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Refugee offers Alpha course in Ukrainian

02 June 2023

Nadia Maibogina

Nadia Maibogina

A UKRAINIAN refugee who came to the UK after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine is now leading her church’s first Alpha course in Ukrainian.

The refugee, Nadia Maibogina, is a mother of two young children. She said that she wanted to support and offer hope to the many Ukrainian refugees living in her town. She is running the 11-week Christian basics course with her sister and other family members, who are living in Dorset, where they attend St Mary’s, Longfleet, in Poole.

Mrs Maibogina, who is an IT specialist and business consultant, said: “I think our deliverance was a big miracle, because, six months before the war started, we had helped our grown-up adopted daughter, Ola, find a flat in the west of Ukraine, not far from the border with Europe.”

The accommodation turned out to be a haven for the whole family at the start of the war, when Mrs Maibogina, her husband, and their two children, aged four and six, had to leave their home in Kyiv. A few days into the war, when the city was heavily bombed, Mrs Maibogina invited her sister and her three children to join them. Last year, the whole family, including their older daughter, moved to Poole, where they were offered a large house for all nine of them.

“That was the next miracle — God providing a five-bedroom house, big enough for all of us, in Sandbanks,” she said.

Joining the 500-strong Ukrainian community in Poole, Mrs Maibogina was able to help fellow refugees with writing their CVs, but she also wanted to recount the source of her hope and her Christian faith to them. “Many of them have lost their homes, relatives, found themselves removed from their jobs and livelihoods, and this has made them lose hope,” she said.

Beginning with an Easter quiz and games event for 70 Ukrainians in the church centre, Mrs Maigobina gave out Easter gifts, and used this as an opportunity to talk of the meaning behind Easter. “After this, some of them asked me to start a Bible study group so that they could know more.”

She had taken part in Alpha courses in Ukraine, and so decided to launch Alpha here, with support from her Ukrainian pastor, currently living in London, who helped to supply resources in Ukrainian.

The Vicar of Longfleet, Canon Andrew Perry, said: “We’re incredibly excited that we’re able to offer a Ukrainian Alpha course led by Nadia, an amazing Ukrainian member of [St Mary’s], and we hope it will be a real blessing to Ukrainians in our community.”

He said that the course would allow members of the Ukrainian community to explore the Christian faith and express the questions and hardships that they encountered in a welcoming and accepting environment.

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