Ivanka and Emilia’s lives will never go back to how they were. Even if they can return home someday, the trauma they’ve endured has already changed them forever.
When Russia began bombing their hometown of Kyiv on Feb. 24, they didn’t waste a moment. Ivanka told her daughter Emilia to grab her favorite toy, and then they hit the road, knowing they needed to get as far away as possible.
They were leaving everything behind, including Ivanka’s husband Stas, who stayed behind in Ukraine.
“They don’t let our fathers go with us,” young Emilia explained.
Ivanka and her husband both worked at an IT firm and as actors. Emilia, who’s only 7, shares her parents’ passions for song and dance. Now, they don’t know when they’ll be able to do what they love again or when the family will be reunited.
Listen to Ivanka and Emilia tell their story:
According to Ivanka, things were still relatively normal when they left Kyiv. They knew that they were at war and needed to get to safety, but the streets and homes weren’t completely destroyed yet.
That’s not the case now. Homes have been turned into rubble, and civilian casualties continue to rise. Ivanka’s sister recently bought a new home, but the bombings already destroyed it.
For Ivanka and Emilia, there’s no going back to the way things were. Their city is in ruin, and even if they can return someday, nothing will be the same. They’ll never be able to forget the trauma they’ve lived through.
“Who I was no longer matters,” Ivanka said. “We have no home to go back to, no family.”
Ivanka and her daughter do their best to stay in touch with those still in Ukraine. They have friends who are trapped, surrounded by Russian forces. They have no heat, food, or water … and no way to get to safety.
Many Ukrainian refugees are women because men 18-60 aren’t permitted to leave the country. But some women have stayed behind, choosing not to leave their husbands and teenage sons.
Ivanka said that other refugees are teenage girls traveling to the border by themselves because they have no one to go with. They need prayers for strength and protection — but they also need help.
Both Ivanka and Emilia are so grateful for the help they’ve already received, but they know the fight isn’t over. Ukrainians are still running for their lives, and families like theirs don’t know where they’re going next. They need food, shelter, warm blankets, clothing, and more.
“The world is helping now … but we still need peace. Don’t stop,” Ivanka pleaded.
For just $35, you can give a refugee like Ivanka or Emilia essentials like food, clothes, and shelter for one week. They won’t have to worry about feeding their children or keeping warm. Instead, they can focus on figuring out where they’re going to go next and healing from the many horrors they’ve endured.
Your $35 gift will meet the physical needs of a refugee in Ukraine or another high-conflict area, but it will also demonstrate the love of Christ in a practical way. Our partners have shared how people have come to Christ as a result of this crisis.
Click the button below to give today.
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