‘So many prayers’: A local family is torn apart as Russian tensions intensify in Ukraine

SPOKANE, Wash. — A North Idaho native has called Ukraine home for more than 20 years, but she had to leave the home she loves for safety in Spokane.

Sharyn Borodina decided to fly back to the Inland Northwest late last week. She and her two daughters thankfully made it back to the states, but her husband is still in Eastern Europe. She first fell in love with Ukraine in 1996 during an intensive bible training through the Youth With A Mission ministry she attended. She eventually met her Ukrainian husband and settled there for good. They’ve committed their life to Christian ministry work in a country they’ve seen change over the years.

“The aggression of Russian politics has been an issue in Ukraine, especially these past eight years,” Borodina said.

That growing aggression worried her husband about his family’s safety. They eventually decided coming back to the states for a bit was best. He is still in Ukraine preparing for an influx of refugees if the Russian invasion intensifies. Already, his ministry is hosting 20 displaced families who left East Ukraine for the Western part of the country which is a bit calmer for now.

Even though Borodina is safe with friends and family, her heart is heavy.

“Though my homeland is here in the United States, my home is in Ukraine,” she said. “It has been for over 20 years.”

Over those years, she’s watched the country grow and strive for democracy.

“Ukraine is a nation first of all that the United States has supported and nurtured and encouraged in many ways these past 30 years with the desire for them to prosper as a democratic nation,” Borodina added.

That prosperity is being threatened as Russian troops move in, and diplomacy falls short.

“Even though the leaders of the world are coming together to try to help Ukraine, the 40 million people who live in Ukraine are the ones that are paying the price,” Borodina said.

She says her Ukrainian community has lived in uncertainty since 2014 when Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula. Her young family had to flee back then and start a new life in West Ukraine.

“Again, we’re in a situation where it could be an unsafe place.”

As that safety shrinks, she knows our community is doing what they can to help people they may never meet.

“We have so many prayers that are going out to the people of Ukraine right here from Washington state and Idaho.” She asks for continued prayers during this crisis.

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