Milton church hosting telethon to support Ukrainian partners


MILTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The Russian attack on Ukraine is hitting home for New Heights Church in Milton.

“These are people that we’ve spent years with. We’ve went to Ukraine and spent time with them. They’ve come to West Virginia and spent time with us,” said Pastor Will Basham.

For nearly a decade, New Heights Church has worked closely with two churches in Ukraine. They’ve supported them financially, traveled to the country every couple years for mission trips, run summer camps and taught children English.

“They’ve been in my home, they’ve been around my dinner table, I’ve slept on their couches and so these are very much brothers and sisters to me,” Basham said.

Now, they’re watching those they consider family be ravaged by war.

“It’s surreal to see footage of the news and online of troops moving in to areas where we were just a few months ago,” Basham said. “It’s hard for them to just go to bed at night knowing in the middle of the night bombs and missiles could be coming in to where they live.”

The two churches New Heights are partnered with are located in the western part of Ukraine in Lviv and Ternopil.

The church in Lviv does not have a building where they meet.

“That church is more scattered, so they don’t have a place to get together so they’re meeting on Zoom, and a lot of them have left and fled for Poland or the Czech Republic,” Basham said. “It’s on the boarder of Poland, but it’s also a place that’s also seen some Russian invasion, too.”

The church in Ternopil is not in an area under attack, but they are housing hundreds of refugees and preparing for any attacks.

“They had their Sunday services on the floor,” Basham said. “They’re continuing the work of the church. It’s pretty amazing to see that. It really is a labor of love as the people of that city come together to help people that are coming in and just needing help, and so we’ve been able to provide financially and we’re hoping to even do more.”

To help the churches support the refugees, New Heights is planning a telethon to raise money.

“It’s heartbreaking, and it just brings a lot of anxiety when you know these people. We’re trying to come up with as many things as we can to help them out as quickly as possible,” said Amber Bevans, a member of the church who has gone to Ukraine four times. “It’s like our hands are tied right now in a way which is kind of frustrating so you’re just kind of watching the news and praying.”

The telethon will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 16 at New Heights Church in Milton. Local musicians will be performing.

For more information on the event, and to donate to a emergency relief fund for refugees, click here.

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