East Texas native lives through Ukraine invasion | Religion


Gladewater, Texas ticks all the boxes for a small town in Texas.

Close-knit community, high school football is the favorite pastime and Sundays are the days to worship God.

Amanda Fetisova grew up in this community and, growing up, worshiped at Gladewater’s first Assembly of God.

After graduating from high school, Fetisova attended Bible school, where she would find her calling to do missionary work.

During her studies, she was drawn to Ukraine, because in the past Russia had tried to remove God from the country.

“The Soviet Union took away God,” Fetisova said. “For me growing up in East Texas, as a Christian, I couldn’t imagine being told there is no God.”

She worked with orphans in Ukraine, to guide them. Over time, she met Max Fetisov, her husband and a native of Ukraine, with the same passion for helping those less fortunate.

Fetisov met a young girl named Vera in 1999, and regularly visited and shared the hope through the Bible lessons he was learning at church.

He quickly started bringing friends with him and the heart of True Hope was born.

Last year they built their own center to house and care for orphans, but not that the shelter is used to house refugees and as a bomb shelter when air raids fly over their town in Ukraine.

On February 24, Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Fetisova woke up to texts and calls from her friends from Ukraine and back here in the United States.

That’s when she heard the explosions.

“Sometimes it’s like your life is in a movie,” Fetisova said. “It’s not real. You watch WWII movies and you just can’t imagine. It’s just not real.”

Krivoy Rog was luckier than other places in Ukraine, with missiles flown over to only hit outside the city limits, and a tank battalion trying to force their way to Krivoy Rog but were stopped by the Ukrainian Air Force.

When reports and videos emerged of Russian forces targeting civilians during the invasion, Fetisov decided it was time to evacuate the women and children.

“Unless there is a miracle, it’s only a matter of time,” Fetisova said. “They are strong, brave and determined, but we don’t have the manpower.”

If they tried to flee by car, hours of waiting at the border and a shortage of petrol could leave them stranded on the side of the road.

So Amanda with 17 wives and 18 children took the trains to escape to Poland’s safety net.

Although the chaos of war did not make the journey easy. Trains enter the station at random times with no fixed timetable. Passengers have to wait for hours hoping for a train to take them to Poland.

“People stood for hours with their bags packed for hours hoping for a train to come and take them west,” Fetisova said.

Fetisova and the other refugees were able to travel to Poland.

“Poland has been so kind and kind in providing us with accommodation, clothes and food,” Fetisova said. “It’s a blessing.”

Her husband stayed behind to care for those still in Ukraine.

He was able to get in touch with a driver and is able to plan more easily when to evacuate more people from Krivoy Rog and is trying to find food for refugees and the military in his town.

Fetisova now waits and watches with the rest of the world what is happening in her new homeland, and waits to be reunited with her husband.

“Ukraine is sacrificing itself for the rest of the world,” Fetisova said. “We all know that we don’t want World War III to start. So Ukraine is sacrificing itself for that.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the True Hope Ministry, led by max and Amanda Fetisova, can go to truehopeukraine.com.

All donations will go towards feeding those still stranded in Krivoy Rog and helping more refugees evacuate from Ukraine.


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