Ukrainian Refugee Update
March 21st, 2022
Thankful that planes don’t fly over the camp.
left behind –
a nurse, students,
a second-hand store,
Hopeful war will end soon and they can return to see what is left of their homes, family, and friends.
Afraid to ride to church in the front of the van ‘in case’ there was any shooting.
Gratefulness for the safe, warm, kind, and healthy conditions they have found themselves in.
What our refugee guests are saying:
We have 3 families that arrived to us just after midnight Thursday night. They escaped from 3 different cities in Ukraine – traveling to the Romanian border and the unknown. They did not know each other before they ended up in a transport van together. They left behind all they knew. Originally there were 30 persons on their way to us but as the time got closer to crossing the border all but 10 had turned back. They had heard scary stories of perhaps being trafficked for organ selling or sex-trafficking. But, these 3 brave families traveled on. The refugees were honest to tell me that Romania was one of the last places they wanted to go, wanting to head further West, but now they see that their reality here is so much better than what they imagined. None of them had ever left Ukraine before. They were not in the first groups to leave Ukraine. Those were people leaving with cars or money for traveling on somewhere further. The families we have now and that will come are those without possibilities of traveling further.
We are 8 hours from the Ukrainian border and they arrived in the middle of the night exhausted and teary. They spent Friday walking the camp and trying to figure out where they were. A volunteer from a local church in Sibiu came Friday and Saturday to welcome them and fix a home-cooked meal and invite them to church on Sunday. Though only one of the women identified as a Christian all of them were eager to go to church and to see what ‘Sibiu’ looked like. The church arranged an interpreter for our little group, as only one teenager speaks some English. As church and prayer started there were more tears from all.
From Left: Volunteer from Switzerland, Suzanne, who prepared their first lunch, one momma with her 3 year old son who left her husband behind, one older couple with their 2 daughters age 16 and one in her 30’s who had to leave her husband behind, one single momma with her 11 year old daughter, 5 year old son and 17 year old son, and our wonderful employee Rebeca.
Photo taken with approval, of their first meal together at Camp last Friday, 3-18-22.
Today I was able to meet the families in person. I formally welcomed them to Camp and told them how happy we are to host them ~ and yet how sad we are to have to host them…more tears. Some of my memories from today:
Conversations and tears regarding 2 husbands left behind. Gratefulness for phones to keep in touch daily.
One refugee who shared today was the first day she felt her mind beginning to calm down after these critical days.
One of the teenage refugees afraid to ride to church in the front of the van ‘in case’ there was any shooting.
One refugee saying she never imagined she would talk to a ‘native American’ (of course she meant a person of USA citizenship!).
One of the refugees thankful that planes don’t fly over the camp – planes flying overhead bring a lot of fear.
Each had their own story of occupations left behind – a nurse, students, a second-hand store, construction.
Each hopeful war will end soon and they can return to see what is left of their homes, family, and friends.
Gratefulness for the safe, warm, kind, and healthy conditions they have found themselves in after running so far away.
We thankfully have wi-fi now at camp and I will buy a smart TV to take to camp tomorrow so they can find Ukrainian speaking programs through internet/YouTube. They are grateful for this comfort and thankful the children will be able to watch cartoons.
Tomorrow I will also purchase a small list of needed shoes now that they could provide their sizes; thankful they responded to my question of how we can help without fear or hesitation.
We have volunteers coming tomorrow with an interpreter that will provide a craft, story, and appropriate games for each age child at camp.
I met today with a local Romanian man providing coordination between churches, businesses, and volunteers. He has already provided food and the volunteers that are helping with cooking and children’s programs.
We expect to receive more refugees either at the end of this week or beginning of the following. When we have a few more that have settled in, we will also begin facilitating a Christian counseling program that has been used in other areas of the world specific to refugees.
If there is one final thought, I have from today…how I wish everyone in the world could see how the true body of Christ can minister together for good! At this small place in the world the Lord has orchestrated funds from various parts of the United States – from persons who don’t know each other, to volunteers from Switzerland and Romania, to bless those in need escaping a war they really didn’t see coming. The Lord is caring for them in their hour of need and we continue to pray they will see His hand and draw close to Him.
With sincerest gratitude from all, Debbie
It was just the evening of March 6th, only 2 weeks ago, that I sent out an email and then mailed out the newsletter in search of
raising an initial $55,000.00.
We received gifts from $10.00 up to $10,000.00
and have surpassed our goal and raised $60,880.41!
We are truly grateful for your generosity and provision
for those most in need at this critical time.