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Couple with ties to local church heading to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees

chad and leanna weibe.jpg
Posted at 9:43 PM, Mar 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-13 21:45:36-04

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — Inside the doors of Grace Community Church in Hudsonville, parishioners gathered for a rare nighttime service Sunday; to pray for Ukraine and a couple heading to eastern Europe to help with a growing refugee crisis.

Chad and Leanna Wiebe, husband and wife of 25 years and missionaries with SEND International are heading to their next mission, earlier than scheduled.

We just want to help we want to help in any way we can,” says Leanna Wiebe. “We already have our team that kind of are refuges themselves in Poland as well, because all the foreigners had to evacuate from Ukraine. But we're coming to join our team and see what we can do from that side from over there.”

Their work will likely include distributing food, water, helping to find shelter and working to bridge the language barrier for millions of Ukrainian refugees, mainly women and children.

For Leanna, Russia’s attack and invasion of the country hits, literally, close to home.

“I grew up in Ukraine. Odessa. It's on the Black Sea. It's a beautiful city and I still have family over there. Both my sister is there, and my dad who’s 92. My uncle and my brother, his family and nieces and nephews. I have lots of family friends there,” Leanna said.

“They're heartbroken and devastated and it's terrible what is happening. Just imagine the whole country right now pretty much on wheels,” she added.

Images and videos, along with personal stories about the ongoing destruction are still hard to come to grips with. The Wiebe’s called Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv home for nearly 14 years.

It's hard to believe, it really is,” said Chad. “Sometimes, we can watch the news for only a certain amount of time. And then we have to just literally disconnect because it's too much to process.”

Throughout the unfolding tragedy, stories of resilience help keep spirits high.

“Last Sunday, when [our Ukrainian friends] were sitting in the underground parking lot in the church, using it as a bomb shelter. They had a wedding because a couple in the church decided, well, we wanted to have a real wedding like everybody else but it looks like it's not going to happen. Well, we're still going to have a wedding. We're still moving forward,” Leanna explained.

“Ukrainians are resilient,” says Leanna.

If you want to help with their mission or their organization, SEND International, click here.

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