Written by Anastasiya Cernei, communication director for the Nixa Church
In February 2022, Alina Petrashyshen booked a roundtrip ticket to visit her sick father in Ukraine; the date of her return was set for March 1, 2022. The tension between Russia and Ukraine began to grow, but none of Alina’s friends or family in Ukraine believed that war would actually begin. For two weeks, Alina was in Ukraine still fully intending on returning home on March 1. But then the airline canceled her flight due to unexpected events, so they booked another flight for February 25.
However, the Holy Spirit was working. That entire week, Alina’s husband Vasyl had inexplicable anxiety about her late return. Neither Alina, nor anyone in her family, knew why they did not feel peace, they did not understand why but they knew they had to change her ticket once more. On the night of Tuesday, February 22, Vasyl and their daughter Diana stayed up all night looking to change Alina’s ticket. At 7 a.m., they finally managed to book Alina a return flight for Wednesday, February 23, which made Alina’s husband feel more at ease.
When Alina told her family in Ukraine that her departure had been bumped up a few days, they did not understand this decision. They questioned, why should just several days matter? What difference will it make? They still did not believe the war was going to happen, and they hated to see Alina leave early, as this was her first visit back to Ukraine after moving to the U.S. six years prior. Despite her mixed emotions, Alina packed all her things and was ready to fly home the very day.
Alina finished gathering her things and got in the car to the Lviv Airport. After some heartfelt goodbyes, she boarded her plane, ready to go home to her worried husband. Her flight to Poland was just a few hours, but thankfully she made it there safely. However, the same cannot be said for her family she left behind in Ukraine. Once she landed and turned her phone back on, it took a few minutes for all her notifications to come through. She read a message that she never expected to receive. It read, “Alina, we are being bombed.”
By the grace of God, Alina’s flight departed just two hours before Lviv’s bomb sirens went off, though it was later confirmed no attack was made on Lviv at that time and one day before Russia officially declared war on Ukraine and civilian flights ended. Alina made it to Poland safely and continued her trip home to the U.S. where she reunited with her husband and daughters.
Though the family still did not understand how or why they decided to change her ticket, that day they praised God in tears and gratitude that He was able to bring their family back together safely. They were amazed with how God spoke to them and how they were able to recognize and hear His voice.
We may not always understand what God wants us to do or why, but as Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Please join Worldwide Church in praying for those in Ukraine and families affected by the war in Ukraine.