A Kentucky church continues to follow the word the Lord gave members years ago—with results only He could bring. The Pentecostal Ukrainian Church in Nicholasville, Kentucky, received a word long ago to "prepare for refugees," and as millions continue to flee Ukraine, leaders held a combined meal and bake sale to support them, NPR reports. Thousands attended the event the church held last weekend, donating a total of $147,193.83 for refugee relief, per Spectrum News 1.
In fact, as many as 10,000 people may have attended, one church member tells Fox 56 News, for an event that had no set price, just whatever amount people felt led to give toward the relief effort. The event also included video screens displaying footage of Ukraine from members' families and "Pray for Ukraine" signs for sale.
"We've had a prophecy, actually, years ago that—'be prepared for refugees,'" Victor Selapina, organizer of the event, tells NPR. "It was a prophecy in our church. And people know that. Every single individual knows that. So we're definitely getting prepared."
But the overwhelming response to the fundraiser, which included authentic Ukrainian foods and baked goods, shocked Selapina. By Sunday afternoon, the church sold out of everything.
"Very surprised—as in, just overwhelmed with gratitude," Selapina says. "Honestly, it's just been great to see people come together like that—the community just—and help out and do what they can. Absolutely. It's amazing."
"I could dream of war almost every night," says Leskiv, a wife and mother who fled Ukraine 30 years ago. "Like I wake up and think about it, how they lived through that night and what was happening that night."
She and her husband left the country as their country was gaining independence from the Soviet Union, but she has eight siblings still in Ukraine. Her concern for them—and the fact that the same church welcomed her when she moved to Kentucky 20 years ago—moved her to help the church with its fundraiser.
Others in the church also have deep ties to Ukraine.
"I have my cousins, my aunts and uncles there," Paul Kononents says. "They are on the western part of Ukraine, which is not struggling as much. But they have a lot of people who's actually coming from north and east right now. So they're actually opening up their homes, trying to get as many people as they can."
"When you see those flowers, how beautiful they're made, how gentle they are, you see that God is so powerful," Leskiv says, describing the table centerpieces for the event, highlighted by Ukraine's national flower. "We are going to grow new ones, new life if God provides, God helps us, and God stops this war."
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