BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — A Broken Arrow Church is supporting a local family forced to leave Ukraine while doing ministry work there.
The Price family has a unique perspective on the war, they have lived in Ukraine 14 years, long enough to call it home.
"I am the director of the Ukrainian Bible Institute, which is located in Kyiv, Ukraine,” Brandon Price said.
The Broken Arrow Church of Christ has supported their work for the last several years.
Price is also a husband and father to a five-year-old son. He's lived in Kyiv, for about two and a half years, eight in the city of Kharkiv, and four in the city of Mariupol.
When the bombing started on February 24th, Price and his family quickly packed up their belongings and started their journey west.
“That was a scary drive to the border, it was only about 40 minutes but knowing that there were explosions in Kyiv, inside the capital and then hearing them on our way to the border, made it for a very tense drive with our friend and our five-year-old son,” Price said.
Price and his family safely reached Poland.
“We evacuated to the city of Sopot, partnering with the Sopot Church of Christ here and are receiving refugees now and helping them come into Poland,” Price said.
Price said leaving Ukraine was difficult because it meant leaving behind every thing that had become their life, including a church family, apartment, and job.
"We’re leaving the Ukrainian border and I’m just wondering when we get to come back, when do we get to come home?," Price said. "It was kind of an emotional moment... It was an emotional day."
Price said war has turned his life upside down. He said his responsibilities shifted from teaching bible classes to helping Ukrainian refugees get to safety, and even challenged his own faith to walk the talk.
“It’s definitely been a challenge, but it’s also been encouraging, how churches have come together, how Christians have come together and to see people who have lost more than we have come over the border and say praise God that I’m here and I have a place to sleep in," Price said.
From people sacrificing their sleep, to others their safety, Price said in the midst of the chaos and heartache, he's been encouraged to see glimpses of love and kindness.
He said he's been impressed to see the Polish people open their heart to the refugees.
“Loving your neighbor as yourself has been this real clear picture seeing how Polish people are bringing in Ukrainians and not just bringing them in, but taking care of them," Price said.
Price said right now they don't have plans to return home.
“We have a calling here and we have the ability to help in a special way that not everybody can with our knowledge of the language and the culture and just having this opportunity to work with this church here, and so we are in a position where we can facilitate help both directions," Price said.
“We are eagerly awaiting so that we can get back to Ukraine and back to whatever that life is going to look like for us,” he said.
As the Price family prays for the war to end soon, they know the Ukraine they return to won't be the same.
“Even if everything stopped tomorrow, there’s still going to be a lot of ministry to do, a lot of humanitarian aid, a lot of rebuilding to do," Price said.
While they wait for that day, they've shifted from teaching in the Ukrainian Bible Institute to serving refugees.
“The needs are getting to safety. The needs are food. And the needs are shelter,” Price said.
He said more refugees have arrived to their center with children sick from the long journey.
“One family we’re close to got here and the next couple of days their daughter got here and the next couple of days her daughter went to the hospital and they showed that she had been extremely dehydrated, they were on an 8 day trip trying to get out of Ukraine,” Price said.
Price said they are providing shelter and space for refugees to catch their breath before they figure out what's next. Some have asked to go to relatives in nearby countries, so they give them money to help get them there.
“We encourage them to go register with the city, which will allow them healthcare, a doctor, and which will also allow them to start looking to start looking towards a job if that’s something that’s interesting to them and which will also allow them to start looking,” Price said.
While Price and his family are no longer in Ukraine, their hearts are with friends still there.
One of those friends in Mariupol told him their apartment building had been shelled and they had lost everything.
“He said that they didn’t eat for four days straight hiding out in a basement and when he and another guy went to try and salvage maybe some food from refrigerators or something, he said the destruction was something you can’t imagine and the death everywhere was something you can’t imagine,” Price said.
He said seeing his own friends seeking refuge has been hard.
“We refer to refugees as a great group of people who are in an unfortunate situation, but our first one to arrive here was Tanya, Tanya from Kharkiv that we’ve known for years and it was bizarre, you’re not a refugee, you’re our friend Tanya,” he said.
Price said it has also changed his perception of refugees.
“Those refugees are my friends and I want to treat them with respect.”
Price said they are hoping the war ends soon. He said Ukrainian Bible Institute has an American affiliate that is raising money to help fund the needs of their ministry. To visit a link click here.
- Working to stop crime in south Tulsa neighborhood
- DOWNLOAD the 2 News Oklahoma app for alerts
- Broken Arrow church supporting family ministry in Ukraine
- FOLLOW 2 News Oklahoma on Facebook
- How to travel with a firearm
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --