A Renewed Sense of Freedom

By Alexander and Anna

Alexander and Anna’s neighborhood back in Crimea.

“Every morning when I wake up, I thank God. Thank you for this country and bless these people,” Alexander said, after explaining how he, his wife and two children made the decision to flee their country and apply to be resettled as refugees in the United States. “We were living in Crimea when Russia invaded. We were citizens of Ukraine and we were told we had to change all of our documents because it was now occupied by Russia, but our home was there.” His wife Anna further explained how her father’s pastor in Ukraine was forced to close his church, because it was a Ukrainian church. “Ukrainian people cannot pray in the church because they are using the Ukrainian language. If I even have a small Ukrainian flag in my purse someone can hate me, or worse, put me in jail. If I speak Ukrainian it’s a problem. This is not freedom. I don’t want to take on Russian passport or citizenship. I came to the U.S. I am a refugee, my family is a refugee.”

Here in the U.S., Alexander explained how he appreciates having a safe life: “We don’t have to worry about ourselves, our kids, or for our health. We have a lot of great joy. I was just telling Anna, when we first came we had a few pieces of luggage. Now we have an apartment filled with belongings, and a car.”

This story originally appeared in our March 2018 Newsletter.