Members of Longview area non-profit group travel to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees | Local News

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Philip Jordan said he saw the raw reality of war after hearing the stories of Ukrainian refugees whose lives were drastically changed.

“On a material level, they have lost jobs, homes. They lost their cities. Some have lost loved ones,” he said. “Most of the refugees are women and children, and their husbands stay in Ukraine to fight…Just seeing the separation of families…seeing and hearing the stories…they don’t have nothing.

Members of a White Oak-based nonprofit traveled to Poland last week to help a church help Ukrainian refugees.

Jordan and Joey Vargas are members of Samaritan Servants International, which was founded by Dos Rossouw, who owns and operates Clean Cut Roofing in White Oak. The organization aims to provide “real things” to the people it serves, such as water wells, construction of buildings and educational aid, such as books and Bibles, Rossouw said.

According to Rossouw, Jordan and Vargas were originally supposed to travel to Pakistan, but their visas were denied. As time was already booked for a trip, the plan was quickly changed with Poland as the new destination.

“We were put in touch with the right people in Poland and in less than 10 days we were able to mobilize,” Rossouw said.

As the group was unaware of the immediate needs of the refugees, they collected letters of encouragement as well as a small amount of money.

The trip will likely be followed by another within the next 30 days, Rossouw said.

“It will depend on how (Jordan and Vargas) experience it and what they find is going on with the situation,” he said.

Jordan and Vargas were due to return from Warsaw, Poland on Sunday. They arrived in the city last Monday and stayed in a warehouse that is being used as a supply distribution center, Jordan said.

Before leaving for the trip, Jordan made contact with the pastor of a church in Warsaw which is mostly made up of Ukrainians who are collecting donations such as food, clothing, medical supplies and more to send back to their home. country.

In partnership with the church, Jordan and Vargas visited a refugee center in Warsaw run by the Polish government. While there on Wednesday, they were able to speak with refugees, hear their stories and distribute the monetary gifts and letters of encouragement that Samaritan Servants International had prepared before they left, Jordan said.

“(The Ukrainian refugees) really appreciated what we had done for them,” Jordan said.

He said the refugee center environment was pleasant and well maintained with a restaurant, medical clinic, access to clothing and games for children.

“They really rolled out the red carpet to help these refugees feel as comfortable as possible,” Jordan said.

On Thursday, the pair boarded a bus and made the eight-hour trip to Lviv, Ukraine. The city is normally home to more than 700,000 people, but the war has caused an influx of about 200,000 more people, Jordan said.

“The main reason people are moving west is because of all the fighting in the east,” Jordan said.

Jordan said he met many people and heard countless stories from refugees about how the war had affected their lives. A woman he met in Warsaw burst into tears when he encouraged her, Jordan said.

“We came to let you know that we care,” Jordan told the woman. “We as Americans care for you and we’re sorry you’re going through this, but we’re here to help in any way we can. God sees you, and he hasn’t forgotten you, and he loves you.

At times, Jordan said he felt helpless seeing how many people needed help knowing he couldn’t help everyone, he said.

“I reminded myself that if you can help a family, you will change. You will bless them and change their future and help them on their way to start a new life. It will mean a lot to that person and that family,” he said.

Jordan said he hopes to raise awareness about what is happening in Ukraine and get people to sponsor families who want to come to the United States.

He has already pledged to sponsor a family he met during his visit and hopes other families can be sponsored and come to America, he said.

For more information about Samaritan Servants International, visit www.samaritanservants.org .


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