PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Vancouver church has been working hard to care for Ukrainian refugees, having taken in several families, with more on the way.
A Ukrainian woman recently had to leave her husband behind in the war-torn country, but thanks to the Restoration of Hearts Ministries, she has a former refugee helping her.
You might mistake the two women for sisters — but they had never met until this week. One is a former Ukrainian refugee while the other just arrived after escaping the Russian invasion.
Tetiana Yurieva is from the Donbas region. Parts of that area have been controlled by separatist groups since 2014 — but then came the invasion that began earlier this year.
“But [the] last activities were destroying us in a mental way, in emotional way[s] and different ways,” Yurieva said via a translator.
So Yurieva and her son, who’s grown up in the chaos, were two of the more than a million Ukrainians who fled. She had to leave her minister husband behind, arriving in Vancouver this week with her young son.
“I ask him, ‘Do you wanna come back to Ukraine?’ he said, ‘No, of course not. I [don’t] want to come back to Ukraine, but I want my papa to be here.” Yurieva recounted.
The Restoration of Hearts Ministries is helping Yurieva and other refugees with everything they need.
They’ve connected her with Oleksandra Kazachenko, who is from the same general area that’s been controlled by separatists. She fled four years ago after repeated threats.
“So people from [the] other side of the border, they were telling us they’re going to kill us… and my husband once they’re going to find him,” Kazachenko said via a translator.
Now divorced, the single mom helps other refugees, like Yurieva, become acclimated to life here in the states after leaving their whole world behind.
“United States is [such an] amazing country,” Kazachenko said. “Yes, I’m a single mom, but I have everything, I have food, I have a place to stay even, I can help my people in Ukraine from here.”
If you’d like to help with the ministry’s work, visit their website for more information.