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Ukrainian-born minister living in PA reflects on year of war

A Ukrainian-born pastor living in Lancaster County is among those praying for peace. Many of his relatives are still in the midst of the war and in need of support.

EPHRATA, Pa. — Anatoly Vysotsky, pastor of Light of the World Fellowship in Ephrata, was born and raised in Ukraine. His family moved to the U.S. when he was 19.

He last visited his homeland in 2019, not knowing the devastation that would soon arrive.

Now, a year removed from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the harsh realities of war have never been more clear.

"All of us have someone, friends or relatives, killed or wounded badly," Vysotsky said. "Dislocated, houses destroyed, businesses destroyed. People are very angry."

Angry and tired, he said, not only of Russia's gruesome attacks on innocent civilians and children, but the constant bombing and firefight.

"My friends, they felt like not running anymore to hide," he said. "They just stay in their apartment, even with those sirens."

While many are still sending humanitarian support, Vysotsky said it's not as big as it once was, but the need is still great.

"Whatever they had, the means they had, were used up," he said. "They're calling on us or their neighbors, 'just help us to survive.'"

Vysotsky wants the chance to bring his four children to a free Ukraine and help his homeland heal.

"I told them we will go to rebuild," Vysotsky said. "We have hope. We hope for the victory and we're planning to go and rebuild."

Pastor Vysotsky is praying the war will come to an end by this summer, so that his family members and friends can escape the terrors of war. 

He believes both armies have been weakened and said the fighting can't continue forever.

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