AUBURN – Lutheran Pastor Paul Lillenas was delighted when Auburn visual artist Olena Mosiyevych of the Ukraine offered to donate a work of art for a Ukraine fundraiser.

Mosiyevych is known in Nemaha County for participating in the Plein Air Paint Out and she knew that the pastor’s wife, Vira, was also from the Ukraine.

Pastor Paul: “The thing kind of grew over time and, all of a sudden, rather than just a few paintings that she was going to donate we got a bunch of different artists involved.”

The March 13 auction, which also featured servings made from Vira’s Ukrainian cake and cookie recipes, drew donations of 50 works of art in just a few days.

Pastor Paul: “I was amazed. I wasn’t sure how … I don’t know much about art auctions really, but we seemed to have just the right amount of people that were there in the fellowship hall and people with generous hearts, who were willing. Pretty much everything sold.”

The auction at St. Paul’s Hickory Grove Church raised over $8,000 from donated art and there were $18,000 in cash donations.

Of the $26,000, $20,000 is going to Lutheran World Relief and $6,000 to the Orphan Grain Train.


Pastor Paul: “There was just an incredibly generous spirit of the folks who were there and those who stayed for the auction.”

The final work of the night, a painting of trees by Mosiyevych, brought a $1,600 bid.