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More than a Story – Transporting Ukrainian Sisters
“Oh the stories you’ll have” is a common phrase we hear from loved ones as we embark on this journey. Though it’s true, as time comes and goes, the moments we have on the mission field do fade to stories, that’s not the intent of our service or pursuit of this journey. We are here solely for the people God puts in our path. We are here to share love, peace, patience, and kindness with an often too dark world, moment by moment. In turn we are able to share our experiences and conversations with people with you all, our beloved supporters and followers. So as I tell you a story from my time here in Craiova, Romania, I hope you will feel the depth and the weight of the details I share.
(Stephanie, my teammate, Laurie & Raurie, Ukranian sisters, and myself at a gas station during our trip to the Hungarian border)
A few weeks ago, it just so happened that I was in the right place at the right time to be able to say “yes” to being a part of a team bringing two Ukrainian refugees to the Hungarian border. My new Ukrainian friends were sisters in their early twenties, Laurie and Raurie (names have been changed, but their names do rhyme in real life). Prior to arriving in Craiova, they were living in the basement of their local fitness center, in Mariupol, Ukraine. Here, they found themselves hearing and feeling the physical attack of Russian missiles in their city. At one point, they went five days without leaving the refuge and safety they found themselves in at their gym. They didn’t have blankets, beds or jackets amidst the crisp spring days of early April. They didn’t have access to good communication to their family members who had previously fled Ukraine. All they could do was sit and wait for an opportunity to flee their war torn city and nation. After many days of missile attacks, they were able to communicate to their neighbor and found themselves with an opportunity out of the extreme chaos they found themselves in, Praise God.
Click here to hear more about their time in Ukraine amidst the war
Through many horrific details and also perfectly aligned moments, they found themselves safely at the border, ready to enter Romania in search of temporary refuge. From the border they were transitioned into Romania and eventually into the hands of Hope Church. Upon arriving here, we were able to help connect them to a long term housing location in Alaska. Our role, transport them to the Hungarian border where they would transition to Poland in order to catch their flight to the U.S. Our part in their lives was short but significant to their journey and vise versa.
Our transportation journey to the Hungarian border took approximately seven hours. In this time we not only heard the above details of their journey, we were also able to communicate with them about faith, family, and hope. In their own words, they shared that without God they wouldn’t have had hope to make it out. From the ordained detail of being over supplied with insulin before the war since one of them has diabetes, to their convoy arriving safely to the Ukrainian border, to their placement in Alaska, hope was present. Their prayers answered through each step of this specific time in their lives.
To me, their hopefulness and their desire to find God in their desperation was both encouraging and inspiring to hear. Only by God’s imprint in their lives were they able to remain hopeful. Only by their belief in a better future for themselves, their family and their nation, were they able to reasonably smile with us on this journey. (One of their brothers has also transitioned to another location in the U.S. in Oregon and their parents and other siblings are safely located within a European nation.) God’s hand was present and apparent in their testimony and the way they carried themselves. Meeting these two beautiful young women will forever be imprinted on my heart and in my mind.
(Laurie & Raurie’s home city, Mariupol, Ukraine. Before and After Russian attacks.)
I can’t express the realness of this war enough to you through words on a screen. What is happening in Ukraine is horrific and tragic. The war has forced over 5 million Ukrainians to flee Ukraine, meanwhile others have lived in bunkers for over three months at this point. Over 26,000 Ukrainians have died in their hometown of Mariupol at this point.
Please join me as I pray for Laurie and Raurie’s transition into a new city and new home in Alaska as well as for all Ukrainians as they continue to wake up to war each day.
AND if you feel led to donate to the work my partner, Hope Church and I are doing to support Ukrainians as they continue to arrive at the border of Ukraine to seek refuge in Romania, please click this link: Support Ukrainians Now
May God Bless You and Keep You!
Thank you for always supporting me, encouraging me and praying for me.
Equally devastating and equally full of hope with what people like YOU and Hope Church Romania are doing in the midst of such pain and destruction. I am so PROUD of you and praying for you FERVENTLY!!
What a powerful story and testimony of God’s provision in seemingly impossible circumstances! i tried putting myself in their place…and realize that it could totally be us telling a story like that at some point in our lives! Dear God, please bring your kingdom to this earth! YOU are our only real solution to all the problems we as humans face! Open the hearts and minds of humans everywhere to help establish your kingdom on earth. And thank you for your protection of those you are saving! in Jesus’ name, amen.
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