CHARLOTTE, NC – A Ukrainian woman and her four children arrived at Charlotte Douglas Airport on Thursday. She was reunited with her neighbor who fled the war torn country when the Russian invasion first began.

The encounter made possible with the help of a local pastor with connections to a church in their Ukrainian hometown.

“We are really happy to be, reached our destination. It was hard with four kids, but finally we are here. So it’s great,” said Maryna Fostnko after the nearly 10 hour flight.

Fostenko and her four children just arrived in Charlotte from Ukraine. Her husband is still in the western part of the country working to keep the family business alive.

Fostenko was reunited with her Ukrainian neighbor, who’s been in America with her two children since shortly after the invasion.

“It’s good and safe here. A lot of people take care of us,” said Tania Zaulina.

Zaulina has been living with Bill Smith, the pastor at Grace One Church, and his wife for weeks. He was happy to learn that Fostenko would be able to join them.

“To think of the tragedy of this invasion and how it impacted not just a church and a family, but a city, a community and a country. It just grabbed my heart. Grabbed my attention,” explained Smith.

Smith and his church have been connected with a Ukrainian church for 20 years. He recently returned from a mission trip to bring supplies to those still in the war torn country.

“I really want to help. I really want to do what I can to help,” said Smith.

While their thoughts are still with their homeland; the community bond is strong.

“Our hopes for Ukraine is that the war will stop very soon and of course we want to win because we understand that the truth is on our side,” said Fostenko.


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