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I Am Tatyana: A Ukrainian Refugee Story

I am Tatyana, I am Ukrainian and a mother of three children.

On February 24, I woke up to the sounds of sirens and explosions. I felt fear and despair. A thousand thoughts flashed through my head. I could not believe what was happening. I still can’t. In the 21st century, in the center of Europe, such a terrible war is going on. In the first days, I, like many other Ukrainians, did not know what to do. Some went abroad immediately, and some hesitated. Personally, I had no desire to go anywhere. But after the terrible, tragic news from Bucha, Irpin, and the northern Kyiv region, my mother's fear took the upper hand for the sake of my children. So, with the help of my sister, I decided to go.

When the full-scale invasion began my brother was drafted into the ranks of the Armed Forces. His wife was very nervous for him and decided not to leave the country. Instead, she asked me to take her daughter with me. Her name is Polina. So on March 6th of last year, I set out with my daughter Albina, and my niece, Polina. We were afraid of the unknown, but we prayed. Somehow, I knew we were going to find God-fearing people and that gave me peace.

We received a warm welcome. Despite the language barrier, we understood each other easily. We were provided with everything we needed. We live with other refugee women and it began to feel like home. Many evenings, Aneta (Elim leader) came to us and taught us Polish. It was so healing talking, praying, and crying. My heart was happy and sad at the same time. We were at peace, but my two older children, my husband, my brother, and my mother are still in Ukraine. This always worries me.

Many different moments have been experienced during the time spent in Poland. A terrible tragedy happened in my family. My sister-in-law, Polina’s mom died. She was brought to a hospital in Leipzig, Germany with a brain tumor. Her death was unexpected and very painful. Once again, we were supported by our dear friends from the Elim mission. They were there for us and loved us through this painful moment. Polina is only a twelve-year-old girl who lost her mother. She especially needed this loving support.

Later, my brother, (Polina’s father) was released from the army and came to Poland. Together with Polina and their son Dima, they went to Germany. They are infinitely grateful for the support they received from our Polish friends during such a difficult time for the family.

I thank God for every day that I live at Elim. The support that I receive, and the gifts that I have are from God. I know now that God has plans for each of us. One of those plans was my baptism here in Poland, far from home. God has no borders. It is here that He gave me the wisdom and understanding to make this decision for my life.

I thank God that I am surrounded by kind and sensitive people and that I have the opportunity to pray and help my children who still remain in Ukraine.

I love my country very much and it hurts me to see it being destroyed. But I hope that God will hear the prayers of millions of people and stop this terrible tragedy.


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