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‘There’s that ray of hope:’ Church member shares Easter prayer after return from trip to Poland, Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine continues to rage on, many Ukrainian-Americans in Kentucky are praying for peace, especially this Easter Weekend.
Published: Apr. 17, 2022 at 11:41 AM EDT
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JESSAMINE Co., Ky. (WKYT) - As the war in Ukraine continues to rage on, many Ukrainian-Americans in Kentucky are praying for peace, especially this Easter Weekend.

A group from the Ukrainian Pentecostal Church in Nicholasville returned from a trip to Ukraine and Poland Friday. There, they delivered bulletproof vests and medical supplies to refugees.

Victor Selepina, a member of the congregation, went on the week-long humanitarian aid trip. He said five men successfully got 83 bags full of sponsored and donated supplies from Kentucky to Ukraine and Poland.

“You can only see so much on TV, but once you’re there, it’s the atmosphere,” he said.

They’re negotiating with the port to lower the cost of shipments. Selepina said that’s how the majority of the aid is getting to refugees.

“All the humanitarian aid is going to be coming in a week or two, get the cost down...and speed up the process so there’s no bottlenecks to get the stuff that’s coming into the port to get it to Ukraine,” he said.

Selepina said the group spent time at refugee bases full of Ukrainians forced to flee from their homes.

“We spoke to some that were there over a month and the last room we went in, they were there just two days,” he said. “All I can say is, every single one of them, they’re just grateful to stay alive.”

Selepina said the same roads he drove and neighborhoods he walked during his last trip there in 2017 are now military checkpoints or rubble. He said most of the people are in a state of shock.

“Some of them....won’t even smile normally, they can’t even talk to you normally, they don’t even know how to react because of....everyone they knew all their life, they’re gone,” he said.

He said most of the refugees he met are living in tight quarters.

“Your heart breaks for those people,” Selepina said. “They left everything and now they’re just sitting in a room that’s 10 by 10....some of them have eight to ten people in a small, tiny room.”

He said the situation is dire and he can’t imagine how bad it is in war hotspots.

“The people that are in those basements or under those buildings and have no idea when they can get out, if they can get out....,” Selepina said.

He’s back on U.S. soil now. He said he won’t stop praying.

“We pray that the light of resurrection can at least somehow shine into those peoples’ life and there’s that ray of hope,” Selepina said.

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