“It’s been emotionally difficult for both sides,” he said. “You don’t say goodbye, but it’s almost like it, because you don’t know when the conversation might resume.”
His wife’s parents are among 130,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ukraine. In 2017, Russia banned the sect whose members believe in nonviolence and refuse to arm in war; Russia calls it an extremist group. Since then, about 1,700 Witness homes in Russia have been raided and about 320 Witnesses have been imprisoned, including a crackdown in Crimea, according to the sect’s statistics. Mr. Telischak did not dare to risk guessing what might happen in Ukraine.
The couple try not to watch too much news to avoid getting too upset, he said. At bedtime, they still look at Viber, the messaging app they use to keep in touch with their family. “I go to bed, I check. You wake up, you check,” he said. “We told them, ‘Whatever, you text, you call, whatever the time.'”
On Thursday afternoon, his wife received notification that air raid sirens had sounded and that her parents had fled their old concrete building. Outside, a member of their congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses was driving and loading them into his car. Men from their congregation checked on them and others for weeks, making sure everyone had their bags, flashlights, water, and plans.
If parents have to leave the country for asylum, Mr. Telischak is confident that other Witnesses will accept them. “Having a community, or a religion without borders, is a huge comfort to us,” he said.
He found solace in the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus tells his disciples not to fear when there is war and rumors of war, when the nation will rise up against you. nation.
“We also understand the Bible foretold a time when all this will be over, when there will be no more wars, there will be no more conflicts between nations, no more hatred,” he said. and conflict. “The disciples didn’t ask because they wanted to know when things were going to get really bad. They want to know, when is the solution, when is the fix. ”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/26/us/americans-russia-ukraine.html Ukraine’s war is almost home for these Americans