Leaders from Ukraine and Poland landed in Kelowna on June 21, to show their appreciation to Canadians.
Dmitry Bodyu, a pastor from Melitopol, Ukraine, and Jonasz Topilolo and Krzysztof Zareba, church leaders from Warsaw, Poland arrived at the Kelowna International Airport for a four-day tour of B.C. to give thanks for the war relief efforts and donations from Canadians.
Bodyu, a prominent leader in his community, was taken prisoner from his home on March 19 after the Russian military invaded Melitopol.
He was held captive in a filthy prison cell and interrogated by Russian secret service agents for more than a week.
Bodyu said that his faith is what kept him going while imprisoned.
After his eventual release, he and his family fled to Poland.
More than one million Ukrainian refugees are currently seeking refuge in Warsaw, said Topilolo.
The Polish church leader said that he and his team have been working to help refugees feel more at home while displaced by creating Ukrainian news and media, in their language, in Poland.
He said that in addition to providing shelter and food to refugees, he plans on using donated funds to expand the Ukrainian programs.
“We would like to give hope,” said Topilolo.
In March and April, Lake Country Alliance raised $10,000 to provide direct help to refugees in Poland and Ukraine. That money was matched by an anynomous local businessman. The money has been used to house and feed woman and children in Poland forced from their homes.
Members of the public are invited to the Lake Country Alliance Church on Thursday, June 23, at 7 p.m. to listen to the three international delegates share their stories of what it is like on the ground in Ukraine and Poland. For more information call the church at 250-766-4433.