The Foreigner’s Blessing That Broke Me

Among Ukrainian exiles, I found miraculous perseverance in the absence of deliverance.

Six months before I flew to Poland to report on Ukrainian refugees, a truck hit my mother-in-law, killing her instantly. Six weeks before I flew to Poland, I discovered I was 23 weeks pregnant.

A lot was on my mind when I boarded the plane to Warsaw. I had just started a new job. My husband’s grief was still raw, and I sometimes heard him crying in his sleep, dreaming vivid memories of his mother. Neither my husband nor I felt ready to become parents in less than three months. And there I was, unborn child tumbling in my belly, his rolls and jabs as turbulent as my thoughts and emotions. I tried to pray then, but all I could muster was: “Oh Lord, how I need you.”

In times of war and hardship, we seek stories of extraordinary courage and resilience. As a Christian journalist, I wasn’t sure what to expect in my reporting, but I knew what I hoped to find: powerful testimonies, inspiring images of the gospel at work, quote-worthy statements of faith.

I found all of those things in Poland as I visited churches, refugee shelters, train stations, and border crossings. It wasn’t hard to find heartwarming stories of the faithful: One Ukrainian pastor in Zabki, a suburb of Warsaw, invited more than 10 refugees to stay with his family in their tiny home. The day I visited his church shelter, Ukrainian refugee children gathered on the steps to sing a sweet Ukrainian hymn about God’s protection, forgiveness, and mercy.

I also saw giant steps of faith. Almost every church in Poland is helping Ukrainian refugees, but most can only offer short-term stays. The Church for the City in Krakow realized they needed a longer-term strategy. At first, the church began praying about hosting 700 refugees for six months. …

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