Local church sponsoring a Ukrainian family of 4 | News, Sports, Jobs
MARQUETTE — Even a small church can do its part to fight an insidious global threat.
Crossroads Fellowship, a parish of about 30 people located at 101 Oakridge Drive, is raising money to sponsor a Ukrainian family who applied “humanitarian parole” in the USA. The church plans to welcome the family to Marquette.
Speaking about the effort Wednesday with The Mining Journal, Karen Liimatta, wife of Pastor Andy Liimatta, and church member Deborah Heino.
Liimatta said that through the US government, the church is sponsoring a family of four from Ukraine, which has suffered a lot of damage since Russia invaded the country earlier this year.
She expected the family to arrive in the area this month from the Sumy region of Ukraine, about 30 kilometers from the Russian border. She refrained from providing too many details about the family for security reasons.
“They are the first of what we hope will be several families we hope to sponsor,” Limatta said. “Our goal is to start by sponsoring a family, and once we get them established here or somewhere in the United States, once they have a job, they know the ropes, they’re integrated into our system and all their forms are filled out and everything, and then we’ll move on to another family.
The effort to help Ukrainians grew out of Heino, who saw refugees flee the country when the invasion broke out this year.
“I figured if we could get 10 or 12 churches together, just small churches like our church, we could sponsor a family,” Heino said.
She toyed with the idea for several weeks before approaching the scholarship.
Liimatta was receptive to this idea.
Heino said she was in touch with U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, who also supported the effort.
Liimatta said once they learned that the federal refugee assistance program was open, she started researching the issue. She found a lot of information on the USA/Canada/Americas Host, Sponsor, Help Ukraine Facebook page.
There were many factors, but she wasn’t discouraged.
“Let’s just do this,” Limatta said. “Let’s find a family, and we’ll kind of build the ship as we sail out to sea.
“And so far, it’s been such a blessing. There were so many people who joined us who were like, ‘Oh, you need that? I can help with that stuff.
Liimatta said the church has an apartment for the family, although there is an official government timetable for a family to stay for two years on humanitarian parole.
The church’s goal, she noted, is to provide housing for a month or two after the family obtains a work permit.
“Our hope is that they will settle in and maybe help us with some new families that we are bringing in as well, but that will be up to them,” Limatta said.
Of course, cash is needed, and people can visit www.crossroadsmqtcom for the donation link, or call 906-362-4669. On the back of the business cards, the church has made for “Helping Ukrainians at a Crossroads”, as it says on the cards there is a list of other ways people can help like prayers, gift cards, money for plane tickets, promise of monthly amount and family sponsorship.
Liimatta said the church wants to help individual Ukrainians, but believes there is a more important aspect to this.
“I think this issue with the war in Ukraine has global ramifications that need to be kept in mind,” he added. she says.
She has another message.
“We want to help and support as many families as possible, but what will help and support the most families is if we as a country can do everything we can to get Russians out of Ukraine so that these people can actually go home,” Limatta said.
Heino pointed out another thing to consider: the Ukrainians are fighting against a “a superpower that threatens the entire European continent”.
“As veterans, it’s important that we understand that we owe them a debt of gratitude for what they’re trying to do,” she says.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is [email protected]