“Today we want to pray for Ukraine and ask for the Lord’s peace. We want to say to all those oppressed and hurt that you are not alone,” said Sirene Semerdjian, presenter of SAT-7 ARABIC current affairs programme You are Not Alone, as she opened an episode dedicated to survivors of the Ukraine war.
Sister and brother Amira (19) and Ahmad (20), from Lebanon, were university students in Ukraine. Fleeing from the war, they walked 40 kilometres for three days in sub-zero temperatures with no food and dropped their luggage on the road. During the journey from the university to the border, Ahmad became sick with a high fever and lost consciousness.
During her interview on You Are Not Alone Amira cried as she remembered her ordeal and what people fleeing Ukraine are going through. The siblings were trapped at the border for two days with thousands of others. Twice Amira had the chance to cross the border without her sick brother, and twice she opted to stay with him.
Thankfully, Amira and Ahmad made it across the border and back to Lebanon. But with her homeland mired in crisis, Amira’s dreams of an education are now in question, and she is struggling with her traumatic experience.
“I am finding it difficult to overcome this ordeal. I get nightmares when I sleep,” Amira said tearfully.
Amira’s mother, Shadia, explained how her daughter woke up one night shaking her mother’s hand believing it was her brother’s and asking him to stay conscious.
In contrast, Peter Daher, also from Lebanon, chose to stay in Ukraine instead of returning to Lebanon. Peter’s Ukrainian wife suggested he leave the war-torn country while she stayed to care for their 15-month-old daughter, Michaela, but it wasn’t a choice he was willing to make.
Despite the news of war, Peter found peace in the word of God.
“At first I followed the news of the war online and through YouTube, but later I began to realise that I must pray and learn from the Lord what I should do,” he said during his live online interview with the programme.
Peter shared that he felt a desire in his heart to pray instead of fear. “When you read His Word you have a connection with the Lord. He may not talk to me directly, but I feel His peace in me in making my decisions. I don’t have the fear that others feel,” he said.
At the end of the interview Peter led viewers in praying for Ukraine: “Our Father in Heaven, blessed by your name. I lift Ukraine up to you, its army, its people, women and children and all nationalities living there. Bless and protect them all and give us understanding of your wisdom and let it be an opportunity for us to repent and get closer to you Lord and ask for your kingdom first.”
He added: “Everyone must say this prayer of protection over themselves: I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2)