Through your prayers...
Update from a Ukrainian ECM worker: "22nd day of the war is over. One day closer to our victory. One day closer to having back our ordinary lives."
'We often talk here about our last day of ‘normal life’. I guess it feels therapeutic to relive it in our heads. On my last day of normal life, I finished creating two perfect travel itineraries - one for Croatia and the other one for Switzerland, and just couldn't decide which trip to take first. Such a difficult dilemma, I thought.
'I couldn't even imagine that in a few days, I'd be arranging itineraries for the refugees. I would never believe that soon I'd be using all my travel experience to help families reach the destinations where they will finally feel safe. "Will the family with a newborn feel more comfortable traveling by direct train or by connecting flights?", "Will this old lady be okay traveling on her own or should I try to team her up with someone else?"- who would have thought that these would become my new dilemmas?
'I'm one of those travelers who love absolutely everything about it, from planning to unpacking. Tickets, backpacks, and travel kits are my favorite things, the same as airport terminals and train stations are my happy places.
'However, since the beginning of the war, all those former symbols of joy were overshadowed by human suffering. Now seeing a family with a suitcase undoubtedly means that they are fleeing the war and not going on vacation. They aren't smiling for travel pictures, they are nervously messaging their loved ones, asking if they are ok.
'Today I was at the train station in Poland from which I used to start a lot of my trips. The place that holds tons of happy memories for me.
‘Today it felt so different. Sad, bewildered, and detached.
‘Some people were crying, others were holding on tight to their suitcases. For many of them, this suitcase contains all their life. ‘Everything they own is in it. Carefully handpicked shards of their former life. Do they feel like memories of happy days or rather like bits and pieces that trigger pain?
'Still among all the heartbreak, you can feel hope. You see it in the eyes of the train station workers and hear it in the voices of volunteers. You can hear people saying "We will be back soon, ok?", "That's not for long", "We will see them again".
'Standing at this train station, I thought of wonderful and encouraging words Paul wrote in his letter to Philemon - "for I hope that through your prayers I will be given back to you." May through our prayers, millions of Ukrainian women and children will be given back to their husbands and fathers soon.'
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