Five Pentecostal families who left their homeland in the Soviet Union to escape religious persecution attended church services Sunday and got their first taste of an American supermarket after arriving in the area Saturday night.
Three of the families have six children each. They are the first of about 100 persons expected to arrive in the city within the next two weeks. The refugees are sponsored by the New Covenant Tabernacle Church in the Town of Tonawanda.
"My spirits are high," said Andrij Ostapovich, one of the Pentecostals who left a refugee settlement in Ladispoli, Italy, last week for the flight to the United States. "I didn't know what to expect. I did not have any idea what to expect."
The Rev. Mark Hill, the associate pastor minister at the church, said many in the group are eager to learn the simple things about American life -- like operating a toaster oven, and following the instructions on the label for instant iced tea.