By Brother Sasha:
Greetings to you, dear prayer and financial supporters!
As the year 2017 is coming to its end, I want to thank all of you who have aided me through your financial and prayer support this year. Your prayers and generous financial contributions have been making great impact on the lives of hundreds and thousands of people in Ukraine. As I always say – only in eternity will we fully understand the impact of our prayers and financial support.
The end of each year is always a busy time in our ministry. We visit all the supported ministries trying to evaluate each one of them and put plans together for the next year. It is always a difficult time, when once again we see the greatness of the need, but having limited resources entrusted to us. We must make a choice on what to support next year and to what extent, and also what ministries we do not have resources to continue.
One of the places I really love going is the city of Kramatorsk, in Eastern part of Ukraine. In my previous reports I’ve introduced to you the ministry of Oleg and Anna Serbo. My recent visit with them was, as always, encouraging and one that encourages us to keep-up in the ministry, by seeing the impact on the lives of people.
Rehabilitation Center For Women:
This year DMI has been able to support the expansion of their house and hopefully very soon they’ll have the new addition to the existing building ready. There will be a dining area and fellowship hall. I met some of the ladies on my last visit. Two new women, Lida and Rita had just arrived. Below is a report on these two ladies.
Lida, 72 was brought to the center the night before I came. When the ladies saw her, they cried because of the terrible shape she was in. As they said to me – we’ve never seen anything like that, she was full of lice and even with the worms on her body. Her leg has a big open wound. She became homeless, with no papers. She has partial loss of her memory. She remembers she was an engineer and was retired and lived in Donetsk region. When the war started in Donetsk region she fled to Kharkov area. Her documents were stolen and for 3 years she lived on the streets with no income and no place to go. By a miracle she was told about the center for women and Anna and Oleg brought her to this place. The ladies washed her and did all the necessary sanitization; burned her old clothes and gave her a place to stay. For the first time in 3 years she slept on a bed and had hot meals. She told me right after I was introduced to her – “I’ll never leave this place.”
Rita, 42 The life of this woman has been ruined by drugs. She’s started on them in 1992. Rita was raised in a good family, but the love of her parents and being in a secular rehabs did not help her. At the end even her Mom cursed her and wished she would die. She has HIV, hepatitis and all kinds of other diseases. She witnessed to me – my life was a hell. She knew about this Christian ministry and one day when she was so close to death, she called Anna and asked her to get her and bring her there. For 2 weeks now she is at the center. Over this time understanding has come to her – only God and His word could treat her and even more – only God could give her salvation. She reads the Bible. She listened; she knows almost nothing, but is showing great desire to get out of her past. Remember Rita in your prayers. There were many women like her, who would come to the center, stay there for a month or so, and then leave – hoping to be able to stay sober on their own. Most of them would get back to the drags or alcohol. May the Lord give Rita strength, and may He open her spiritual eyes to see the real causes of her problems – the fallen nature corrupted by sin.
Home For Elderly People:
In my previous report from Kramatorsk, I have shared with you another need. There were old- aged ladies who, after the rehabilitation center, have no place to go; there were other ladies too in the community left with no relatives and without proper care. Since I wrote about that need, the Lord has sent enough funds to purchase a house which has become a place for 6 women to live there now and for 4-5 more to come there soon. It is indeed great to see how the Lord answers the needs of this ministry. Together with Anna I made a stop there. I love being with them. They’re like kids – asking questions; sharing their life stories and very thankful for this house they have to live in. This ministry was not in our budget plan at the beginning of the year, so the need was to meet their needs through the end of the year. Once again, the support from DMI has make a difference – I had funds reserved for ministries like this and due to generous support from DMI these ladies will have warmth, food and medications through the end of the year.
Shelter For The Orphan Girls:
Every time I go to this shelter I can feel how the atmosphere in the house is changing. When the girls first come to the house, they were reserved and did not talk much. Now right after I got in they are ready to talk and share their joys and sorrows, plans and recent developments. An important part of ministry to the girls is protecting their rights. For example: some of the girls, by the Ukrainian legislation have rights for their own place of residence. In other words the state of Ukraine, has its responsibility for the orphans to provide them with enough financial support to buy a very modest apartment in the area. There are certain limitations on who could participate on the program and who could not.
It is a big and difficult bureaucratic process on who could apply and a lot of orphans in Ukraine were never told (on purpose) they have such rights. For the girls with low mental development, to go through the process is impossible without someone assisting them. Anna is doing a lot for helping the girls on this matter and praise God some of the girls were able to apply for the program and some even got the ownership rights on their own apartments. Of course, they’re not to leave the shelter right away, since they are not able to live on their own yet, but owning an apartment may generate some income for them – like renting the apartment to someone.
She is not qualified for receiving her own housing from the state, but Anna applied for a disability pension to her and she got it. Over each spring and fall, she is not stable, because of her mental decease. Not long ago, she had a nervous breakdown. When she was in a hospital for 2 weeks, other girls from her hospital room got to know where she is from and played a bad joke with her – they told her: Oleg and Anna really do not love you and they’ll put you to the state psychiatric hospital where you’ll be the rest of your life. This poor girl has believed in such a lie, and when she’s got back to the shelter she started to scream at Anna, blaming her for not loving her and wanting her to be sent to a psychiatric hospital. It took a while for her to get calm. What I liked very much – she talked to me herself on her feelings and on how bad she was to Anna. She continues her study at a trade school. Keep this girl in your prayers.
Masha was able to apply for an apartment and got it. Anna helped her to find a good renter and it generates some income for Masha’s daily needs. Her eye sight is better now, and she has her first glasses in her life. An eye surgery could help her, but she is not qualified for it yet, since she needs to get more emotionally stable. Her behavior has been changing in a positive way – if at the beginning she was a big fighter with the boys at the trade school, now she learns how to express her feelings in other way rather then fight.
This girl is showing great progress. She finished her study and now works. The only job she could get in town, was a street cleaner, but she loves being outside. She is the best friend for Masha and to their joy, she also got an apartment in the same apartment house with Masha, just on different floors. Hopefully next year she and Masha will move from the shelter and live in one apartment and the second one will still be rented out to give them income.
She is newly arrived at the shelter. Very smart and good girl, but needs some more time for full adoption at the shelter. She is from Donetsk; she has 4 siblings, but their Mom has had all parental rights taken away and all the brothers and sisters are scattered around in different state orphanages. Because of her mother’s behavior, Lyda’s life was terrible, but you need to hear how well she speaks of her mother. She is not blaming her for anything and when she’s got to the shelter she learned how to pray for her and for her brothers and sisters. It is touching and emotional experience of unconditional love of daughter toward her Mom. Pray for Lyuda to get fully adopted into the shelter’s life and for salvation and heart change of her mother.
Vika & Daughter Xenia:
Vika is growing spiritually and has been grown-up to be a good assistant to Anna and to another lady who cares for the girls. She does not talk much, but has gained great respect of all the other girls. She has grown into a great Christian young woman. She continues her study at a trade school learning to be a cook. After the new year Xenia (her daughter) will go to the kindergarten. Anna is busy with her papers now and there is a chance she’ll get her apartment next year. She is not qualified as an orphan, but Anna has found a way to apply as the single mother and IDP (internally displaced person), since she is originally from the occupied area of Ukraine. It is not clear how successful the attempt to get an apartment will be for Vika. As for the prayer request for her, the biggest need for her now is an apartment.
As you may remember the story of this girl is very special. In her development she like a 7-8 years old. In her case there was no future at all. The only place she could be taken was a state psychiatric hospital where most likely she’d be there the rest of her life. There was no legal solution as for keeping her at the shelter after February next year. The only solution was if somebody will take her under official foster care. Anna and Oleg were willing to take official foster care over her, but there was another obstacle. By the Ukrainian legislation, someone may take her under the foster care only if she would have her own housing which she did not have. I remember talking to Anna on the phone and her crying explaining the problem. Like I said – we always deal with the limited resources and to find extra money is always an issue. But when the Lord starts His work – no one could stop it. In a day or two after that conversation, my brother Andrey got a phone call from a man he never met before and invited Andrey for a short meeting at a gas station parking lot. Andrey called me and asked what to do. I said – you go for a meeting, but if that man will ask you about the needs we have – please, put a priority for Nastya. He agreed and when he met with that man, he found that he is a business man from Germany, who immigrated to Germany from Ukraine. That was like 10 minutes meeting – first contact ever, with no real clue at that moment on how that man got to know about our ministry. At the end of the meeting – that man gave to Andrey $5.000.00 for Nastya’s apartment. We knew that girl is very special to us, but after all that development we have no doubts she is very special to God. Now she is officially under Oleg’s and Anna’s foster care and a happy owner of 2 bedrooms apartment which will provide her with some rent income for her life. She is happy and we all are happy too. After several years of living in a dog house Nastya is now an owner of her own apartment and has a family that loves and cares for her. God is great!
Besides the girls, a single woman with 4 kids live in the shelter. Another woman, Alyona, with her daughter also live there. Ayona is a full- time staff member. In total that gives 13-14 people living in that house at one time. It is crowded, but full of life and love!
Please, keep all these ministries – rehab, old aged women house and the shelter in your prayers! The Lord is at work there and there is no bigger joy as to see those lives transformed by His grace! Thank you for your prayers for me, I need that and appreciate that a lot. May the Lord be close to your hearts as we about to enter Christmas season.