Cedarville Stories Podcasts


Jessica Wiebe


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Memories of home: a familiar restaurant visited after church every week, the crowded public transportation and redefinition of personal space, the bustling and beautiful downtown, the smell of bortsch cooked up by mama, spending time with dear friends. For Jessica Wiebe, her heart returns to these beautiful sights, smells, and emotions when she thinks of Ukraine, which makes the Russian invasion of her home country even more devastating.

Jessica, a freshman social work major at Cedarville, lived in Kyiv, Ukraine, the capital, from age 6 with her missionary parents. She attended an English-speaking international school from third through 12th grade and began her journey at Cedarville last fall.

In December, she became aware of the Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border. Over the next two months, she followed the latest developments closely, sharing disbelief and sorrow with fellow Ukrainian missionary kids at Cedarville, like junior international studies major and podcast guest Abigail Rist, and keeping tabs with her parents, Chad and Leanna Wiebe, working in Warsaw, Poland, with Send International, and family living in Odessa.

When the bombs began falling on Kyiv on February 24, a flurry of text messages began and hasn’t really stopped. She’s touched base with friends still in Kyiv, who took shelter in the bottom of a drained-out indoor pool to avoid spraying glass and debris. She and Abigail have kept in close contact through text messages, phone calls, coffee meetups, and meals.

What counsel does Jessica offer for podcast listeners not sure what to do?

“Have intentionality about watching the news, as hard as that it can be, and may be overwhelming,” she says during the podcast. “Just staying aware of the situation and being sensitive to what Ukrainians are going through. And continue to pray. People here may feel like, ’I’m not sure what we can do; it seems like all that’s left is to pray,’ but prayer is so powerful. Praying individually and praying in groups is so important. And asking what ways you can donate. There are so many organizations and places to donate to provide humanitarian aid.”

Media Type

Audio Recording

Publication Date


Interview Duration



Mark Weinstein

School or Department

Social Work


Ukraine, refugees


Cedarville University


Communication | Organizational Communication | Public Relations and Advertising