Refugees Meet with Elder and Sister Holland in Germany

This year the Church has helped more than 1.6 million refugees and internally displaced persons across Europe

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles continued his ministry in Hannover, Germany, on Sunday — this time meeting with refugees.

“I’m moved to tears by their faith and by the goodness of these German Saints who’ve taken [refugees] into their homes and clothed them and fed them and given them a new opportunity,” the Apostle said as he and his wife, Patricia, met with a small group of Latter-day Saint refugees.

The United Nations reports that more than 14 million people in Ukraine have left their homes because of the war — and nearly 8 million of those have found shelter outside of Ukraine.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been helping those in need from the conflict’s earliest days. This year in Europe, the Church has helped over 1.6 million refugees and internally displaced persons through more than 100 projects in 32 countries.

Ukrainian refugees Sergei and Poulina Gorski were two of those who met Elder Holland. They are among the many who have been helped from the moment the conflict in Eastern Europe began in late February.

“When they began to shoot rockets in our region, near our apartment — a rocket hit our building — the Lord blessed us, and the rocket did not explode. We survived. We grabbed our bags and food and left our home,” Sergei said.

Poulina added, “We understood that we weren’t left alone. The Lord Jesus Christ was with us, and Church leaders are His servants doing His work on our behalf.”

Leaders met the Gorskis in Poland and took them by car to the home of Günter and Ingrid Borcherding. Günter is stake president (a regional leader) in the Hannover area. After spending three weeks in the Borcherding home, this kind host family helped the Gorskis find an apartment.

“Ward members helped us with furniture and household appliances. We have everything we need right now. It’s just lovely,” Sergei said.

At the gathering of refugees, Elder Holland was given some photos by the Gorskis. He had met them 25 years earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine. The couple said it was a joyful reunion.

Ukrainian refugees Sergei and Poulina Gorski at their apartment near Hannover, Germany, November 6, 2022. Elder Holland and his wife, Patricia, met earlier in the day with the Gorskis and other refugees.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Olga Zabrodina and her three sons also met with Elder and Sister Holland. Her husband is serving in the Ukrainian army. She said meeting Elder Holland gave her great hope and reassurance.

“You’re going to be OK. You’re all going to be OK. And your husband is going to be okay,” Elder Holland said.

“The most important thing I know is God stands nearby me and that it’s all gonna be okay,” Olga said.

Elder Holland encouraged the refugees to keep the faith.

“God is in charge. What’s the best thing all of us can do? Be true to our own covenants. Be true to our own promises.”

One refugee reaffirmed, “This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I have hope for eternal life.”

Poulina Gorski said, “We know the Shepherd cares about His sheep and doesn’t forget them. Elder Holland was sent by the Lord for us. We know this, and we are very happy.”

Several thousand people, including more than 1,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have been housed through the help of Latter-day Saints throughout Western Europe. This is the first time since World War II that millions of European refugees have been housed in homes rather than tent villages.

Elder Holland said, “It’s the gospel at its very best — at its absolute very best. The organization of these families from the border inland across Poland and into Germany and these various routes that these people have taken — it’s the gospel in action.”

“Well, this is a wonderful, wonderful moment,” he added. “For me. I’ve been looking forward to this meeting. We love you. We’ll continue to pray for you.”

Elder and Sister Holland have been in Germany since Friday and will visit Sweden and Finland this week.

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