One night, in our shared accommodation in Przemyśl where around 20-40 missionaries around the globe lived together at any time, we set aside some time during worship to pray for the nation of Ukraine. 

I already knew something was eating at me as I sat at the top of the staircase far away from the centre of all the action. 

Before the time of worship, everyone else was giving thanks and praising God for moving so powerfully in our ministry that day, yet I struggled to rejoice with everyone else. 

Missionaries gathering for a time of praise and worship in Przemyśl.

As I contemplated the fates of the refugees after they left Poland to their new long-term destinations, I wondered what future and hope they would really have living in a foreign land without speaking the language, without networks and communities — all while carrying with them little to no money. 

At that moment, all I did to serve, encourage and resource the refugees in Poland just felt like a drop in the ocean. Celebrating that suddenly felt gratuitous. 

My heart felt so heavy

Knowing my rhythms, I am on guard whenever I catch a whiff of cynicism rising up in me as I am all too familiar with how prone my flesh is to cynicism, which also roots from hopelessness.

These feelings had already been mixed in with whatever I had seen during my week in the refugee camp, just wondering how God could restore a situation this dire. 

During that time of prayer for Ukraine, I had a moment of sobering honesty with God where I told Him about the burdens, concerns and worries I carried for the many Ukrainian refugees I had met.

What hope and future do they really have? Can God redeem even this? 

Surely, many of these refugees will survive in their destinations, but will the honour of Ukraine and dignity of these refugees be preserved?

A Ukrainian refugee family with 10 children that Wesley grew close to in Poland. He would later re-unite with them again in France (pictured).

These thoughts grieved me deeply. As I surrendered my feelings of hopelessness to God, He once again reminded me of how He is a restorative and redeeming God.

One who is not overcome by dire circumstances, nor One who is far removed and unacquainted with the suffering of refugees (in fact, Jesus was a refugee too when fleeing King Herod’s genocide).

He also cares not just for the preservation of people’s lives, but also their honour and dignity as they are created in His image. 

How could I help refugees rebuild their lives?

Pondering the goodness of God, my stubborn cynicism towards our efforts and hopelessness at the situation began to dissolve.

But one thing became clear to me: The Lord was placing a burden on my heart for this next lap of the refugee journey — their hopes and futures in their long-term destinations.

Yet, what could I possibly do?

As I did my research, it seemed like most refugee destinations within Europe were quite prepared to receive them, with support in the areas of education, employment, finances and so on.

What could I ever do to help? 

As I prayed for God to open my eyes to the needs of the refugees, I recalled helping a family fill out a form they had to complete in English for their emigration to a city in France.

When the form asked for their reasons for choosing their destination, their simple answer was: Because there is a church there for them.

It wasn’t just about practical needs I had to meet, these refugees had spiritual needs too.

It turned out, however, that the family was reallocated from the original city promised due to a lack in capacity.

And they were distraught as it meant they would no longer have a community of believers that they would be able to go through life with.

The churches in their reallocated city did not have Slavic-speaking services or communities, and this distressed them greatly.

“That’s it!”, I thought to myself.

It wasn’t just about practical needs I had to meet, these refugees had spiritual needs too.

The refugee family trying on slippers that Wesley bought for them.

Buying a one-way ticket to France

And so, knowing the Lord was placing a burden on me for refugees in their long-term destinations, and hearing that this family I had grown close to in the refugee centre had a need to be met, I made the faith-filled decision to buy a one-way ticket to France to figure out what the Lord would have me do there.

I intended to join up with this family once they knew where they were reallocated to.

Would He use me to ensure their spiritual needs are covered? Would He open doors to plant a Slavic church? Would He just give me insights into the refugee journey for other long-term opportunities? I had no idea. 

Since I made that decision, the Lord has shown up in incredible ways.

God provided accommodation for Wesley in Lezan through his French hosts who are part of an association that helps refugees. He would cycle for more than half an hour daily to the refugees’ home.

Firstly, when I reached out to a friend I knew who was doing an exchange in Paris, he told me his hosts were away for a week and graciously allowed me to sleep in their office for a few days.

This would allow me to get a good rest for a few days before I continued serving refugees in France. 

Secondly — and in mind-blowing fashion — when I raised the idea of potentially planting a Slavic church in France and invited the family to be a part of the process, the father shared about a dream he had 18 years ago.

It was to be a minister in France. God was doing something behind the scenes, surely! 

When Wesley prayed and asked God to send people to help plant a church, he was shocked that the father of the refugee family he had helped shared this dream that God had given him years ago.

The time leading up to my flight to France was riddled with uncertainties, self-doubt and even questions from others.

Many asked whether I had any plans and whether I was going with any organisation. To both, however, my answer was almost always an apologetic “no”, assuming this was not the answer people were looking for. 

Yet, I hold this confidence that I need not plan my course, and only need the Lord to direct my steps. This confidence has led me this far and will continue to steady me while I’m here. 

The father of the refugee family left his job in Ukraine to be with his family in France. As the sole breadwinner, he is still looking for a job, but language is a barrier.

Due to the number of children they have (10), their financial support from the government is limited. If you’d like to find out more about how you can help, do get in touch with Wesley


After spending two weeks in France to help a Ukrainian refugee family settle in, Wesley is currently in Germany right now — you can follow us on our Instagram and TikTok for video updates on his journey.

You can also read our other stories on Ukraine here!

  1. Do you remember a time when God placed a burden on your heart for someone/something?
  2. What has God been revealing about Himself to you?
  3. Is there an area of your life where God is asking you to place your confidence in Him for?