Nashville missionary worries for friends in Ukraine, prays for peace

Joel Butts.jpg
Posted at 10:04 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 12:59:47-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As Russian forces invade Ukraine, Joel Butts has spent hours frantically checking his phone and checking in on friends.

Butts is the director of Twelve3One Ministries and has spent years working to help people in Ukraine as a missionary.

"I stayed up last night until 3:30, 4 o'clock, just watching, observing, toggling channels trying to get the most information," Butts said. "Texting most of the night, most of the day."

Butts has visited Ukraine close to 20 times, but now he knows it'll be some time before he can return.

"Today I spoke with countless friends and you don't know how badly I wanted to be there to just hug them and you know reassure them, encourage them. It's going to be a while before I can go," he said.

Butts teams up with other nonprofit organizations in Ukraine to help children and adults suffering from the effects of abuse and parental neglect.

He knows the crisis unfolding has the potential to impact millions, which is why he’s raising funds to send over.

"There are going to be a lot of hurting people. They are going to be needing resources, help food, clothing, shelter, basic necessities," he said.

If you would like to help, Butts is accepting Venmo or Paypal donations @twelve3oneministries.

Butts said he's still holding on to hope and praying for peace.

“It's really what it all boils down to just being brave and courageous,” he said.