West Bloomfield man spends time helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland for year after Russian invasion

Don Parsons recently returned from Poland, where he has spent most of the last year working with Ukrainian refugees.

"The spirit remains strong. The trauma is real," he said. "Ukrainians want to go home, but right now they can't."

One year after Russia invaded Ukraine, Poland is home to 1-2 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, who have fled their homeland.

"Every day we see coming to our refugee center, hundreds of people seeking aid, seeking assistance, someone to pray with them, someone to talk to them, seeking food, the hygiene products, and so forth," Parsons said.

This is why Parsons and Mission Eurasia are in Poland with refugees and helping people still in Ukraine through their network of churches there.

"We've already delivered about 1,600 wood-burning stoves to warming centers, to homes because obviously heat has been a problem. Electricity has been a problem," he said.

They've provided hundreds of thousands of boxes of food and thousands of Christmas gifts to refugee children.

For Parsons, it hits especially close to home. He and his family lived in Ukraine for many years. He pastored a church there and sees the fear and uncertainty on the faces of those forced to leave.

"There's just a lot of unknowns," he said.

Yet, he says Ukrainians continue to show great resolve.

"There's a lot of hurt, and yet there's a lot of hopefulness," he said. "Ukrainian people are very resilient. They are struggling, yet they continue to press forward. They are not ready to give up."

And neither, he says, is Mission Eurasia.

"There are a lot of people that are going to need serious counseling - serious attention, ongoing care, and that's a place Mission Eurasia can help. We can help bring care to people, bring pastoral assistance, bring comfort, bring encouragement, bring hope in hopeless situations," Parsons said.

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