Beauty From Ashes: Three Missionary Kids’ Story of Empathic Giving

By Send Relief Staff

When IMB missionary Kayla Shapiro’s* family was forced to exit their place of service in Asia in 2020, they barely had enough time to pack their belongings before getting on a plane.

In the two years since, Shapiro’s three daughters—ages 13, 11 and 9—still struggled through the pain of leaving their homeland when news of the Ukraine invasion broke.

“They immediately connected with the concept of kids forced to leave their homes and what it means to walk out of your world involuntarily,” Shapiro commented. “Not only does it mean you can’t get half your toys in your backpack, but it also means you lose your birthplace and all of your normal—the shock of losing neighborhood friends, school routines, your regular grocery store and familiarity with the culture. The girls resonated with Ukrainian refugees in sharing part of that experience—forced to exit their country and build a new life with little notice.”

When the girls heard fellow IMB missionaries had to leave Ukraine, too, they knew they wanted to help in any way possible.

Joining their church, Woolsey Baptist, in fundraising efforts for Send Relief, Shapiro’s daughters decided to bake sugar cookies. They also cut paper hearts in the Ukrainian flag’s colors—blue and yellow—to ensure congregants knew where the proceeds would be donated.

Using the church’s industrial ovens, the girls baked over eight dozen cookies, selling them after a Sunday school and church service.

“Even though our church has only 185 people, we were blown away by their hearts. We sold all the cookies even though some were crunchy,” Shapiro remarked with a laugh. “We pivoted to calling them biscotti!”

The actual connection for Shapiro’s daughters came when they gathered the money they had raised, put it in an envelope marked with a construction paper heart and placed it on the offering plate.

With their help and the generosity of Woolsey Baptist congregants, Send Relief’s Ukraine emergency response efforts received a donation of nearly $20,000!

Shapiro shared, “Scripture tells us we will see beauty come from ashes and for a long time, those ashes smoldered. Now we see a glimpse of the beauty of our story. Seeing our girls jump into this—connect with third culture kids and refugees on the move—did our hearts good. And that’s the beauty of Send Relief! Teams continue to work on the ground to make it easy for people to join when we’re feeling helpless and looking for action steps in the middle of a crisis.”

When many of us feel powerless in a challenging situation, we are called to action, no matter how small. You never know when cookies and tender hearts can make a huge difference in a refugee family’s life!

Pray for Kayla Shapiro and her family as they move into a new place of service and embrace a fresh calling in their lives. If you would like to help those still fleeing the crisis in Ukraine, give below today.

Help Ukrainian families in crisis!

Give to relief efforts now.


*Name changed for security.

Published July 26, 2022

Send Relief Staff