4/20/2022 – Hitching a Ride at the Ukrainian Border 

From Jamie Piepon FB post: After this latest trip from L’viv to Krakow as I returned to Poland, I was recognized by some of the aid workers at the tents set up on the border. As we were pulling out, one of them stopped me and asked where I was going. When I told him I was headed to Krakow, he asked if I could take another woman and her teenage daughter with me who had just crossed the border. This woman left Kyiv the day after the invasion and had been in Western Ukraine with her daughter and boyfriend. Today, her boyfriend (who cannot cross the border as a young man) dropped them off and they crossed into Poland on foot. The boyfriend set off for Kyiv.

Can you fathom the desperation required to hop into some weirdo foreigner’s van at a border crossing with nothing but a promise to get you to a train station? We spent some time talking through some of their experiences. We stopped at a gas station and she and her daughter split a hot dog. The passengers then all got some rest. 

As we got closer to Krakow, she seemed to be growing a little bit nervous. When we arrived and unloaded their two small suitcases, she said she was “so uncomfortable” because I had brought them all that way and she thought she should pay something. I told her that we indeed needed to “settle up” and I gave her some cash (provided generously from many saints back home) and she was just frozen. She admitted that they had dwindling resources on her debit card account, and that, other than the cash I had handed her, she had $100 in her pocket. She has just a little more than that now, but she also has the knowledge that there are people she’s never met before that care about her, that are praying for her (although she is not herself a believer), and that this tangible help she received was given by many in the name of the heavenly Father they hope she will also come to know.

“As for me, I am poor and needy,

    but the Lord takes thought for me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

    do not delay, O my God!”

Compiled by Leanne Portzel

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