Sirens in the Night
July 2022

By Rick and Jennifer Irons,
members of SEND’s Poland | Europe team

It was after midnight and the siren blared for what seemed like an eternity. All at once, people tried to scramble to their feet. They grabbed anything and everything that they could in an effort to escape the incoming bombs that were only a few minutes away. They tried to shake the sleep out of their eyes, tried to get dressed in a hurry. And then it was a mad scramble for the kids, their shoes, their coats, their passports, and what remained of their personal belongings and mementos. And as they rushed to the door, half-dressed, half awake, and completely terrified, they were confronted and told not to leave. 

Their Polish host family was actually trying to keep them from leaving, trying to keep them from escaping. Why was this happening again? They thought this new place would be safe. They could not communicate, they could not understand, and they didn't know what was going on. What they did know was that they had only minutes, seconds to spare, before the bombs started dropping, before the screaming whistle of falling ordinance became louder and louder, before they felt the rumbling earthquake and heard the deafening explosion of bombs hitting the ground all around them. 

What they didn't know, and what their Polish hosts were trying to explain in broken Russian, was that there was nothing to worry about. The siren that had been shrieking for so long was actually just an equipment test at the local firehouse. They were, in fact, safe. This was not Ukraine. This was not a war zone. It was Poland.

Family walking on a snowy street

But these Ukrainians had only just arrived, three moms with six kids in tow, from their homeland which was now a war zone. So, when they heard the siren, they immediately thought it was an air-raid siren. They immediately thought that they only had those precious seconds to escape. Thankfully, they were wrong. But the abject terror that they felt and the trauma they had endured was brought right back to the surface, even after a few days of relative peace in their new surroundings. Sure, they still couldn't understand the alphabet and they still couldn't communicate in Polish all that well, but they started to feel a little bit more at ease until that frantic moment.  

Once they understood that they were safe and they were able to catch their breath, they put their belongings back down where they had found them and began to pray, and as they did, their anxiety began to melt away, like ice on a hot day. 

Please continue to pray for them and others like them. We understand that you may be tired of hearing about the conflict in Ukraine, but Ukrainians are tired too. They are tired of not being able to go home, they are tired of not knowing where their loved ones are, and they are tired of living in fear.

Find more information about how to give, pray, and advocate for Ukraine on our Ukraine Updates page.
Explore Europe


Subscribe now to stay up to date on all our recent posts, right to your inbox!

Connect with SEND

Start your missions journey by chatting with a SEND Coach.


Sign up for Explore, our monthly newsletter to help you discover your role in missions.