Before Russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine, we focused on mentoring within our church and giving to our community. We met with small groups of people to learn together how to practice our faith in God in daily life.
We cooked every week for several hundred patients at a psychiatric hospital. These individuals were truly forgotten and craved healthy food and new friendships. We helped meet physical needs like buying them a washing machine and providing funds for other projects.
We led a weekly English club for the IT companies in our area. The goal was to enhance the lives of professionals by helping them improve their language skills and be able to grow in their careers. Through these conversational meetings, we developed relationships, and some of the English students began helping at the psychiatric hospital.
On February 24, 2022, we woke to the news that our country was in a full-scale war. We decided to evacuate our children from Ukraine. We sat in a line with hundreds of thousands of people, waiting 21 hours to get through the border crossing. Day and night, thousands of people walked through the freezing cold, carrying or pulling all the belongings they could bring with them. We watched countless men kiss their wives, children and grandchildren goodbye as they sent their family away for safety and stayed to defend Ukraine’s independence.
Thirty-six hours later, we were at an Airbnb near Krakow, Poland, finally able to shower and sleep. When we woke up the next morning, we decided unanimously to stay in Poland and help Ukrainians any way we could. Over the next six months, we evacuated families from Ukraine, drove supplies to the border and into the country, and provided trauma support at refugee shelters in southern Poland.
Eventually, we will move our family back home to L’viv. Until that time, we will be stationed in Poland. Josh will work to send humanitarian aid into Ukraine and raise funds to provide food, medical supplies and hygiene products for people in Ukraine who lack these basic needs.
Nicole will develop trauma resources and oversee the growth of multiple trauma programs for people in Ukraine, as well as those who have been forced to flee.
We continue to partner with New Horizons, a non-profit organization that provides shelter and food to people in the most dangerous parts of Ukraine. We are also providing trauma care and rebuilding homes that have been destroyed through war. New Horizons has a goal of repairing 30 Ukrainian homes before winter sets in. It costs roughly $10K to repair each home so that people have a warm place to live through the winter.