FREMONT, Neb. (KMTV) — Liana Sendetska moved from Kramatrosk, Ukraine to Fremont to participate in an exchange student program. She was excited and full of optimism when she arrived to America. But, not long after, her home country was attacked.
"I remember it was February 24 and I woke up, I don’t know how exactly, but I woke up and checked the news because I was starting to check them everyday. It was terrified news about bombs and the Russians started bombing Ukraine. So I was like, 'what, what, what?' and then I saw the pictures and videos and called my family and my mom was terrified and she couldn't even speak because nobody expected this. Nobody saw this coming," Sendetska said.
Her family sought refuge in Poland.
Thousands of miles away, Sendetska says it's hard to believe the war is actually happening, saying it feels "like a fever dream."
Sendetska initially tried to return to her family, but her mother said no, saying it was safer for her to be in Nebraska. Now, she's trying to do what she can for her country, even though she's half a world away.
Sendetska will get the chance to speak about her experience and her home of Kramatorsk in an upcoming prayer service in Fremont.
Fremont Church of the Nazarene, First Lutheran and Fremont First United will host an Interfaith Prayer for Peace in Ukraine Service on April 24th. Pastors say it was important for them to do something to support Ukraine.
"We felt like there’s not a whole lot we can do to help and we firmly believe that prayer is one of the greatest things we can do," Pastor Mickey Boell, with Fremont Church of the Nazarene said.
Boell said she's excited for Sendetska to share her experience with the community of Fremont. She adds it's also important for Sendetska to know the community supports her.
"We really felt that it's easy to think that's happening somewhere else, yes it’s really sad but it's hard to make it a reality until you hear from someone who’s really affected by it," Boell said. "We felt it was super important to make it real this is really happening and it’s really affecting people around the world."
Sendetska says sharing about her hometown and raising awareness for what's happening gives her strength.
"I appreciate this opportunity to speak up and engage more people and praying for Ukraine, because I believe it helps, even mentally it helps," Sendetska said.
The prayer service will begin at 6;30 p.m. at Fremont Church of the Nazarene. Boell says everyone is welcome.