A Ukrainian family of eight, including a grandmother and mother with six young daughters, will soon be settling in Quesnel.
For decades Bethel Church has been working with an organization in Ukraine helping teenage orphans, said lead pastor Monte Harrop.
“When the war started, we were naturally motivated to want to help, and so we started helping the organization we were with,” he said.
One day after a prayer meeting, Harrop reached out to Bethel Church member Violet Thiessen to ask if she knew anyone in need of direct aid.
Thiessen is from Ukraine and, through her friends, learned of a family that fled their home in central Ukraine to Poland and wanted to come to Canada.
She knows how to speak Russian and has connected with them over Facebook Messenger and video calls.
“They finally got their visas and passports,” Thiessen said Thursday, May 26, with excitement in her voice. “The mother has desire and she’s a strong woman from what I’ve gathered from talking to her—she’s ready to be here and do her best.”
The daughters are between the ages of five and 18.
Harrop hopes the Ukrainian family will arrive in Quesnel in the coming days.
Bethel Church is providing nearly $10,000 for their travel costs.
They will fly from Warsaw to Vancouver and Vancouver to Prince George, where a church member has agreed to donate the use of their 15-passenger van to pick them up with Harrop and Thiessen.
Once in Quesnel, the family will settle in a home downtown near the bus stop in which the owner has planned to provide the first few months rent-free. Harrop said Bethel Church would pay the cost of their utilities for a year.
“They want to get set up, and they want to work, find jobs, and make a life for themselves here in Quesnel,” he added. “As they hopefully become more self-sufficient in town, we’ll back off some of those supports as they’re able to take it on themselves, but we’re going to walk with them while they’re here until they are able to do that.”
Maple Park Alliance Church has also been working with Bethel Church and will be filling a freezer with homemade pierogies, borscht and bread.
Members of both churches have already donated bedding and dishes. Monte said they are in need of furniture, especially beds, and local gift cards or money the family can use to purchase clothing or food.
Anyone interested in supporting the family can contact Bethel Church at 250-747-3116 or stop in during office hours Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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