Hello family and friends,
The final month of our visit to America has arrived. Sveta and I are ready to return to our family and life in Ukraine. We have many things to do and people to see before we return. This visit was mostly about helping Mom. She is making progress, but it is slow, as is to be expected. She was alert two days in a row, which was a first since her stroke. When we return to Ukraine on September 8, we will know that Mom is in the good hands of my family, friends, and the extended care facility. She has made good progress in the four months since suffering a stroke. Her goal is to be able to walk with a walker. Please continue to pray for Pat Koehler as she works to attain her personal best in rehabilitation.
During our stay in America, we relied on friends and family for transportation. I wanted to find a local church that Sveta and I could walk to so that we wouldn’t be a burden to anyone and we needed the exercise. While attending a church home group across town, it was suggested that we visit a church that is a fifteen minute walk from Mom’s house. This church is a community of new immigrates that represents seventeen nationalities from Africa. God provides and directs us where He has prepared people to meet our needs.
After watching a video of worship in Africa, Sveta’s longed to worship with African Christians. My desire was to enjoy a worship service that embraced the presence of God. This church welcomed us and reached out to us in warm fellowship. They also collected an offering for MUCH. During a dinner with the pastor and his wife, they asked if their church, (Change the Nations Church), could partner with our MUCH mission. God provided an opportunity for us — nothing short of a miracle!
The conflict goes on between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists. Putin continues to try to distract and trick the Ukrainian government, wanting to occupy a part of Ukraine without an official war between Ukraine and Russia. His efforts are failing. Putin’s humanitarian efforts were misleading. Trucks loaded with relief supplies were half empty. The trucks provided a distraction for the Russian military vehicles that accompanied them at a distance.
Ukrainian emigrates live in many countries throughout the world. In this story, “I’m Praying for My Country,” a Ukrainian grandmother living in Greensboro, NC tells about her life and that of her son. Many who have left their country for a better life over the past twenty-five years have not lost their connection with Ukraine. Many have family and friends still in Ukraine, and painfully watch as the current conflict continues.
Have we, as Americans, forgotten the benefits of freedom? How will this conflict effect other countries? What do you think? Let me know. Here is an article link that reveals the “Thoughts of a Proud Ukrainian-American.” This North Carolina resident opens our eyes to the truth of the USSR, now the Russian government, through her fearful experiences.
When I hear people talk about what is happening in Ukraine, I feel in my heart the pain of the people of Ukraine. This picture of a Ukrainian soldier was circulated on Facebook recently. Many young men have been called into the army, forced to leave their families behind.
Sveta and I are concerned about the future of our children because of the conflict. It has already forced us to close our clinic in Crimea. Our mission helps four hundred children. What would happen to them if we could no longer help them?
Sveta has good news to share about summer camp for our children!
This summer was very special for 48 children from the Dobromel orphanage. They had a wonderful opportunity to spend two months in a children’s camp, called “East”, on the Black Sea coast, in the village of Beryzovka, near Odessa. Travel from the orphanage to the camp took three hours by bus, and twelve hours on the train. This was an amazing new travel experience for the children!
Natasha, (seated on the far left) our massage therapist at the Dobromel Orphanage, was one of several staff members from the orphanage who went with the children for two weeks. She wrote to us about her wonderful time with children. Here is her story.
Living my dream,
The children had a wonderful new experience viewing the sea and they were very impressed by the beauty and majesty of what they saw. Every child’s dream is to swim and dive in the sea! Each day was filled with many different activities. The children were very interested in participating in a variety of competitions, contests, games, and an acrobatic show. They painted on the pavement, learned to sculpt all kinds of pottery, and sang songs. Our children from the orphanage won many prizes. I did not expect our children with disabilities to win competitions because the rest of the children were from regular schools and with normal development. When they triumphed and were awarded certificates, some children cried with happiness. It was so impressive! I believe that many of our children from the orphanage can be successful in life. They need an adult to help give them the right direction and encouragement.
Every evening, the teachers spent time near the campfire with the children. Each child told his or her life story, sharing their dreams. In this beautiful and warm atmosphere of trust every child opened their soul. This time brought us closer as a community. Surprisingly, I began to see into the souls of the children. I also learned more about each child. Working with the children at the orphanage is very different than here at the camp.
Katya sat on the beach every evening and stared into the distance for a long time. It was evident that she was thinking very seriously. I asked her what she was thinking. Katya replied that she wanted to share her wonderful experience at the Black Sea with her mother. Many of our children living in the orphanage much of the year, hunger to be with their mothers. They want to share their special moments with the one whose love they want the most.
Every child wants to be the best in my eyes. They helped me to fold clothes, do wash, and tidy-up the room. Everyone was waiting for praise, especially Jura. He always followed me and asked how he could help.
We had some problems with a thirteen-year girl. On her second day of camp, she began to show mental instability. Because she was behaving inappropriately, the staff was forced to send her to Lvov, northwestern Ukraine, for treatment. Two days later, she called me and said she did not understand why she had acted out of control. She wanted to come back to be with the children and her brother who remained in the camp. But it was not possible. It is a pity that this girl experienced mental disorders as a result of her difficult childhood. She had a very difficult relationship with her father.
In the camp there were seven hundred children from different parts of Ukraine. The children made a lot of new friends here. They had two wonderful months with new experiences, new friends and great adventures by the sea. But the children are happy to go back to the orphanage, which is their home most of the year. They will share their amazing experiences with the other seventy-one children who went home for the summer. I love and am proud of our children from the orphanage!”
Written by Natalia, our massage therapist in Dobromel.