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Faces of The Fellowship: Natalia and Alexander

Eva Geller, a Fellowship staff member, shares a story about a family she visited on a recent trip to Kiev, Ukraine:Natalia and Alexander are a married couple currently living in a cramped room in a small apartment in Kiev, Ukraine. Until a few months ago, they lived in Donetsk, but they fled their hometown when violence and chaos began to spiral out of control and they feared for their lives.Residents of Kiev are not willing to rent their apartments to refugees from eastern Ukraine, and so it is incredibly difficult for the refugees to find a place to live. Natalia and Alexander feel so lucky they even have a single room to stay in.Alexander is a nice guy and is always smiling. But he suffers from diabetes, which is progressively getting worse. He used to renovate houses but had to quit because of his illness, and he can’t find a new job because he is now considered disabled.When Natalia and Alexander fled from Donetsk, they felt so lost. They had nothing, not even food. Alexander’s entire pension was frozen, and he couldn't even buy his medicine until the Fellowship-sponsored Hesed program in Kiev stepped in to help him.Natalia has found a job as a cleaning woman at a kindergarten. Alexander tries to help her from time to time, but he is still struggling with health issues. Because of his diabetes, he should be on a special diet, but he can't afford it. He often eats just potatoes and bread.They recently wanted to visit their families in Donetsk, but they couldn't because the roads were bombed and they heard that the Russian soldiers have become even more aggressive toward Ukrainians. People can’t say anything about the conflict, except to praise Russia, otherwise they disappear, Alexander told me."We thank God on a daily basis for sending us your assistance with food, medicine, and rent. Without your aid, we would have died,” he said.There was silence in the room, when suddenly, Alexander burst into tears. He told me about his grandparents who were killed in World War II and compared it to what's happening now in Donetsk."We have nothing,” Natalia cried loudly. “I want children, but we no longer have the money for that." She wiped her tears and sat hunched over.The couple hopes to leave Ukraine and start their lives anew away from the terror, but all they can do now is wait and try to survive.The pain in their eyes left me frozen and speechless. I knew I didn’t have the words to comfort them, but I am so glad The Fellowship is doing everything we can to support this family during such an uncertain and volatile time.

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The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) funds humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, promotes prayer and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state, and provides resources that help build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews.

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