SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Two families from Ukraine stopped in Springfield at the Assembly of God World Prayer Center for a moment of prayer before finishing their journey to Rogersville.
The two families fled from a war zone north of Crimea and have been traveling for around a month, and were picked up at the southern border by Dmitry Mafty, the main organizer of Prayer in the Square.
“These particular two families that we brought today, it took them a little bit over a month to get here,” Mafty said. “They were hiding in basements. And then when they felt there was a safe time to sneak out, they packed their bags, whatever they could grab.”
The families are staying in Missouri as part of the one-year ‘Humanitarian Parole’ Ukrainian citizens are currently being offered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Mafty said the two families’ welcome to Springfield was brief, since their travel to America lasted so long.
“First, they’re hungry, they’re thirsty,” Mafty said. “Some of them were sleeping wherever they could find a free spot. The reason why I found out about refugees at the border, I saw it on the news. I saw my own cousins with four little children sleeping on sidewalks.”
The families were presented a check for $500 from one donor to help the families sponsoring these refugees.
Carlie Touchstone, the project champion for Ukraine at the Assemblies of God, talks about his favorite part of helping.
“My favorite thing is to see how quickly they become self-sufficient, how quickly they are able to adjust to the American culture and get out and work hard and make a living and raise their families in a very conservative manner,” Touchstone said.