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Local UMC Church Helps Ukrainian Family Find a New Home 

Thanks to the community at St. Paul’s United Methodist in North Redondo Beach, a family who recently arrived from Ukraine now has a home, jobs, and place of worship. Lesia Nikitienko, her husband, Roman, daughter, Eliza, and their dog arrived in November after spending 12 days hiding under their home and eventually finding refuge in a program called Uniting for Ukraine that brought them to the U.S. The family applied to rent a home on the church property while staying at Motel 6 in Torrance. This set off a chain of events that has helped the family find and create a community in Redondo Beach. Beyond providing a place to live, church member and real estate agent Tory Blazek activated her network to find furniture, a car, and jobs for the family.  

The family has since become active at St. Paul’s UMC. Pastor John Stephenson said “Our Christmas Eve service was dedicated to this family. It was beautiful.” A recent article in the Easy Reader News said the family was very involved in the Christmas Eve service, “At the church’s candlelight service Christmas Eve, the family lit the Christ candle and did the initial reading. Eliza led the congregation outside with Stephenson to sing “Silent Night.” The pastor later played a video of a Ukrainian Methodist congregation singing “Joy to the World.” 

The Nikitenkos continue to rebuild their life in Redondo Beach and within the community of St. Paul’s UMC. Pastor Stephenson said they are already giving back: “Yesterday, I watched the mother and daughter volunteering at our Tuesday night meal serving our clients who are homeless and hungry. We serve about 60 meals with clothing and hygiene kits every Tuesday. The family who barely survived the war in Ukraine were giving back to support others in need.”  

St. Paul’s UMC has been serving those in need for over forty years with the volunteers and financial support of the community. Pastor Stephenson shared that their goal is to “touch lives with our lives, in a cooperative, community.” You can find out more about St. Paul’s on their website