Please help our Ukrainian Family

Campaign Created by: Justin & Melanie Vitovsky

The funds from this campaign will be received by Justin Vitovsky.

Goal : USD $30,000
Raised : USD $ 13,202

We need your help. The daughters of our heart need your help. My sons' sisters need your help.  Please, let me introduce them.

Adel is 20 years old and from Melitopol, Ukraine. She lived with us in 2017 and 2018. At the present time, she's unable to return home as her city is occupied by Russians and is not safe.  Her mom, her grandmother, and her fiancé’s family are all trapped in the city, where they've been able to have minimal contact. Her father seeks to find a way to safely get them out. First, he met her at the Hungarian border where she was given custody of her 14-year-old brother, Maxim, because their father cannot leave the country— they had to hug her father goodbye.  Adel, together with her 19-year-old fiancé, Michael, strives to keep Maxim safe.  They've crossed more than five borders in just as many days.  They left with the clothes on their backs and have had to seek clothing for incredibly cold weather, shelter, gas, and food, as they traveled to a safe location. Fortunately, Michael is an apprentice mechanic, and with help, was able to fix their car when they had troubles.  They've experienced anxiety, struggle, fear, and grief, but also immense kindness and even fleeting moments of joy. They've reached a safe harbor at her cousin's home.  We want to make sure they can get what they need, as well as to hopefully get the three of them safely to our home here in Texas, for an extended visit.  In addition to their living expenses in Europe, there will be many fees associated with visas and flights. Currently, the U.S. does not accept refugees from Ukraine, but she wouldn't want that  anyway.  They plan to return when the fighting is over to their families and to help rebuild.  We hope they can apply on a tourist visa for a safe visit away from the fighting, and we are prayerful that they will be approved for the visas to stay with us for a time. 

Adel has many friends from university and childhood that have been caught in this war. They are still trapped in the country and seeking refuge. The stories are heartbreaking, but Adel shares the moments to praise God and be thankful, as well as the moments when they feel the great need for prayer.  

Please also pray for Anna and Veronica, Adel's university roommates… They've traveled through the severe cold with four others, including a two-year-old child, a little girl, Eva, near Kyiv, trying to get away from the shelling. They've found shelter just outside the city, but how safe it is, or for how long they can stay, is still unknown.  Not all of them have met the hands and feet of Jesus, but we can help introduce them.

Another of Adel's very close friends, Daria, is trapped in her town of Mariupol, which is very close to the sea and has been under heavy bombardment. I saw a video last week; she was in hysterical tears, not knowing if she would survive and saying their entire house was shaking from the bombings. The latest update is that Daria and her family can no longer remain in their home.  They were moved to a shelter after part of a rocket went straight through their house after being shot down by the Ukrainian forces trying to protect the city. It created significant destruction, and fortunately, they were in the basement at the time, allowing them to survive. At this time, financial support can't help Daria and her family, though we hope it can in the future. She desperately needs prayers and God's intervention.

Iryna is 26 years old and recently graduated in Kyiv with her law degree. She lived with us in 2013 and 2013. She has four younger siblings, and they had to make the untenable choice to leave their home or stay with their father who is not allowed to leave. As a family, they decided to all stay together where they are hunkered down.  Their town is in western Ukraine, and for now, they are not in immediate danger.  They spend their days keeping the children occupied while they sleep in their clothes, remain at the ready in case they need to go, and make frequent trips to their basement every time the sirens sound.  Iryna says they do not have any financial needs – yet. She asks for continuous prayer and for any monies raised to be given to help Adel and others seeking to escape the terror in their cities.

Both of these beautiful young women, Adel and Iryna, lived with us in Cypress, Texas, during their exchange year, and they attended Bridgeland and Cy Ranch High Schools.  They are daughters of our heart and every bit as much a part of our family as the children to whom we gave birth.  They are in danger. Their families are in danger. Neither of them have asked for anything, but we've offered to do everything possible to help, and Adel has humbly accepted. Even through all of this and the constant worry for her family that is in danger, she holds tight to her faith and asks us to help others more than herself.  As of yesterday, we have sent $850 to her and others on her behalf.  We have another $1,000 we'll be able to send as she directs. It's not enough to make a dent in the lives of all Ukrainians. Not nearly enough. But every little bit will help these specific Ukrainians, their families, and their friends, and we will post updates here for all that want to help and pray for them.  My hope is that for these families, we can be the hands and feet of God.

A little over a year after Iryna returned home from her exchange year, we got a package in the mail from her.  Inside was a CD with this beautiful video tribute she'd made for our family. It still makes me cry every time I watch it, but never more than now.  Take a look if you want to meet one of the beautiful daughters of our hearts.   https://youtu.be/G4o4pDI7YdY

Please pray, and if you're so led to do so, donate to help us help them.  

UPDATES

Final update for awhile... Part 2 of 2.
August 19, 2022
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At this time, we need continued prayer for Adel, Michael, and Maxim, as they are on the next steps of their life’s journey. We could also use prayer for us as we try to right our finances... they've certainly been flipped upside down.  Please continue to also keep Iryna and her family in your prayers. They’re still in Poland living in the hotel, waiting for something to open up for their family. 

Also, we have another need. There is an opportunity to get Michael's sister and her husband out of their Russian-occupied city, but it’s expensive, and they can’t afford it. Due to the occupation, they can’t get work, and food is expensive. They’re barely able to eat at this point. Now that they’ve been able to get a bank account, Adel & Michael have started their own Give Send Go, with the purpose of raising money to help Michael’s sister. They aren’t able to send anything themselves yet, because their work permits haven’t come through.  If you can help or want to pray and stay updated with their posts, please follow their Give Send Go.  The link is: https://www.givesendgo.com/help4Ukrainians?utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR152hRWw0PsHIGWWpTqsmOpynOIGek9YmuiTRHvd7MMRX0IX5Vpc6BU3PY

Also, just before their Iowa departure, Fox 26 returned to do a follow-up story on their journey. This can be seen here: https://www.fox26houston.com/news/ukrainian-refugee-who-fled-to-cypress-tx-heading-to-iowa-for-college.

Thank you, from the bottoms of our hearts, thank you, for your prayers and support over these last 5 months.  They’ve been appreciated more than we could possibly express.

Love always,

The Vitovskys, Adel, Michael, and Maxim

P.S. It won't let me add pictures here. I'll try to add others to the gallery. To see the gallery, use the arrows to scroll to the right on the main account image of our girls.

Final update for awhile... Part 1 of 2.
August 19, 2022
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It's been another long while, and I apologize for that. Autoimmune disease makes it a bit more challenging for me to keep up here in addition to the day to day, but now that things have calmed down, I've been able to carve out some time. My last update was in June, and we've had a LOT happen. I'll do a quick bulleted update below, and then a more detailed explanation below!

  • Adel went to journalism camp (free for those who qualify) with the World Journalism Institute in Iowa in June.  
  • Michael was able to buy a car ($500) and fix it up!
  • Adel was given a scholarship to attend Dordt University in Iowa, where her camp was held, to finish the last year of her journalism degree.
  • Adel & Michael got married July 30th.
  • Maxim was given a scholarship to a private school in Iowa.
  • Adel, Michael, and Maxim have temporarily moved to Iowa for school, as of August 11th.
  • They are STILL waiting for work permits. This entire process is something else.. :(

When I wrote the last update in June, Adel was actually in Iowa, where she'd been accepted for a 2-week camp with the World Journalism Institute at Dordt University in Iowa. While there, she was able to make many connections, and God has continued to open doors for them. The opportunity had presented itself, that she might be able to finish her degree in America... but in Iowa. We tried for Texas schools, but without success.  She hoped for her and Michael to get married here with us in Texas, as their American parents, before anymore big changes happened in their lives to divert them, so they set a date for July 30th and the wedding planning commenced.

Thanks to the help of a LOT of family, friends, and community, they had a beautiful ceremony and small reception at a church in Rosenburg. Their parents were able to watch from Zoom, and Adel's mom in Lithuania, dad in Melitopol, and Michael's mom in Poland were all able to complete the Ukrainian tradition of saying a blessing over the marriage.  It was beautiful, and there were a lot of tears.

The days after the wedding were a whirlwind of preparations as the three of them were getting ready to go to Iowa to start a new chapter in their journey.  We all took a day to spend together at the beach, knowing time here was short, and I took some fun pictures of Adel & Michael in their wedding attire. Maxim was given tuition from the church for the local private school in the same city as the university, and they're ready to help him improving his English and Math.  The church there also arranged for 2 months in a basement apartment for rent, and Adel and Michael are hopeful their work permits will be approved by the end of that time. We sent them with as much as we could fit into their car, to give them a head start with food, etc, and friends helped too... but there is only so much you can fit into a little car.  They'll be living off the monetary wedding gifts they were given until their work permits are approved and they can officially work. We hope it will last long enough for that.

For us, it's strange being back down to 4 people, though I think our credit cards have taken a sigh of relief. We pray for Adel, Michael, and Maxim daily, and we won't stop loving on and praying for these kids of our hearts.  

Oops! I'm out of space.  I'll finish out this update and add pictures from the wedding in a Part 2.

Settling in... Part 2 of 2
June 3, 2022
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We received good news that Ukrainians that arrived to the United States by April 11th, would qualify for Temporary Protected Status, and therefore Employment Authorization.  They crossed the border on April 8th, so this was a blessing, and wonderful news!  We received a donation from a sweet neighbor that covered one set of the fees for their TPS and Employment Authorization applications, which were $545 each!  We finally saved enough for all three of them, and got those submitted early this week. The wait time in Texas is estimated to be 8 months before they might get their permits. =( This is incredibly frustrating. We did just get news this week that Ukrainians on Humanitarian Parole will now qualify for some public benefits and assistance. We feel bittersweet about this.  They don't want public benefits that are ultimately paid for by our taxpayers, and we certainly don't want this option for them either.  Ukrainians want to WORK and there are hiring signs everywhere, but without legal permissions, their options are significantly limited.   As you might imagine, this is a catch-22. We have a meeting with a refugee ministry next week to go over the options with us. It seems there is one program that aims to keep refugees off of public benefits, so I'm interested to hear more about that, and what it entails. If they do recommend that we apply for any forms of benefits, we've been advised it would take at least 60 days for the process and for any assistance to be available, and in the meantime, the support of all three of them rests with us. 

Ways to help:

  • Please join us in prayer.  We know that somehow God will provide, so we choose not be anxious, but to trust in what we've been called to do.  I'll update the specific Prayer Requests page as well.
  • We're going to be doing more lemonade stands in the weeks to come, and we're also going to be fundraising through car washes (Michael is really good at detailing!). If you like lemonade and/or a clean car, please keep your eyes open for that. 
  • We need a 29" or Large size bike for Michael, if anyone has one they're ready to pass on - or please let us know if you see one at a garage sale. We were able to get a fixer-upper bike for Maxim, and one for Adel, but Michael has been a bit more challenging.  
  • We could really use gift cards or donations to help with food and gas costs. Even budgeting to only $50 per person, per week, the food bill is more than our mortgage at this point.  Cards to HEB and Costco are most cost effective for us, but Kroger, Target, Walmart... we'd go wherever we'd need to, and be incredibly grateful.

Other quick updates:

Please continue to pray for Iryna. Her family is still in Poland, and she's still the only one able to work, since her employer is still in Ukraine. Her dad has applied for a work permit, and awaits for it to go through. She has 4 younger siblings, her parents, and her grandmother with her. She's currently(for a purpose, not for fun) and we also pray over her travels.

We are continuing to pray for (and send money to when possible) Adel and Michael's families. Adel's mom continues to try and make a way in Lithuania, and we continue to pray for grandma and Michael's sister and brother-in-law in Melitopol. Russian occupation has made things very challenging there when they bring in all supplies with a significantly higher cost, and most are no longer able to get to work outside of the city.

We continue to hear many stories from different regions, and the situation over there remains terrible. As news coverage switches to elsewhere, and we also try not to watch often and to create distractions for our crew here, we are ever aware that over there, people continue to be bombed and are dying.  We pray... Glory to God, Peace to Ukraine. <3

Settling in... Part 1 of 2
June 2, 2022
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It's been a long time since I've updated, and I feel really bad about that.  After our three Ukrainians arrived to our house in early April, it became quite the whirlwind, and I went from having 2 kids at home, to having 5.  In addition to that, a very close friend of mine passed from breast cancer, so any extra energy went to spending her last few weeks with her.  

Adel, Maxim, and Michael are settling in.  We were blessed to have friends, family, neighbors, and those at church step-up to help us in meeting their early needs. 

Adel was accepted to the World Journalism Institute with World News Group for a 2-week camp in Iowa. The program was free, so we only needed airfare, and we made it happen for her. We pray this will lead to further opportunities, and hopefully a future option to complete her university studies here in the United States. She was in her 3rd year at home in Ukraine.  She's enjoying it immensely, but she misses all of us too.  She gets home this Sunday. Michael and Maxim have been forced to immerse themselves fully in English outside of speaking with each other, due to her absence, and I think this has been good for them.

Maxim is on our neighborhood swim team, with practices 4 days a week, and swim meets every Saturday. Adel & Michael volunteer to meet those commitments.  Maxim is also studying English and remedial Math at home on an accelerated schedule.  He's been participating in our homeschool group and enjoys the time with the other teens.  He's motivated to complete his work, and to do his chores, so like most other 14-year-old boys, he can get to play video games. His English is improving daily and we're all able to have many conversations with him now. Next week, he's been invited to participate in a church camp with lots of fun activities. Usually this would cost, but the church offered it to him and both of our boys for free. We're excited for them to have this experience.  We've discovered that Maxim needs glasses, so we need to figure that out.

Michael has started formal ESL classes with Cypress Assistance Ministries.  He helps out around the house by mowing the lawn, cleaning air vents, washing cars, and finding projects to keep himself busy. There is certainly no shortage of that around here! He's also been going with a family friend of ours to work once or twice a week cleaning pools with him, to learn different skills.  A couple weeks ago, we also had some visits with a cardiologist to get him checked out. His blood pressure has been far too high for his age, so we're on a nutrition and exercise plan for that.  No more sodium for this guy!  Michael might need glasses too, but for now, that will have to wait.

Financially, things are... tight. Very... tight.  Our grocery bill has doubled, several utilities have increased noticeably, and we're using more gas and tolls to get everyone where they need to go. With the price increases in addition to the extra needs, we're struggling.  In the first few weeks of their arrival, we had some very kind souls donate and bring us gift cards to help out.  They were an incredible blessing. It's all been used up now, so we pray for God's continued provision as we continue to do everything we can to support them.  

I'm out of characters here, but I'll do a second update to talk about TPS, Employment Authorization, and what we could really use now.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you that love on us.

Adel, Mychael, and Maxim are here!!!
April 11, 2022
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The last week has been a huge whirlwind. There are a lot of details, and we will share here soon, but for now, we put our focus on them.  Very long story short, they’re here, at our home, in Texas!!!

🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻


Please continue to pray for the family, friends, and country.  Please continue to pray for Iryna!

Urgent prayer request:
April 7, 2022
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We need continuous and round the clock prayers for a hedge of protection around Adel, Maxsim, and Mychael, and that God paves the way for them.

I can’t disclose details at this time, but they are moving, and they need our continuous prayers!  Please don’t stop praying for them for at least the next week.  Every moment you can remember.  

Weekend Fundraising Efforts
April 3, 2022
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We did Lemonade stands for 6.5 hours on Saturday and for 6 hours on Sunday.  Our efforts raised $950.88!  We’re planning to do more later this week. 

Our most immediate need will be to pay for airline tickets. There are things in the works that I can’t share details on yet, but God is making a way!

A small update...
March 31, 2022
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We continue our efforts to get Adel, Maxim, and Michael here for an extended visit. Not only will it give their parents (them and us) peace of mind to have them here with us and safe, it will give their parents the opportunity to figure things out over the coming months without more mouths to feed, and get things more stable - especially for Maxim. Their dad is still in Melitopol with their grandparents, and Adel's mom is with them in Lithuania. They submitted all of the applications for the visa and paid the $480 in visa fees that we sent them so they could schedule their interview. The process was complicated, with  many site errors, but it was finally all in order. She was told that there weren't any visa appointments available for non-residents. That means that there aren't any appointments available for ANY Ukrainians. Our president told us that Ukrainians will be welcomed with open arms. I'm not shocked, but very disappointed that it hasn't been true in our experience at all. 

We did contact our Congressman's office and we've gone through the entire process with them. The letter we received told us it would be at least 16 weeks, though she was told that no appointments were available at all. As of today, we've been told that we've exhausted all congressional resources, and they can't help us further. We continue to pray that God will open these doors.

Updates and more prayer requests...
March 27, 2022
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1. Adel\'s dad made it to Melitopol safely. Her grandparents do not want to leave, as the journey would be a very, very difficult one for them. When they last made contact, her dad was going to stay a bit to help them and see what options they would have. As of this morning, communication has been cut off from those in Melitopol and she can no longer reach anyone there.  Please continue to pray for them all.


Please add the following to your prayers:

-Katia - communication is difficult for her family in Chernihiv. Please continue to keep their safety and wellbeing in your prayers. 

-Others we care about through our connections in the exchange program that need our prayers:  Stas, Marina (29 weeks pregnant), and Sasha.  They are still in Ukraine.

-We sent more money to Adel so that they can open a bank account where they are. They need this to complete the visa process. The current interview dates are showing for May. :( We hope we may be able to expedite this process. Please keep this in your prayers.  

-We hope to raise more funds to continue to help them, their families, and their friends. In addition to this, the fees involved with the visa process, and the expenses for their travel. We continue plans for the bake sale and market event. At this time we\'ve had a little difficulty solidifying the location, and therefore the date/time. We pray that will be resolved this week so we can move forward.

We\'re in the process of rearranging our 3-bedroom home to accommodate the 7 of us comfortably for an extended period of time. We hope to be able to give them space they will be comfortable in and that would also allow them a bit of privacy. We plan to change our guest bed from a twin to a larger loft, and change one of the boys beds to a bunk bed to sleep Maxim with them. We\'re looking at used options and Ikea.


We thank you for your support and prayers. It is appreciated more than you can know.

Specific Prayer Requests
March 22, 2022
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Urgent: 

  1. Adel\'s dad is driving to Melitopol right now, where he will attempt to get his parents, Ade\'s grandparents, out of the city. Please pray that God will make a way safely in, and safely out, and shelter them to safety

Continuous prayer:

  1. Please continue to pray for Katia in the Chernihiv region, and for her mother who is a doctor working in the hospital there.
  2. Adel, Michael, and Maxim have all applied for their visas to come and stay with us through the summer. We\'re all grateful that they\'ve been reunited with their parents, but everyone is in agreement that a visit here will give the kids a sense of safety, normalcy, and a chance for their mom to find work and get settled in where. Currently, there is no idea how long they may need to stay out of Ukraine. Selfishly, their arrival will also allow me to hug my daughter close. We haven\'t seen her since 2018, and we\'ve missed her dearly.  We are very hopeful to get to meet her fiance and her little brother too. They\'re already family to us. Please pray that the visa process is quick and smooth. We\'ve heard nightmares from some people trying to come to the states, and we pray we do not share those experiences.
  3. Continue to pray for Iryna and her family - they\'re slowly settling into Poland with the kids, but it is difficult. Only Iryna is able to work, and their housing is further away from family than they had hoped.
  4. Continue to pray for Daria\'s family - especially her grandparents and great-grandmother still in Mariupol.

Other:

  1. We\'re working out a few details for the bake sale our kids and homeschool student council teens are helping to organize. Not the least of these details to still be worked out is the location. Please pray that this will be worked out perfectly to God\'s will, and that all of the pieces will fall into place for a successful event.
  2. We have a small 3 bedroom - but thankfully we love Adel and she loves us back plenty well enough to all be in close quarters with 7 people!  We do need to switch out beds in two of our rooms, replacing a twin with a full in one room (preferable a loft to maximize space), and a twin with a twin bunk bed in the other, to make comfortable sleeping arrangements. Please pray that we will find affordable and ideal circumstances to get what we need, so Adel, Michael, and Maxim will all feel comfortable and like they have their own space.  

Please pray for God\'s provision and a hedge of protection for them all!


*Updates posted recently about the current situations if you\'d like more information.

Praise Report - Continued - Daria, Anna and Veronica!
March 22, 2022
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Adel received a text message this morning from Daria. She\'s had a driver that was already paid looking for a safe moment to help Daria\'s family get out, but he\'d been unable to get into the city to get to them. He was planning to attempt it again in the morning.  In the middle of the night, Daria her boyfriend, and her two sisters, ran under fire and in the cover of night.  They\'re out of Mariupol and safe.

Adel feels immense relief that they are at the very least, now safe from bombs. Daria\'s grandparents are still in Mariupol. They refused to leave her great-grandma who is in a wheelchair and paralyzed.

Adel also got updated news about Anna and Veronica, her former roommates who are traveling together. They are near a city called Rivne, where a church has given them a space about the size of a closet to stay safe. My understanding is that it\'s not a protestant church, and they have strange rules, like they are not allowed to attend services anywhere else, but must attend there, and they are not allowed to close the door to the room where they stay. 

Anna doesn\'t have a travel passport with her, and therefore she can\'t cross the border anywhere, so they are working with the local consulate office to try and get updated papers for her. Veronica is still sick with a cold or something, and she also is having a significant pain in an untreated wisdom tooth. They\'re trying to let her get well while they wait for Anna\'s paperwork to come through. She could use medical care, since she hasn\'t been getting better, but the hospitals don\'t accept any new people right now, and it would be expensive, so they\'re doing what they can. We\'re offering to help more if we can.

Anna shared a story with Adel about how they take the bus into the city everyday to check on Anna\'s documents and to buy food to eat, but that one day there were bombs falling and they hid on the bus.

I will create another update with specific prayer requests!

Praise report! Daria is safe and out of Mariupol!
March 21, 2022
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Daria is safe!  More details later, on Daria as well as Anna and Veronica, but I couldn\'t wait to share this!  

Bake Sale and Market?
March 19, 2022
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We\'re hoping to put together a market event and bake sale in the Fairfield area for some time in the next two weeks. All vendor fees, donations, and any purchases from our Ukrainian support booth will 100% go straight to this campaign and be given directly to our girls as they need it*.

Please contact me if you\'d like to participate or for information about this. We\'re going to need help to pull it off!  parents@helpourdaughters.com


**They ask us not to send too much at a time, since they don\'t want to carry too much cash. Also, because it will be used to help to cover visa fees and flight costs.

Adel is reunited with her mom!
March 19, 2022
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The journey from Melitopol was dangerous and scary, but she made it!  Adel\'s mom was reunited with her and Maxim today!  Thank you, Jesus!

Please continue to pray for Daria and her family. The attempts to extract her have not been successful and remains ongoing.

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST - Please pray without ceasing over the next 24-48 hours specifically for Daria.
March 17, 2022
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Daria made contact with Adel this morning. In all capital letters she begs Adel, her 20 year old friend, to find them a way out of Mariupol, or they will be killed. Can you imagine this desperation or being given this responsibility? Daria is with a group of 8, including two girls, 5 and 9 years old. They are already taking shelter in their home that was destroyed by pieces of a rocket, putting up sheets in large openings to try and shield themselves from the elements. They are nearly out of food, and they are out of water. 

Now, getting killed by soldiers or hit by a shell feels like only a matter of time. 

Adel used the same groups she used previously to try and find help for her mother. Mariupol is more dangerous, and much harder to get inside. The situation there is truly desperate.  She found a driver who is willing, and partial payment is being sent, with further payment being arranged. There are a lot of scams, so we\'re praying this one is also legit. They must get them out quickly, or there may not be another opportunity. 

Please pray without ceasing over the next 24-48 hours!

Praise Report & Prayer Reqest
March 17, 2022
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Adel and Mikhail\'s moms have successfully made it out of Melitopol.  It was a harrowing journey filled with events they can\'t unsee.  They were shot at, and one car in their convoy as they crossed into the green corridor negotiated to benefit those in Mariupol didn\'t make it.  Please pray for their minds and the images they will be reimagining.  That they would be able to feel peace.  After a long and very crowded train ride (4 people to 1 seat), Mikhail will be meeting them at the border in Slovakia or Poland (I think my details are shaky on that), and he\'s already on his way. From there, they will return to Lithuania and Adel and Maxim will be reunited with their mother. The trip was not an option for her grandparents. They are still stuck in Melitopol. Please pray for the deliverance and safety.

Urgent Prayer Request: Adel's and Mikhail's mothers evacuating
March 15, 2022
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This is a very dangerous journey for at least 200 km, after which they will reach some relative safety outside of the occupied areas. They will need to traverse around bridges, through fields and landmines, and are depending on an unknown guide.  

Please PRAY! Please keep them covered in prayers of protection for the next 24 hours. God is good ALL the time!  

Praise Report! Katia and Daria!
March 15, 2022
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Praise report! 

Daria and Katia are both alive and have been able to briefly make contact!

From Iryna:  

“Mommy, it\'s a real God\'s miracle! Katia just had a chance to give a very short call. She is alive and her grandmother is alive as well! They don\'t have connection anymore as russian troops destroyed the tower. She went somewhere to the middle of the field and found poor connection there, but it allowed her to make a call! I am not sure when she will be able to call again as it might be unsafe to go the field. They are still occupied and we no nothing about their food. But they are alive! It\'s the most important! Thank you all for the prayer♥️ Please continue to pray for her and her family as it is still very hard and unsafe for them!”

Adel says: 

“I got a message from Daria! I said: \"Glory to God\"! I was so happy she is alive! I told that to Michael and he was soo happy too! She got the mobile service for about 10 min and we had time to discuss everything!

The part of russian rocket flew into their house after ukrainian forces shoot it down. At least it didn\'t explode near the house! They all were staying in the bomb shelter underground. (8 people: Daria, her two little sisters about 5 and 9 years old, her grandma, grandpa, her dad, and two their friends). She sent me the pics... one part of the house is destroyed and she hanged some blankets to cover it...but she told me they were crying...no matter what they are alive...!

They have some food, and no water. She told me that they collected some snow that has fallen a couple of days ago and now they drink snow and wash themselves a bit with it.

However she told me that they cannot be evacuated. They don\'t have  a car and they don\'t have any internet and mobile service to talk with someone about it. They can go out from the house for a couple of hours during the day...but it is a severe fighting there...

But... it\'s SUCH a relief! My girl, my best friend is alive!!! Devil was sending me stupid thoughts like I will be on her funeral...but it all lies! Huge lies! I know God protects her! Just like He protected us and allowed to escape. And i know she will go through it with her family!!! Thank you very much for your prayers! It does make a difference! And Daria said that they actually feel that they are not alone! Praise the Lord!!!!”

There is little food in these locations, minimal options for cooking, and it’s unknown when they will be able to make contact again.  

Please continue to keep Daria and Katia in your prayers!

Evacuation of Adel's family:
March 13, 2022
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Adel\'s family has an opportunity to be evacuated from their Russian occupied city, but it\'s dangerous. We will pay a group $1,000 to help them navigate the route, and we\'re transferring the money to her now. Her cousin will get it across the border to this group. There are many \"block posts\" (road blocks) and bombed bridges.  The fields they must drive through to avoid blocked roads have landmines. A friend of their family was able to get through successfully with this group, and it is a chance. They wait for word that another family they know will make it all the way through by tomorrow, before they commit to this. If all goes according to plan, they will be in a group that will leave early this week. The trip is about 200 km and is expected to  take them 6-7 hours to travel to the nearest city that is not occupied.  From there, they will make their way to the Polish border. 

Adel is monitoring the situation, and a column of cars left her city this morning. They haven\'t yet arrived safely to the nearest safe town, so they\'re awaiting word. If everything goes as planned, it seems this will be the best option for most of her family to get out. The men will be able to take her mom, Mikhail\'s mom and cousin, and the brother of one of her cousins.  The group getting paid to help them endangers themselves to help others, so they can also financially support their own families.

Adel\'s grandparents are too old for this route. It will be too physically difficult for them and could endanger the others. Her dad is attempting to get into the city to evacuate their grandparents a different way - with a different set of dangers.

As you might imagine, Adel, Mikhail, and Maxim are a bit of an anxious mess through all of this, but they hold fast to the will of God.

Please pray - and if you can, donate. We need your help, so we can continue to support Adel and other Ukrainians as they need it.

Taking a small break... an update on Adel, Mikhail, & Maxim
March 12, 2022
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Adel struggles to sleep as she worries about her family in Melitopl.  Her friend Daria in Mariupol, whom she hasn\'t heard from in 4 days now, is also ever on her mind.  Last she heard, they were moved to a shelter after a piece of a rocket went through their home, and they were running out of food. The news from there gets worse everyday.  Adel also worries consistently about Veronica, Anna, and the little girl Eva, as they travel to get out of Ukraine, and thinks consistently about those she doesn\'t have word from.

Today, to get her mind off things, her cousin took the three of them to see some sights in Lithuania. She said it helped immensely, and even bonded them all closer together.  This has really taken an emotional toll on all of them, and tempers have been short, their moods somber. It was a really nice break away from reality of their home, and I pray they have more opportunities to get their minds off of events there - even if only for a short while.  

Through all of this, Adel is continuing to teach English online to a few of her students that were not in Ukraine and wanted to continue. She\'s thankful for that continued income. She\'s also started to homeschool Maxim, and to teach Mikhail, English.

I haven\'t written much about Mikhail.  He is 19 years old, a junior mechanic, and he proposed to Adel in Moldova on their one year anniversary after they reached safety.  They\'ve known each other for 8 years, where they grew up in the same town and attended the same church. This is not how either of them had hoped it would be, away from their families, and they both feel sadness in this.  Mikhail was able to get blessings from her parents before he asked for her hand, and they are very grateful they are together. 

As a Mom, as her Mom, I feel much better that he is with Adel and Maxim, and that they are not traveling, a young woman and child, alone through all of this.  I look forward to getting to meet Mikhail and Maxim in person one day soon and to hugging my daughter tight.  We know Ukraine will make it.  They will rebuild.  And I have no doubt Adel will be part of it.  The patriotism Ukrainians feel is every bit as strong as what we feel in America.

An update on the finances:  Adel is asking us to hold onto it for the current moment.  They don\'t feel secure carrying very much cash, and they haven\'t figured out how they might be able to open their own bank account out of their country that isn\'t attached to Ukrainian hryvnas.  They are looking into that as an option, and for now have us sending cash via Western Union as they need it.  She\'s also directing me to send to friends as they need it, and we\'re letting Adel decide how it will be used. They left Ukraine with only the clothes they had with them, so needs are great. 

We hope to raise enough money to continue supporting Adel, Mikhail, and Maxim, their friends and family if needed, as well as to raise enough to help Daria when she gets out of Mariupol.  Iryna asked us to help Adel at this time, but we stand ready to do everything possible if a financial need arises for her as well.  We\'d like to cover Adel, Mikhail, and Maxim\'s visa fees and flights to stay with us in the U.S. through the summer, as well as their living expenses, until we have a better idea of what to expect in the situation over there. To further this effort, my kids continue to make blue and yellow Ukrainian inspired crafts to give in exchange for donations.  So far, more than $3,000 of what we\'ve raised was done through those efforts, and we manually added those donations to the list here to help us track them.  So if you see Zelle or other methods in the comments - that\'s why!

Iryna and her family...
March 12, 2022
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Iryna and her family have arrived safely to Poland!  They\'re working to get settled, and to figure out what they need to do next.

Praise Report for Iryna
March 10, 2022
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We\'ve been praying for Iryna\'s family and the decisions they needed to make as the fighting has gotten closer to their home.  They\'d originally chosen not to leave because their father was not allowed to leave the country.  Some of the rules have changed, and they found out that because they have more than 3 small children in their family, there was a chance he could leave with them. We\'ve been praying for God to make a way, and today they were able to leave - ALL of them - She is with her parents, siblings, and her grandmother!  God is faithful!  

Please pray for safe passage, and that they find a safe refuge.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Please continue praying for Iryna's family in Poland, and their friend Katya in Chernihiv.
  • Adel and Michael still have many family members in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine. Please keep them covered in prayer.
  • We are praying that Adel and Michael's Employment Authorization applications will be approved quickly. The current estimate in Texas is 8 months.
  • We pray for financial provision.