Editor’s Note: The report below was provided by an SGA-supported church in Poland.
So many of the stories from the ongoing Ukraine war are hard to read. That includes Tatyana’s below. Now being helped by an SGA-supported church in Poland, Tatyana’s heart is still broken . . . and in need of God’s healing and peace.
Please lift up Tatyana and her family as you read her words. May these suffering Ukrainians develop a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father. For God is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1) . . .
Tatyana lived in [a Ukrainian city] all her life. Her parents came young there and built the city. Tatyana tells with great love and admiration: “We had a wonderful, green, modern city. After 2014, it began developing even more, as it became a regional center — roads, parks, schools, a beautiful pool facility, tennis courts — many infrastructural objects were built. There were opened many music and sports schools and creative centers for children. The city had an active life vibe. People built houses, run businesses, made plans for the future. But . . . the war ruined it all!”
On February 24, Tatyana got up early and came at 7 in the morning, as usual, to her daughter’s place, to stay with her grandchildren while their parents were at work. The son-in-law opened the door, stone-faced and said, “The war has begun!” They quickly rode to Tatyana’s home to take her passport and returned. They decided to be together during this time and support each other.
The first intense explosions took place, so they took only the most necessary things, warm clothes and ran to the basement at the furniture store, which was not far from their house. Tatyana said that they thought they would wait there just for three or four days, but eventually they hid in the basement for two weeks without going outdoors. Some men took risk and went outside to get some food. It was very dangerous. Some people went out and never came back. Most likely, they got under fire. One woman, a professional chef, went out for food and did not come back; as it turned out later, she was killed during the shelling. My daughter and grandchildren were afraid and were in the basement all the time.
Tatyana says that one day her son-in-law, after all, decided to go home to take some documents. A terrible, and at the same time, amazing thing happened to him. He drove into the yard of their block of apartments one minute after a shell hit the yard and a powerful explosion took place. When he stopped by, he already saw the consequences of that “hit.” He miraculously survived! “God saved the life of my son-in-law! He stood up and looked around; he couldn’t even enter the apartment, because a fire had started in the house on the first floor, and everything was on fire. All the windows in the house were blown out. He returned to the basement. We realized that we urgently needed to leave the city. We quickly loaded our scarce belongings, and tried to escape in what we were dressed, as everything was left in our apartments. We rushed by car [away from their city], continued Tatyana.
In [a different city], Tatyana lived with her daughter and grandchildren (her son-in-law remained in Ukraine) in Christian churches. They were warmly received and provided with the most essential things: a shower, food, hygiene items, and clothes. “We received so much love and warmth from the people who had never met us. We were touched to the bottom of our hearts!” recalls Tatyana.
“But, to our consternation,” Tatyana said, “the explosions followed us wherever we would go. In every place, the war pursued “upon our heels.” When we came to [a city in western Ukraine], an explosion at the airport took place. It seemed there was no safe place left in Ukraine. We decided to leave the country. And from [that city], we bought tickets and took a bus to Poland.”
Tatyana, with tears in her eyes, says, “Our home city, turned into ruins; almost every house had been hit.” Black walls of the burnt houses, where there were no military facilities at all, those were people’s homes.
“My heart is broken; my life has been collapsed. My family is separated now: the older daughter and my son-in-law, my grandson and other relatives remained in Ukraine; my youngest daughter with her children and I are now here in Poland. Everyone is scattered, and I don’t know when we are going to see each other again.”
Tatyana finished her story with the words, “We are very grateful to the Polish government and Polish people for everything that we have here. They are simply incredible! We are accepted as their own family!”
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