Please read their story and contribute if you can.
A Letter from Todd & Lily Sayers...
Dear Friends and Family,
In the first week of March 2014, Russian troops left their naval bases and invaded the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine by the thousands "” the same peninsula where Lily and her family have lived (and where her family still lives) since 1988.
Storming into government buildings, and stationing troops throughout numerous Crimean cities, towns, and villages, local government leaders were immediately replaced with pro-Russian leaders. As Russian flags were raised and Ukrainian flags were lowered, Russian President Vladimir Putin disingenuously denied that these troops were Russian soldiers. He instead claimed they were local "self-defense" groups. How these "self defense" groups gained access to the latest in military gear and weaponry poses quite the conundrum.
This claim came simultaneously with Putin asking for (and receiving) permission from the Russian parliament for the use of troops on the Crimean peninsula to "protect" the ethnic Russians who live in Crimea. Though clearly under false pretenses, this invasion led to the now well-known and widely misunderstood referendum (vote) of March 16, 2014, where a supposed 97% of the population of Crimea voted to be separated from Ukraine to join the Russian Federation. Russia made the annexation official less than a week later and immediately began the process of forcing the residents of Crimea to become Russians.
Much to their horror, they are completely aware that they will face all sorts of frightening consequences if they don't cooperate.
Neighbors and business associates fill the ears of Lily's family with warnings of local forces coming door-to-door and destroying their Ukrainian documents. They hear that black X's have been drawn on the doors of Crimean Tatar houses in certain villages.
Because of fear for their own personal safety and well being, Lily's mother and sister escaped from Crimea; leaving behind everything they own with the exception of what fit into a few suitcases, and headed for Kiev.
They are currently being housed in a refugee center set up by
the Ukrainian government and the United Nations.
This refugee center is for those who have escaped Crimea since March 30, 2014, but they may only remain here for a total of 10 days. After that, they are on their own.
While we are certainly glad that they have escaped the very dangerous situation in Crimea, they are now in a huge city with no resources, soon to be left without food, water, and a place to live.
Lily's mother is currently awaiting her paperwork to be finalized for her permanent residency in the United States - paperwork that was already in process before this nightmare came to be, and a process that will probably take another month or two before completion. This option, however, is not a viable one for Lily's sister. We have begun the application process for her to come to the United States on a refugee visa, but this entails an approval or denial time period of 6-18 months.
And so we are asking for your help. While we have both been blessed with great jobs, an additional $400 per month is way more than we can handle financially at the moment - particularly because we just welcomed a new baby into our family on March 25, 2014.
Please consider joining with us in helping to support our family and keeping them safe by making a donation of any amount.
Anything you can contribute, no matter how large or small, we will be eternally grateful.
We thank you sincerely for your support, and we also ask for prayers for our family, and for Crimea during this difficult time.
Our love and appreciation,
Todd and Lily Sayers
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- Cathy Wilson
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