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Stories & Blog

On the Run: A Ukrainian Refugee Story

On the Run: A Ukrainian Refugee Story

POLAND — Ukrainian worship music filled the car, lending a sense of calm to the stressful situation. Crossworld workers Samuel and Bonita sat in the front seat. Ukrainian refugees Olena and Sofiya sat in the back. They were headed to the border of Germany as quickly as possible.

“It’s been a hard journey for this mother and daughter with lots of uncertainty,” Bonita said of Olena and Sofiya.

Olena had been a doctor in Ukraine. Her husband left her when she got pregnant with Sofiya, and mother and daughter have been on their own since. When war with Russia broke out, Olena wanted to leave immediately. Her parents, who live in a rural village, chose to stay, so Olena and Sofiya packed up to leave Ukraine and start a new life somewhere else.

At the Ukraine-Poland border, they found Polish church volunteers providing supplies, overnight housing, and next steps for people fleeing the country. Refugees without any connections can get help finding a place to go. Other refugees, like Olena, can get transportation to a connection they have in another area.

Olena had gotten in touch with an old friend from medical school, who found her a place to stay in Germany. The church network called on Samuel and Bonita to get her there.

Olena and Sofiya speak no English. Samuel and Bonita speak no Ukrainian. They used a translation app to communicate and share their stories with each other.

At one point on the road, Olena asked, “Do you know anyone who can give me legal advice?”

“I don’t,” Bonita replied. “But we know the God who answers prayer. Do you believe in God?”

“Yes, but it’s been a long time since I prayed,” Olena said.

“Let’s pray and ask God to provide someone who can help you,” Bonita said.

They prayed together in the car for legal help and for Olena and Sofiya’s new life in Germany. Then Bonita shared a link where Olena could download the Bible in Ukrainian.

The four of them arrived at Olena’s friend’s house in Germany the next day. They unloaded bags and said hello to Olena’s friend. In the greetings, her friend introduced her husband — a lawyer.

Olena turned to Bonita. “God heard and answered our prayer!” she said.

Samuel and Bonita said goodbye to Olena and Sofiya and prayed their new life in Germany would lead to new life in Christ as well.

Here’s how you can pray for this ministry.

  • Pray for Olena and Sofiya as they transition to life in Germany. Pray they also learn to trust in Jesus.
  • Pray for peace and an end to the conflict in Ukraine.
  • Pray for peace and an end to the conflict in Ukraine. Pray for the spread of the good news in the midst of sorrow and suffering.

The people in this story are real, but some names have been changed to protect privacy.

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