“It was pure chaos.” That’s how Natasha Boom, Orphan’s Promise’s regional manager for Europe, described the Polish border, where women, children, and families continue to flee following Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
From traumatized kids screaming to allegations that human traffickers are posing as pastors and trying to abduct children, difficulties and horrors plague Ukrainian refugees.
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Human trafficking at the border
During a special live prayer event Friday hosted by CBN News, Boom described the many scenes she recently observed on the border, including a mother who had tied a rope around her girls for fear of them being taken.
“This one mother … she had a rope tied around her waist with four little girls probably under the age of five wrapped around it because there [is] risk of traffickers and she didn’t want to fall asleep with her children there,” she said.
Boom continued, “The border guards were some of the most incredible people I met. Some of them haven’t slept because they wanted to stay awake to protect the children.”
The aid worker said the trafficking issue is the “biggest prayer request at the moment,” especially considering how many of these children and families are at-risk.
“We heard reports on the ground this week regarding traffickers pretending to be pastors and turning up with minibusses and coaches,” Boom said. “Some of the border guards said, ‘There are traffickers here, but how do we know? There are thousands of people.'”
She said the situation is complicated and asked the public to pray for these unimaginable evils to be thwarted.
“That is one of my biggest prayer requests … that this evil can be exposed for what it is,” Boom said. “That children would be spared.”
Watch her discuss these tragic issues:
Chaos on the ground
Boom, who joined “The 700 Club” co-host and Orphans Promise founder Terry Meeuwsen, fellow regional manager Olga Buznitska, and Orphans Promise director of operations Nataliya Khomyak for the prayer event, explained some of the other heart-breaking situations with which these refugees are faced.
“It was unbelievable. I tried to prepare myself, but there’s nothing that can prepare you for seeing so many children so traumatized,” Boom said of the Polish border. “In about an hour, I saw thousands and thousands and thousands of children, babies, toddlers, lots of mothers, and it was chaos … it was pure chaos.”
Boom described seeing kids so traumatized they couldn’t speak; others were screaming. She recounted a tender moment she said she’ll never forget.
“One of the biggest privileges of my life so far was being able to make a bottle of milk for a 1-year-old who hadn’t had any milk for a week,” she said. “I will never, ever forget that moment.”
Following God’s calling
Amid the chaos and tragedy, though, Boom said there was an incredible miracle set into motion years before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack.
She said Orphans Promise has been able to readily meet the needs of refugees in the region due to a calling God placed on staff members’ hearts five to seven years ago.
“A lot of our Ukrainian Orphans Promise staff felt called by God to move to Poland, particularly the border of Poland a couple of years ago,” Boom explained. “And when they felt called, they didn’t understand why. And whenever they prayed, all of them got the same feeling and the same words: ‘If you knew, you wouldn’t be able to bear it.'”
The staff listened to God, and now their mission to serve — and that initial calling — is clear. Boom said they are now present, equipped, and helping kids and others through psychological and physical needs.
“God prepared staff ahead of time,” she said. “God really did go before us. That is the biggest miracle in all of this.”
Bravery amid uncertainty
Others like Buznitska, who is Ukrainian and remains in the country, described the fear and trepidation surrounding the uncertainty she and other aid workers face.
Still, she refuses to leave her nation and continues to help provide assistance to those in need. Buznitska shared how prayers have sustained her family, even amid uncertainty.
“The biggest need — it is prayers,” she said. “Prayers are working.”
Buznitska said her children are scared for their dad, fighting on the Ukrainian side. Sadly, the family has lost touch with relatives and friends who also fled. Buznitska said she and her children continue to trust in the Lord.
“We just trust God that He will protect us,” she said, sharing that there have been some miracle moments throughout the ordeal. “God’s presence is here. Some bombs [don’t explode]. After this war, we will sit together and spend a lot of time sharing a lot of amazing testimonies — how big is our God.”
Watch the powerful prayer event in its entirety:
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