Lisa is 17. In 1999 she was diagnosed with leukemia and later on she was infected with the hepatitis. Since that day she is constantly fighting with both deceases. There were difficult surgeries – a bone marrow transplantation and other procedures. Her state of health requires a great amount of funds to pay for the expensive medications and tests. Once every 3 months, she goes to the hospital for the needed procedures. She is a sweet girl. She has to wear a wig due to all the chemotherapy. Together with her mom, Alyona, and sister, Sophia, they had to leave their home in the city of Lugansk, because of the war in Eastern Ukraine. They moved to Odessa, hoping that would only be for a couple of weeks. But since June 2014 they are still there and looks like they will not be able to move back to their home in the near future. They all live in a small room given to them for free rent by the Ukrainian state.
Before the war the family had no connection with the Christian church. The first contact with Christians they made here in Odessa region. Pastor Misha, with other people from his church started visiting the refugees in their camp, helping them with the food and also gathering with them for Bible study. The refugees are very vulnerable and they are hungry for any spiritual and emotional support. In the case of Lisa and her family, her sickness made them even more vulnerable. In Lugansk they had their apartment and Alyona had a job with a flexible work schedule. This allowed her to take care of Lisa. But when they got to Odessa they only had a small social benefit paid to them by the State as refugees. These funds were not enough to supply Lisa with the medications needed for her treatments. Pastor Misha and his small congregation started to collect money for this purpose and give it to Lisa. Since December 2014, we were able to give her some extra support through our Emergency Relief Fund program.
The hand extended to them by the church was given just when they needed it the most. They still cannot understand how in the world people who’re not related to them are willing to help them. They appreciate it a lot and do not take it for granted. Recently Lisa’s health has turned for the worse requiring a new course of medications. For the next several months they will need around $350.00 monthly in order to pay for it. They do not have it and the congregation doesn’t have such resources available.
When I talked to Alyona, I had to ask her directly – “if we would not be able to support your daughter with the funds for medications, what would happen then?” She thought for a moment and responded – “since we moved here, our life has been full of miracles. I hope that God will keep caring for my daughter and my family…”
I do not believe our meeting with people is just a chance encounter. I know there is a reason why Pastor Misha and I have met this family. So I’m taking this situation as described by Christ in Mathew 25:35, 36 and 40. It is not about Lisa only, but about serving Christ, by serving and helping Lisa.
Matthew 25:35,36 and 40:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.