Over the past six weeks, a growing number of Ukrainians seeking refuge in the United States have crossed the US-Mexico border. Many have come to Calvary San Diego and spent a night or two in church members' homes. In this photo a Ukrainian family arrives at a shelter at the church in Chula Vista, California, on April 1.

100 people from one California church opened their homes to Ukrainians in need

Updated 9:19 AM ET, Sat April 23, 2022

This is part of a CNN series, "The Helpers," which seeks to showcase people who are going the extra mile to help others and make their communities a better place.

(CNN)Phil Metzger flew home to California from Ukraine soon after the war broke out, devastated by what he saw.

He'd been helping deliver medicine and evacuate families from danger, and the evangelical pastor knew he wanted the church he leads in suburban San Diego to do even more to help those in need.
He never expected the crisis would end up coming to them.
"Who would ever imagine that a pipeline into America (for Ukrainians) would open through Mexico?" Metzger says. "That just caught us all completely off guard."
Calvary San Diego is in Chula Vista, California, about 8 miles north of the US-Mexico border. And as a growing number of Ukrainians were crossing the border from Tijuana to seek refuge in the United States, Metzger saw it as an opportunity to turn the church's beliefs into action.
"Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself. Right now, these are our neighbors," Metzger says. "They're literally showing up in our backyard."
A sign on a door at Calvary San Diego welcomes arriving Ukrainians. The church is no longer serving as a shelter, but many of its members are still hosting Ukrainians in their homes.