks to support their work but the war had upended everyone’s sources of income. Huge portions of the population moved away to safety, and the people who remained could no longer offer financial support, so pastors no longer had a way to even feed their families, let alone provide aid to people in need. Supplemental jobs were not an option either, since the war had drastically reduced the number of jobs in operation.
“So they were all of a sudden a burden for the community instead of being a light,” Stoltzfus explained. “And so when we come in there and we can partner with them and we can take aid to them, they can distribute it to their community, they can be a blessing to the community and evangelize. And the harvest is so ripe. It’s incredible what’s happening over there. Like, churches that are tripling since the war. And more than that. Just growing like crazy.”
While in Ukraine on that first mission trip, Stoltzfus and his friends purchased vehicles so they could carry aid to different communities near the front lines, and transport has remained a core part of Undaunted Love’s work. The ministry rarely gives out money directly for assistance, since actually securing supplies is not possible for many civilians even if they have the money to make the purchase. Undaunted Love has connections that help acquire things like food, toilet paper and generators, which the team then drives in to those communities. This also means that the ministry’s biggest expense is fuel and it will not be long before vehicles will need repair or replacement, since the team travels long distances, sometimes over damaged roads.
The ministry is also helping purchase fuel for pastor Vadim and his Cherkasy-based team, who are delivering food, medication and other necessities to people in frontline towns and helping refugees who come to Ukraine’s Cherkasy region.
In the early days of Undaunted Love, around 20 Americans traveled over to help for three or more weeks each, but as things progressed, Stoltzfus saw how much more effective local believers could be and he realized that the ministry could give these Ukrainians paying jobs when they desperately needed the work.
Now, Stoltzfus and his newly wedded wife, Sierra, are preparing to move from Lancaster to Ukraine, where they will oversee the fledgling ministry’s continued growth and keep pressing forward to distribute more humanitarian relief and equipment throughout Ukraine — and if the ministry grows enough in the future, perhaps to other parts of the world as well. After peace is reached between Russia and Ukraine, rebuilding will begin in earnest, and plenty of organizations will come to help. Undaunted Love Ministries aims to be boots on the ground with an established network in place to pave the way for other ministries and organizations so that their efforts will be more effective.
Undaunted Love Ministries is ready to partner with any other ministries that share its core mission. The ministry has worked with local churches and ministers throughout Ukraine, including in occupied areas, and with organizations such as Plain Compassion Crisis Response, the Armada Network’s Ten Men Project, United by His Love Ministries, Master’s International Ministries, Christian Aid Ministries, and the Ukraine-based International Charitable Foundation.
Undaunted Love is also serving alongside Vitaliy, a Ukrainian pastor who runs a camp dedicated to bringing families closer together and providing counseling, prayer, rest and encouragement to those who take part in the camp’s programs. The family restoration programs run from June through September, and during the colder months there are weekend programs designed for couples. When the war began, the camp broadened its efforts and now also hosts refugees and offers respite to individuals who are hard at work helping their communities.
The model set up by Undaunted Love Ministries means that even with the organization being so new, help is being provided to 30 different pastors, who are empowered to reach out to everyone around them, making an exponential difference across the country. The Stoltzfuses have been filled with encouragement as well over the support and love outpouring from God’s people, who want to share the love of Christ with Ukraine and help the people rebuild their lives, both physically and spiritually.
Anyone interested in volunteering with, partnering with or donating to Undaunted Love Ministries can go to undauntedlove.net for more information, and the ministry can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram. A newsletter will be launched soon that will have both online and printed formats for those who want to stay up to date on Undaunted Love’s work. More information about the weekend auction can be found at relief4ua.online.