In 2010, Rev. Scott Wood was a youth pastor who noticed many of his students were becoming wards of the state. He felt strongly that God was asking him to be a “father to the fatherless” and like Boaz of the Bible, Rev. Wood was led to deliberately intervene to help put families back together. After resigning his position, he launched Boaz Global which is “A global outreach focused on investing in teens through: mentoring, feeding, educating, relationships.”  This was the first step Rev. Wood would take to bring the hope and holiness of Christ to the vulnerable.

In 2012, Rev. Matt Maxwell, senior pastor of Journey Church, brought Rev. Wood onto their staff. Because Rev. Wood’s focus was going to be so outward, Rev. Maxwell told his board and congregation there would be no return on the investment and they all agreed it was worth it.  Enabled by the partnership with Journey, Rev. Wood has helped rescue kids out of poverty and human trafficking in Haiti, pulled adolescents out of gang life in Honduras, provided transitional housing for children at risk for sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic, and helped Syrian refugees. There may not have been a return on investment for Journey Church but there has been an incredible return for the kingdom of God.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Rev. Wood knew that his next assignment was to help the vulnerable in Ukraine. Through the partnership with Journey Church, Boaz Global collected 12 pallets of gauze, bandages, burn kits, hygiene products and more to send over to the displaced people in Ukraine. While the supplies were a great first step, Rev. Wood knew they had to do more.

The violence of the Russo-Ukrainian War has resulted in the largest European refugee crisis since World War II. Rev. Wood had a vision to help find housing and provision for 18 Ukrainian families escaping the violence in their home country. Rev. Maxwell, relying on Rev. Wood’s proven track record of presenting and fulfilling actual needs, realized that his role was to simply say yes to what God was saying through Rev. Wood’s vision. Soon after, Alona Khivrych and her mother were the first Ukrainian family that Boaz Global was able to assist.

Alona was asleep at home after attending a rock concert when she was startled awake by sirens and explosions. Her life would no longer be the same. Alona would hear explosions every day and lived in an incredibly dangerous situation. Like many Ukrainians, Alona’s mother faced the impossible choice between leaving family and country behind or pursuing safety for their children. Alona’s mother began the process of seeking refuge oversees and was connected with Boaz Global. Rev. Wood, alongside a host family, received Alona and her mother at the airport in Canada.

Alona did not stop at finding safety, however. Like Boaz, Alona chose to deliberately get involved to help other families. Starting in June of 2022, Alona now assists the efforts of Boaz Global and Journey Church. Rev. Wood, Alona and their team meet displaced Ukrainians at the airport, connect them to host families, enroll the children into school and guide the process of acquiring all necessary documents. Because many displaced Ukrainians have high degrees and skillsets, Rev. Wood and Alona also assist in acquiring work visas and finding job placement in similar or parallel fields. Alona’s presence with Boaz Global and Journey Church is a huge asset, as she enables incoming Ukrainians to better trust the process of arriving and living in Canada. Rev. Wood recognizes that Alona understands Ukrainians better, while Alona knows that Rev. Wood understands Canadians better, and together they are making a kingdom impact.

Rev. Wood points to the single or solo Ukrainian mothers as the real heroes of this story because they left everything familiar to come to a country they do not know in order to protect their children. Alona believes she has “the best work in the world” and is grateful to witness renewed hope, joy and laughter in the Ukrainian children they have assisted. Through Rev. Maxwell, Rev. Wood and Alona’s leadership, Journey Church has committed to live with compassion and feed, clothe and house the Ukrainians which God has entrusted to them.

Boaz Global and Journey Church stepped into the war effort completely by faith, trusting the Lord to provide. Only a few weeks before Alona arrived in Canada, they had only $2,000 remaining to help serve refugees but they began to pray. Only a few days later, a stranger comes by Rev. Wood’s home saying that God has instructed him to help, and hands him a check for $50,000. Rev. Wood was certainly grateful for the money, but it was also a good lesson for his team about living by faith. Recently their funds dwindled again, so they began to pray. As they were still praying, a man called Rev. Wood to give $5,000 to help another Ukrainian family find safety in Canada.

However, the work is not done. Rev. Wood’s goal is to help 30 more families reach safety by the end of this year, which will take approximately $250,000.

Rev. Wood desires to live out the pure religion described in James 1:27 which states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Jacob Gibson is the senior pastor at LifeSpring Wesleyan Church, Richmond, Indiana, and graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and Wesley Seminary, Marion, Indiana.