Latter-day Saint Life

‘People’ features Latter-day Saint family who’s assisting Ukrainian refugees

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This week’s issue of People magazine includes a heartwarming story of one family truly exemplifying the Savior’s admonition to “love one another.”

Michelle and Reece DeMille are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and on March 13 they opened their home and hearts to a refugee family fleeing Ukraine: Yurii Kalmazan and Albina Smykovska and their two daughters—Zlata, age 9; and Zoriana, age 4.

Before they arrived at the DeMilles’ home in Cedar Hills, Utah, Yurii, Albina, and their girls made stops in 8 countries in 9 days, leaving their livelihood, pets, friends, and family 5,700 miles away. The story of how they ended up at the DeMilles’ is a miracle in itself, and today the family feels hopeful—like they’ve been truly embraced by the DeMille family and the surrounding community.

“You can’t describe the amount of help we’ve received. You can't believe it’s possible,” Albina says.

“If it was not for the people who have showed us so much kindness, we would be stuck in the sadness of what’s happening in Ukraine,“ Yurii told People. “They’ve helped us continue to live.”

But Albina and Yurii have been a blessing to the DeMilles as well. According to People, Albina has made traditional Ukrainian meals for the family, including borscht, Easter breads, and crepes. She has also planted sunflowers, the flower of Ukraine, in the garden, and when Michelle's mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, Albina helped care for her.

“Love is the greatest language of all. I knew if God wanted them to be in our house, it would work out,” Michelle told People. “We cooked together, we ate together. Now they are our family.”

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