Orphan Children Need Our Love

As you may know, "Orphan Sunday" is an annual emphasis in churches around the world, highlighting the plight of literally millions of children who are living without the blessing of having parents to care for them.  Whether orphaned through death, taken away by the court systems, or abandoned in institutions due to their biological parents’ inability (or unwillingness) to provide for their children - they all share one thing in common: they need love.

Your partnership allows us to love mothers in crisis pregnancies - and children with disabilities.  It’s how we do our best to follow the admonition in James 1:27:  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

Emotional and Spiritual Encouragement:

Dr. Bashek: Parents often experience pressure from doctors, relatives, and even grandparents to leave their children with special needs at an orphanage. They constantly hear “You will waste your life if you keep this one.  Leave this child; he is hopeless. You will only burden yourself.”  Sadly, this pressure does not subside as time goes by.  Our heroic mothers come to me in tears for encouragement and support, seeking strength to resist the surrounding voices telling them to abandon their precious little children.  

“When my husband learned we had a girl with spina bifida, he didn’t come to pick me up from the hospital. Neither he nor my in-laws have wanted to have anything to do with my daughter or me ever since.  I am raising my girl alone,” shared Svitlana, Mariyka’s mother.

Mariyka

Mariyka

Material and Financial Assistance:

Olga Chebanova: After Nikolay’s wife passed away he had three children to raise on his own, two of them with severe cerebral palsy.  His boys, Dema and Andrey, are unable to care for themselves.  His baby, Marian, was a preschooler.  Social services, relatives, neighbors tried to persuade him to place his boys with disabilities in an orphanage. He objected: “As long as I live, my children will be with me.”   It’s been a blessing to walk alongside Nikolay and his boys, helping them to figure out cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. He continues to receive a variety of services through Mission to Ukraine. But it’s not just the material goods we provide such as medicines, diapers, food, and counseling - it’s the spiritual and emotional support that he relies on most.

Stopping the cycle:

Natasha Krasovska: This past year we provided multifaceted care for several orphaned girls with unplanned pregnancies. It’s great to be in partnership with local churches who welcome such girls into their community and become a family for them.

Twenty two year old Vita is 28 weeks pregnant. “Even though my boyfriend left me, I have no fear of the future. God will take care of me,” she shared at one of the counseling sessions.
 

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Serving Boys with Disabilities at the Romaniv Orphanage

Oksana Shulyak: “Our staff at Mission to Ukraine, alongside many volunteers from Zhytomyr and around the world, serve dozens of boys with very significant disabilities at the Romaniv Orphanage.  Thanks in large part to the support of our friends at Hands of Hope in Indiana https://handsofhopein.org/index.php, we are able to provide weekly supplies of food, support and coach two teachers who work with the boys on a daily basis, assist in equipping workshops for the boys’ development, and organize camps and social integration projects. Though a lot of improvement has already taken place, the need is still great. We’re excited to keep this good work going!”

Thank you friends for your love in action. Please continue to love, pray, and give. In everything we do, may our Lord’s Name be glorified.

Please visit our website at www.missiontoukraine to make a donation today.  Your gift truly makes a difference !!!

MTU’s 20th Anniversary of Ministry

Dear MTU Partners,

This month marks MTU’s 20th anniversary of ministry in Zhitomir.  What started as a ministry in a small office in the Zhitomir City Hospital with a staff of 3 to counsel young women to choose life for their babies has grown into the multifaceted work that all of you, with God’s provision and leading, have helped us realize.  On behalf of the Board, our leadership and staff in Ukraine, and for the thousands of lives touched and changed for the last 20 years, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We never could have dreamed that we would now have 42 as part of our staff, regularly engage an army of over 264 volunteers, or be blessed with the facilities and partners that allow us to do the work God has led us to do.   It is through many small steps of obedience to and faith in God that have led us to the place we are now, serving hundreds of families, young women, and children with special needs weekly through the wide range of programs including counseling services, rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, school readiness and preschool programs for our children with special needs, Bible studies for adults, medical care to name just a few.  Of course this list would be incomplete without mentioning the summer camp programs that provide a life giving week of hope, relaxation, fun, and introduction to the love of Christ to our families and children, and the work we are blessed to do with our local church and ministry partners at the Romaniv Orphanage.  We rejoice over the 1615 babies that have been born as a result of the tireless effort of our staff and the hundreds of children served in our Rehabilitation program.

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We are grateful for our partners and volunteers from the US and other countries who have blessed our staff and those we serve by traveling to Zhitomir to labor along side our staff.  You have given of your time, talent, and treasure to bless the most vulnerable in Ukrainian society.

Most importantly, through these very practical and tangible services, those we serve have been shown the love of Christ and, as a result, many have made the decision to surrender their lives and follow Him as their Savior and Lord.   

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We look forward to what God has in store for us in the coming months and years. 

Again, on behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you from the depths of our hearts for your prayers, your gifts, and your service to this exciting movement of God in Zhitomir, Ukraine.  I know speak for all of them, that is one of the greatest blessings of our lives to have been able to serve and help steward this ministry.

God Bless

Ken Ney, MD

Chairman, MTU Board of Directors.

15 Years of Camps: Heaven on Earth

I am actually grateful to God for my disability; otherwise I would have never been invited to this camp and experienced so much love.
— David, teen with cerebral palsy

Words cannot adequately describe what just took place at Mission To Ukraine’s annual camp for kids with disabilities.  Each year is even more dynamic than the year before.  It has been described by many as “Heaven on earth.”  I wholeheartedly agree. The minute the kids and parents arrive they are greeted with smiles, hugs, and helping hands. The week is packed full of games, crafts, food, boat rides, inflatable slides, puppets, songs, and devotions. The highlight of the week is Special Olympics, where every child participates in events - and at the end is awarded a gold medal and cheers from the entire camp. Joy radiates from their faces and tears stream down the parents’ grateful smiles to see their children receive such attention.

Celebrating 15 years of overnight summer camps for children with disabilities

Parents are also given a rest because volunteers spend the day with the children. Moms and dads are in small groups, which offer devotional messages and prayer time for their needs. Moms express the joy of having three meals prepared for them each day and not having to cook. Dads enjoy knowing they are not alone in the struggle to provide for and raise a child with special needs.  The spirit of the camp is overwhelming. Every day there is laughter and joy throughout the camp. Yes, there are burdens to be shared, but joy permeates the environment. At the end of the week, an invitation is given to parents to receive Christ. This camp was a special blessing: 29 parents received Christ!  One father, always attentive during our daily devotions, put his faith in Christ and said, “this camp has changed my whole worldview.”

MTU overnight summer camps 2017
I am thankful to the Lord for giving me my “sunny child,” Vera (girl with Down Syndrome). Thanks to my Vera I had the opportunity to fellowship with volunteers from the United States as well as staff and volunteers here in Ukraine. Their lives are truly devoted to the Lord; and they show it by helping children like mine. These volunteers are truly the hands and heart of the Lord on earth!!!
— Tonya Tugas, mother.
Tonya and Vera

Tonya and Vera

Over 100 children with disabilities and 92 parents were served during our two camp sessions. Sure, it costs a significant amount of money.  But there is no doubt in our minds that the investment made in the lives of these kids and their parents is well worth the return!  What price can you put on a soul? Only God knows what happens within the hearts of parents and campers, but for those of us who volunteer, we will never be the same! Thank you all who gave, prayed and volunteered. May God bless you 100 fold!  Our cup runneth over!

Don Lawton,

MTU Vice President

Much More than Pregnancy Care

At Mission to Ukraine we care very deeply about mothers facing unexpected pregnancies.  Our staff and volunteers lovingly offer these precious women the counseling, medical care, and practical support they need to get back on their feet.  And as we do this, we are blessed with a very holy “window of opportunity” to introduce them to Christ, the Source of everlasting life, love and support.

 

Just two weeks ago, thanks to a wonderful group of volunteers from Indiana, 57 Ukrainian women experienced grace, love, and care in a way many had never dreamed possible at our annual Women’s Conference.  Not only did they make new friends, they spontaneously began helping each other by sharing kids’ clothes (hand-me-downs) and praying for each other!  It was amazing to hear so many of these women testify how this little retreat helped them come to know God in a more intimate and personal way!   Thank you, WOMEN OF GRACE CHURCH from Noblesville, Indiana for sharing your hearts and time with us.  You truly made an eternal impact!

Here’s what Nastya had to share about her life and camp experience:

Nastya and her baby boy at worship yoga (first left to right)

Nastya and her baby boy at worship yoga (first left to right)

I gave birth to my first baby when I was only 17. Four years later I got pregnant again. Neither my husband nor our parents wanted this child. They told me I should have an abortion to “do away with this problem.”  However, my aunt suggested I talk to one of the counselors at Mission to Ukraine (where she had previously received services).  She said they would help me and support me.  The next day I showed up at the MTU office - scared, asking for help - not knowing what type of help they could offer.  I received a very warm welcome from one of the counselors. She helped me realize what a horrible thing abortion was - that God gave me a gift of a child and I shouldn’t reject it!  They offered me emotional, practical, and spiritual support.  They even invited me to their Bible studies.  After several months I gave birth to a wonderful baby boy - a child whom I now love so deeply.

At first I didn’t have much faith in God and didn’t take Him or the Bible seriously. But thanks to the Bible groups and personal witness of God’s work in my life, I opened my heart to Him, receiving Him as my Lord and Savior.  Now I know He is with me and my children all the time. He watches over my family. Glory to our Father God!

This year I got to attend Women’s Conference for the first time. I am so thankful that God guided me there. The best way I can describe it is that “these days were like a fairy tale for me.” I didn’t want to leave! I got to meet new people. Our US group leaders – they are fantastic women. But best of all - I got to know God in a new way that will continue with me for years to come.


Year to date 158 children saved from abortion via services provided by the staff and volunteers at Mission to Ukraine’s 5 counseling locations.  We praise God and give Him all the glory!!!