Emotional prayer service for Ukraine in De Pere and how one local Ukrainian couple is keeping the faith

You can donate to the church's collection of Ukrainian relief funds until Wednesday at noon.
Published: Mar. 20, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - As video continues to surface of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, many in De Pere are sharing in prayer tonight, March 20.

“It’s not even possible to imagine people would go down and kill each other,” said a Journey Community Church attendee born in Ukraine Tanya Holinbiievska through tears. “It’s not possible.”

Husband and wife, Andrey Banyuk and Holinbiievska, both born in Ukraine but now Journey Community Church regulars in De Pere shared what they’ve been hearing daily from Holinbiievska’s parents and some of her 10 siblings still living amidst the violence.

“Well I’m really concerned, especially for my wife’s family because they’re still there and they’re not planning to get out,” Banyuk explained.

“We wanted to take some time really to put ourselves in the people’s shoes possibly the best way we can do that for people who are going through that, and try to life up the situation to prayer,” Chaz Pelky, associate pastor at Journey Community Church, shared about wanting to host the prayer service.

All to often we hear about people sending thoughts and prayers to those in need. However, on Sunday evening in De Pere, it was about more than just praying for people in Ukraine. It was also a time to learn about their culture.

“They like the high temperatures and then taking a dip in the cold water right afterwards,” Banyuk explained to the assembled crowd. “Or they just roll on snow and go back in to the sauna. It’s just one of those things where if you know Ukrainians they all go to saunas.”

Hearty laughs were exchanged along with some tears when talking about the war hopefully ending soon.

“We hope for that,” Holinbiievska emphasized while crying. “But so many lives are destroyed.”

Prayers Holinbiievska said can make a world of difference now.

“Not only religion but faith is helping a lot in this time,” Holinbiievska emphasized. “There is no one in Ukraine right now, no person who doesn’t believe in God. Maybe someone who didn’t want to talk about God before, now everyone believes in God. They believe that with God’s help they will make it.”

You can donate to the church’s collection of Ukraine Relief Funds until Wednesday, March 23, at noon.

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