GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Dozens of Greenville worshipers gathered at the Immanuel Baptist Church to pray for Ukraine as Russian attacks surpass a two week long mark.
For each person in the pews of the church, there was a candle and as flames burned, faith leaders from across the Greenville area called for seven special prayers-- each focused on a specific group of Ukrainians affected by Russian war efforts.
What was common through each call was a wish for peace.
With each heart feeling for those fleeing their homes for refuge, one person has a deep connection to the invaded country.
“We’ve had 15 different foreign exchange students over the years and two were Ukrainian students,” said Rev. Rod Debs.
Candle flames burned as prayers were spoken and sung. Greenville residents are doing what they can.
“I think that this is a moment where we all should come together and understand some of the atrocities that are taking place over seas,” said Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly. “This is a great way for us to be able to show compassion for those that are suffering right now. I think the community coming together and having a prayer vigil is really showing that.”
Debs held relics of his former exchange students. He feels grateful to be able to share them at the vigil Friday night.
“This was a special gift that she gave us when we visited,” Debs said holding a doll. “My wife does Facebook with them. Right now they are very much concerned about protecting their skies.”
Many in the east are wondering how they can help Ukrainian families from this corner of the world.
“The tragedy the world sees unfolding in Europe feels devastating and the feeling of not being able to help often feels hopeless,” said Rev. Asher Panton of Immanuel Baptist Church.
Friday night, Greenville stood united with Ukraine.
Mayor Connelly suggests that if you weren’t able to make it out to the vigil, you can still contribute in prayer. He says to pray at home and keep those suffering at the forefront of your mind as the crisis continues to displace millions.
Immanuel Baptist Church collected donations from their congregation. The proceeds are being sent directly to UNICEF USA to support the food and medical needs of the children impacted by war.
Every story you see here is written, filmed, edited, fronted, and day-turned by Maddie. As an MMJ with WITN, she really does it all!