We are grateful to Sherry Edwards, the Chair of the Friedberg Mission Committee for providing this update on their recent work sponsoring the Otovskyi family.
Late last March the Friedberg Mission Committee began to explore what all would be involved in sponsoring a Ukraine refugee family. After a lot of research and prayer we met with our Joint Board and gained support to move forward.
A path did not immediately open for us to sponsor a family. We prayed and asked God to show us a path to sponsorship if that was His will for Friedberg. Several months passed with no significant activity.
Then with the help of the Board of World Mission (BWM), doors began to open. In late September, Justin Rabbach, BWM Executive Director was made aware of a family that fled from Kyiv and was currently residing in Nová Paka, Czech Republic. The family needed to be relocated by October 31st from their current housing arrangement. We very much wanted to sponsor the family but thought it would be impossible to get all the Immigration Services forms complete and approved and have the family leave Nová Paka by October 31. We were wrong! God was moving mountains!
On Monday, October 3rd Friedberg submitted a request to sponsor the family at 5:08 P.M. It took five hours to complete all the paperwork. Tuesday morning, we received confirmation from Immigration Services that our paperwork was approved. We could not believe our eyes and read the email several times. The next step was for our family to complete their side of the paperwork. By end of day on Wednesday our family received travel authorization to the US from the department of Immigration Services! In just 3 days our family had full authorization. Whoever got anything complete with the US government in 3 days?!! God moves mountains. The BWM volunteered to pay for all travel expenses for our family and we were ready to order plane tickets. Our family arrived on October 31st!! God’s perfect plan and timing.
The dad’s name is Dima, and the mom is Laroslava. They are in their mid-30’s. They have 2 boys, Mark and Stefan. The boys are in the 2nd and 4th grade. Everyone in the family speaks some English, some are more fluent than others. They are of Christian faith.
Sally Greenfield has very generously donated her house, Stafford House in Kernersville, for the family’s use for 2 years. The Friedberg Women’s Fellowship, Sunday School classes and many individuals have donated money, furniture, clothing, and gift cards. One Friedberg member donated a car for their use and the Friedberg Mission Fund is paying for the liability car insurance. Friedberg Prayers and Squares made a prayer quilt and Love Knots made blankets for all members of the family.
The family has been busy completing required medical checkups, getting a US driver’s license, SSNs, etc. The boys are enrolled at Kernersville Elementary School and are doing well. The family is here as Humanitarian Paroles and are receiving assistance with food and medical needs. However, funding is still needed for extra medical needs such as dental care and for items such as fresh food and personal care needs.
Many of the agencies that provide support for Humanitarian Paroles such as the Department of Social Services are flooded with requests and the processes have been slow. It has been very difficult getting support from World Relief who is designated to help with job placement, English language training, and other services offered through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
Friedberg is attempting to move Laroslava’s parents from Kyiv to Kernersville. Her parents were scheduled to leave on January 18th however, her father had a stroke on January 12th and is in a hospital in Kyiv.
Although much has been accomplished, much is left to be done. What can you do? Pray for peace in Ukraine. Pray for Laroslava’s parents. Pray that her father will be healthy enough to travel to the US. Pray that the Otovskyi family will continue to heal physically and emotionally from the traumas of war. You can also help by providing financial support.
Financial support is needed in the form of Walmart or Sheets gift cards that can be used for food, clothing, and gas, or you can send a check to Friedberg Moravian Church and indicate that it is for Ukraine Support. You may also donate via Friedberg’s website: https://friedberg.church/.
We are blessed to be a blessing here at Friedberg and very excited to help this family who have lost everything due to war. Please prayerfully consider joining us in the important mission effort.
Matthew 25:35 “I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
To deliver gift cards or to receive more information please contact Sherry Edwards at 336-926-2058 or the Friedberg church office at 336-764-1830.