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