Ukrainian woman shares story of escape

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 8:16 PM EST
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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) - It was tough, but Oksana Osypenko found the words to describe her reaction to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

“We never expected this. Many people were talking about this, but we couldn’t believe this would happen in real,” Osypenko said.

Osypenko was lucky enough to escape across the southwestern border to nearby Slovakia, but some of her family remains.

“My sister is calling me once in a while and she would stop talking and we would hear bombing and ‘we need to go hide,’” she said.

Osypenko’s husband Paval is still in Ukraine and their kids are beginning to wonder.

“We don’t show them much news and they would ask ‘Where is daddy?’ and ‘When is he coming back?’ and ‘When are we going home?’” Osypenko explained.

Patrick Whaley, associate minister at First United Methodist Church in Morehead City knows Osypenko from his time as a missionary.

“I started getting in trouble too much and going to jail too much because of the Christian faith so that’s why I spent more time in Ukraine,” Whaley said, referring to his time as a missionary in Russia.

Once working to train Ukrainian Christian leaders, Whaley’s heart now breaks for their situation.

“Oh, total grief and devastation, those are my friends!” Whaley exclaimed.

Whaley recalled memories of his time overseas while holding steadfast to the power of prayer and the change he believes it will cause.

“Everybody wants to be loved and to share love, to have freedom, to have their families, to live life to the fullest that God intended for each one of us and that’s our prayers for the people of Ukraine,” Whaley said.

“It’s very important for everyone to keep on supporting Ukraine. Don’t give up and we will have this victory together,” Osypenko said.

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