Explosions Were Continuous

The peaceful calm of the cold crisp February morning was shattered by sounds we had never heard before. Explosions, one, then two, and soon it was like a holiday fireworks show, but this was no holiday.

My husband and I gathered our two children, our cat, and enough clothing for a two-day stay in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv. Our family lives in Irpin, and we wanted to be closer to them. The fear of a Russian invasion we hoped would never happen suddenly shattered our peaceful lives. We lived on the sixteenth floor of an apartment building with nowhere to escape a rocket that might crash into our tiny apartment. Our family's private home offered safety and the comfort of being together in one place.

A couple of hours later, when we arrived in Irpin, the explosions were continuous and very close. A jet flew by our house, and I saw it launch a rocket. We all hid in the basement and which became our permanent home. It was a small, dark, dirty place. We all slept there because the explosions around us were deafening. Even the ground shook.

The children woke up and asked me if our basement would be protected if missiles hit our house. I assured them everything would be fine. I prayed that God would protect us because our basement was designed to keep vegetables fresh, not protect us from bombs intended to destroy the strongest buildings. Suddenly, I realized I had already seen such a picture at some point in my life. I dreamed of the same basement, the same fear.

In 2013, when my son was born, I had a terrible dream. It was an awful dream about war. It was scarier than in the war movies; everything seemed very real. I saw myself sitting in the basement of a house in Irpin. I was hiding with my husband and his relatives. A boy and a teenage girl lay outside in the street, unconscious and covered in blood. We cannot go out; we can't help them. We hear that the Russian military is well-armed and wants to kill us.

I was terrified because I remembered this dream. My children looked very similar to those I had dreamed of; they were the same age. Then, in a chat, one of the locals wrote that people should not open their doors because the Russian military is entering Irpin and Gostomel, forcing their way into houses.

Then I was even more frightened and told my husband and friends in the church about this dream and asked them to pray. Everyone was concerned for us. On the third day of the invasion, my husband said we had to get out of there. Our relatives refused to let us leave; they feared we would be killed as we fled to safety. We were also afraid to go. But that terrible dream of mine forced us to go. We grabbed the children and food, hugged our relatives, got in the car, and left. We all cried and didn't understand if we were doing the right thing. But we left Irpin and went to the west of Ukraine.

At first, strangers took us to spend the night in Khmelnytsky. They fed us and provided a large bed. For the first time in 3 days, we took a shower and slept in a real bed. We were so confused. We didn't know whether to cry or rejoice ... We didn't know where we should go... Then we arrived in Lviv. Our friend Nastya gave us the keys to her apartment and allowed us to live there long as necessary She said: "live here as long as you need, eat everything you see, use everything, you can take clean clothes. The apartment has already been paid in advance."

We just cried because we didn't believe it was happening. We did not understand how this was possible. How does God care so much? How can people be so kind to us without any conditions? The next day, we went to a refugee shelter in New Horizons church to help. We saw that a lot of work is needed there. My husband did a lot of work in the shelter, and I saw that the refugee children were bored and I started drawing and playing with them.

So we volunteered to help in the refugee shelter. Soon my husband became a manager and received financial support for his work. This was important to us because we lost our jobs on the first day of the war. We continued to take care of refugees in Lviv for 3 months. We met many great people who became like family to us.

Now we returned to our home near Kiyv for another work. We want to help people rebuild their houses and their lives. During the last few months, we have felt so much unity with other people, especially the church's unity. We think about all that has happened. We can see what God is doing in our lives and the lives of others. I don't know if it would have been possible if I hadn't had that terrible dream. We chose to trust God and leave for the unknown life that lay before us. This is our story.

Anastasiya (Nastya) is now serving on the trauma team at New Horizons. Nastya provides trauma relief for children by applying her skills in art therapy.

Anastasiya Avramchuk trauma care team


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