EVERETT, Wash. — Theirs is a future built on faith – a faith demonstrated by the worship songs Olesia Tanasiichuk sings with her 9-year-old daughter Nina – a faith tested by the cruelty of war.
Olesia, her mother Alla, and daughters Nina and 14-year-old Liliia are staying with a Snohomish couple who opened a guest house to the family out of the goodness of their hearts.
"We could hear the bombs. They light up the town," Olesia says through a translator. "It was really scary. My daughter's school is a bomb shelter now."
Homeowner John Bennett's wife's grandparents were Russian refugees.
"These people were kind of minding their own business when this thing happened to them and anything we can do as Americans to help them, we should," says Bennett.
Olesia's two sons, ages 18 and 20, are still in Ukraine.
They're not fighting the Russians yet, but they may be conscripted by the government this fall.
"I'm very worried," says the mother of four. "They've not been in the army. They don't know how to fight."
The family consists of just a few of the Ukrainian refugees currently flooding into Washington.
More than 5,400 were here in May. That number jumped by 1,200 more in June, to 6,618.
About 1,200 Ukrainian refugees are in Snohomish County, alone, considered the largest population in the state.
They're forced to eat from food banks, learn a new language, find work, and go to school.
Essentially they have to begin life all over again.
Olesia is taking English classes at Edmonds College.
Her mother, Alla, is reading a textbook and teaching it to herself.
One of the first terms she learned was "thank you."
Pointing to the sky she says, "I thank God for the opportunity to be here," through the translator, "and for all of the volunteers who have welcomed us."
In English she says, "I love you."
Olesia said she'd like all of her family to be in America and she's keeping the faith that will one day become a reality.
"Only God can make that happen," she says.
Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest is helping Ukrainian families adapt to life in America. They're in need of housewares, bedding, laundry detergent, diapers, bath towels and, of course, homes to house the refugees. Donations can be dropped at the organization's main office in Rainier Hall on the campus of Everett Community College, or call 425-388-9307.