Annice and Vicky, 2021

Recently while one of our volunteer interpreters was translating for a newly-arrived Russian family, she told them of her arrival story.

Victoria came to Minnesota from Ukraine 23 years ago through Arrive Ministries, formerly called World Relief Minnesota. She and her brother were paired with a volunteer English tutor named Annice.

Vicky and Annice, 2021

Their weekly English tutoring relationship quickly developed into a more substantial friendship.

“When I got married, Annice attended my wedding, and when I had children, she visited my newborn babies,” said Victoria.


The tutoring friendship evolved. I became such a friend of the family…


“The tutoring friendship evolved. I became such a friend of the family that I kept getting together with their family for social and family gatherings,” said Annice.

As the years went on, Victoria’s extended family became more like another family to Annice. Annice even traveled to Ukraine to visit Vicky’s brothers and stay with Vicky’s parents, who lived in Ukraine at the time.

Vicky (far left), Vicky’s siblings (middle), and Annice (far right), circa late 1990s

“The Muravitskiys (Vicky’s extended family) are my Minnesota family,” said Annice, who grew-up in Ohio. “I feel honored to know that if I need help with anything, anyone in her family will help me.”


It has been a two-way, mutual relationship. Annice became like a family member to us.


“It has been a two-way, mutual relationship. Annice became like a family member to us,” said Victoria. “We invite her to weddings, birthdays, baby showers. She sends birthday cards to my children.”

Now that Victoria has been settled in Minnesota for over two decades, she watned to give back to new refugees by serving as a volunteer interpreter through the same organization that resettled her in 1997.

Annice visiting Ukraine and staying with Vicky’s mother


I started from nothing, and now I am in a position to help others succeed in this country. It’s an amazing feeling to pay back, and it’s my turn to help.


“I’m grateful that Arrive Ministries helped me look for a job and assigned me a volunteer English tutor. I started from nothing, and now I am in a position to help others succeed in this country. It’s an amazing feeling to pay back, and it’s my turn to help,” said Victoria.

While recently telling this story to our newest Russian refugee clients, Victoria urged the family to sign-up for Arrive Ministries’ friendship program, so a group of volunteers could walk alongside their family as they adjust to their new homeland.

“You never know?” Victoria urged, “You might just make life-long friends!”