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Ukrainian and Polish church leaders hold public meeting in Lake Country, B.C.

Click to play video: 'Ukraine and Poland church leaders speak at local church' Ukraine and Poland church leaders speak at local church
Three church leaders from Poland and Ukraine came to the Okanagan this week to say thank you for all they've done to support the war-torn Ukraine, and Thursday evening, members of the Lake Country Alliance church heard about their firsthand experiences of what those men have seen and gone through since the war began. Victoria Femia reports – Jun 24, 2022

Church leaders from Ukraine and Poland are sharing first-hand accounts of the war in Ukraine and its impact on Poland, which took in 4 million refugees.

The three men, Dmitry Bodyu, Jonasz Topilolo, and Krystsztof Zareba came to B.C. earlier this week.

They’re here to personally say thank you to the Okanagan community for all the donations and support offered to the people of Ukraine.

Since the war started, residents in the Okanagan made it a priority to support Ukraine and the refugees that fled the war-torn country for their own safety.

“Their whole world has been turned upside down, it’s hard for us to understand how big of a challenge this is,” said Congregation Member, David French.

Read more: Small delegation from Ukraine and Poland arrives in Okanagan to thank residents

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“But upwards of a third of the population of Ukraine, about 12 million people have been moving. Many have left Ukraine, and many have moved to different parts of the country. But it has completely torn their world apart,” said French.

On Thursday night they spoke at the Lake Country Alliance Church, one of the local organizations that have shown support.

Bodyu, a pastor from Ukraine told the crowd when the war first began he was arrested by Russian forces and detained for eight days.

The stories shared by the three men created a sense of reality for many and French says meeting them was life-changing.

“When you hear what they are going through, what’s going on in our world becomes inconsequential, because the struggles that they’re going through on a day-to-day basis compared to what our lives are like, it’s almost meaningless.”

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Canada, US announce additional military aid to Ukraine – Jun 15, 2022

“I wanted to have information about what’s actually happening there because we don’t always hear everything that’s accurate and I’m passionate for the people suffering over in Ukraine and these three people that are here tonight are telling us the truth, they’re telling us their story,” said church member, Dori Hewitson.

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The church has so far raised about $20,000 for Ukraine to help provide things like housing and medicine. It’s also part of a group of churches across Canada that has raised about $1.2 million that has been sent directly to areas in need.

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