Ukrainian Refugee Update
April 10th, 2022

 

"Our family is from Odessa region. When the war started, no one could believe it. When the siren was turned on at night we had to hide in the bomb-shelter with my daughters. I was praying all the time. Every day the sirens were turned on and it was so scary. Then we heard explosions in Odessa, the sounds of which were clear even in our area. The mayor made an announcement according to which mothers with children were supposed to be evacuated by buses. There was a threat – 14 Russian military ships entered the Black Sea and approached Odessa shores.  We saw those ships!  We jumped into the bus on 03/18/2022 and headed towards Moldova border. Then we got on a bus going to Romania, we didn’t know where we were going.  In Bucharest (03/19/2022) volunteers took us to a camp called “School”. On 03/24/2022 we went back to the bus station and were invited by other volunteers to Sibiu.

I am so grateful to God for these kind people. They gave us a place to live, gave us food and clothes. We were finally safe. They were so caring and kind-hearted towards my daughter. I thank everyone for taking care of us. Thank you for your help. We love your camp a lot! Thank you 'Good Shepherd'!"

- Irina and Sofia

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In Their Own Words...

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Irina and her daughter, Sofia, arrived late in the night.  I remember Sofia softly crying and telling her mom – ‘let’s get in the van and go back’.  Irina convinced her to stay the night.  In the light of day, the beauty of camp shown brightly and they began to receive the care they needed.  The picture at right was taken a week later when we had an ‘outing’ for icecream.  Irina surprised me by sending me the selfie and ‘thank you’.  Irina has a 20 year old daughter who refused to leave Odessa and has stayed with her grandmother who is there.  Irina had to make the hard decision to run with Sofia.  Sofia has attended a couple of youth meetings and she now has a joyful smile.  They pray for the day they can return ‘home’ but for now embrace Camp of the Good Shepherd as their ‘home away from home’.

If there is one thing teenagers around the world love – it’s ‘pizza’!  Last Saturday night some Romanian friends invited the 8 teenagers we have at camp for a ‘pizza and game night’ with 4 other Ukrainian youth and a few Romanian teenagers.  It was the first time the teenagers got a break from their moms…and the moms got a break from them too!  It was a nice time to just be teenagers.  I was their driver that night, and though I couldn’t understand a word in Ukrainian they were saying…I could understand the laughter and light-heartedness the night out had brought!

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Pizza!

Pictured below:  Lora and Svetlana are the only two refugees that arrived to us knowing one another.  They lived in the same apartment block and jumped on buses to head to the border, again not knowing where they would land.  Lora’s adult daughter had made it to Germany earlier and Lora and Svetlana were just trying to escape to Romania, not knowing how they would get to Germany.  They landed at Camp of the Good Shepherd and were with us for just over 2 weeks.  Lora’s daughter finally got an apartment and then Lora, Svetlana, and their 4 minor children were ready to head to Germany…only they were ill-prepared for the journey, having only come with what they could carry in plastic bags and with the equivalent of $125.00 each!  We found a generous donor with a German foundation who sponsored bus tickets for all 6 from Sibiu to Dresden, Germany.  Once in Germany, while Lora found housing with her daughter, the invitation was not extended to Svetlana.  She is now in a camp with 800 other refugees, and it is very difficult…she is pondering what to do, we pray for her comfort and strength.  The following is the note she left us as she departed April 2nd:

In Their Own Words...

"We are sincerely grateful to God and you, dear volunteers, for your support in these difficult times. Thank you God and thank you people for your love and your good actions. We are people who didn’t ask but got everything we needed. We believe in our wonderful future. We became stronger in our belief in Jesus.

We were blessed to stay in your camp with our children, go to the church and see the God’s hand helping us. Words are not enough to express how grateful we are. It is just a miracle that there are such people like you who want to help and who wish others kindness and love. Your attention, care and prayers encouraged us and gave us strength to cope with any circumstances.

We will always remember and tell everyone our story about your people in Romania and people in the United States who helped us in such difficult times. Let God be with you. We wish you and your grandchildren health and love. God loves us all. Please pray for us and our children (Victor, Veronika, Victoria, Rostislav). Let God strengthen our faith. Amin."

- With love from Mykolaiv (Ukraine), Lora, Sveta and children.

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Above:  Rebeca with Lora, Svetlana and their children

at the bus station ready to go to Germany.

Above:  Rebeca with Lora, Svetlana and their children

at the bus station ready to go to Germany.

Lora and Svetlana were our only refugees seeking to go somewhere else.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the Lord led them to Camp to be shown His love, His provision, His care.  They were not used to being cared for, not used to being prayed for, not used to ‘church’, and not used to praying themselves until the war. 

Thank you dear partners and friends for your generosity that has allowed us to provide aid and comfort to those in true crisis and embrace them with the love of Christ.  All of our other refugees will call Camp of the Good Shepherd ‘home’ until they are able to return to their homes and lives in Ukraine.

Yours in Partnership, warmest greetings from Sibiu, Debbie 

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