Feeding Revolution. Romaniv Orphans Need our Love !

By Oksana Shuliak


I am so thankful to God for guiding MTU to the Romaniv Orphanage a little over 10 years ago to care for the boys and young men there. My heart breaks for orphans in my country, especially those with disabilities.  Far too often they are left in the care of underfunded and untrained governmental staff. These orphans are isolated, lonely, and in pain.

Orphanages such as Romaniv are still viewed by the big system as a ‘survival’ place for ‘almost humans’.

We dream and pray that one day these young men will live in loving families. It hurts to see how voiceless they are crying out for love and care right now. That’s why our primary goal is to meet their basic life needs in medical care, healthy feeding and drinking, toileting, sleeping, washing hands and other self-care skills. We strive to to change their environment to stop abuse and neglect, make it a safe place of development and in and through all these efforts - reveal the love and care of Christ to them.

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Over the years it has been shocking to see that the critical need #1 of our boys has not been met – feeding and nutrition.  Seeing them eat would always bring tears to our eyes. Some of us couldn’t take it…Some of you have seen this firsthand and can testify to that fact.

Imagine: Hungry young men rush as a crowd of 30 people into the feeding hall, throw their clothes on the floor, some of them crying and screaming. It creates a sense of chaos, fear, and anxiety.  Smell of food and excrement make you sick in the stomach.

Two untrained caregivers are feeding at least 5 boys unable to feed themselves independently, watching the rest of the boys not to hurt each other, steal food or run away.  So they just stuff the mouth of the young men with a mixture of courses with the speed light. Some young men throw food on the table and lick it like animals. Others eat from the plate with their mouth. Most of the boys swallow food in big lumps. You turn around and you see a boy vomiting, another boy falls on the floor screaming. At the same time another one is having a seizure.  Still others take a chance to steal food from their neighbors. Everything happens in a big hurry.

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My heart was broken that the first thing to be of pleasure was a horrible and stressful experience for our young men. As a result they experienced aggression, diseases, physical and emotional pain, tears, creaming, constant feeling of hunger, absence of self-care skills.  

I was overwhelmed with shock, hopelessness and frustration, but the desire of change was stronger.

A few months ago a team of MTU specialists and orphanage staff developed a plan how to make feeding a process of pleasure.  

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Now our youth come to the canteen in groups of 15. Caregivers, teachers and volunteers, when being in Romaniv, help feeding the boys. All involved are watching the texture of the food, the speed and teach the boys to hold a spoon and feed themselves. There is peace and quiet in the canteen. No hurry, no fear that your food might be stolen.  Strangely enough as a bonus - there is only smell of food now. It does add work to the orphanage staff, but everyone agrees there is no way back.

So the boys are still in the institution. And we want to make everything possible to change their lives for better.

Pray with us to change the young men’s living environment, so that there would be no abuse, no isolation, no pain.  Pray with us that the love of Christ is evident in our lives as we minister at Romaniv. Pray that the boys sense God’s presence!

Today, I Saw Light Overcome Darkness at a Camp in the Woods of Ukraine

By Steve Znachko,

MTU pastor, supporter, and friend

I am right now in Ukraine and have just returned from visiting the camp for disabled children MTU puts on each year.  It has been a challenging week for over 170 children, parents and volunteers. The conditions are difficult to begin with but even more so this year as the camp has experienced illness, rain every day and the loss of power and water for 1 days due to lightning strikes.  You would never know it was difficult by looking at the campers and the 40+ volunteers, some Americans, some MTU staff, but mostly college aged Ukrainians who give up their vacations, free time and the opportunity to earn much needed money all to come to a camp with 2 “showers” and just few more toilets. But what happens here is something you must see to believe.  

Children mostly shunned in public are each assigned a personal volunteer and the sole job of this volunteer is to love this child like they are loved by Jesus. These children are most lovable, but not always easy to love.  During the week the volunteers will carry them or wheel them to meals, wipe their noses and faces as needed and cheer their every move and accomplishment. For this week the child is not a “disabled child”…but instead a beloved child of a King! Every child is assured to “win” one of the activities and every child receives a medal and does a victory lap in the Special Olympics while hearing their name chanted by hundreds to applause and shouts of “way to go”.

 

The parents watch all of this and there are ALWAYS tears!  It is obvious that deep wells of running water have landed on some very barren land.  They can finally release their children to the care of another, they can finally rest…they can finally laugh! Is it any wonder they are more than willing to hear whatever they can about this Jesus who generates such a miracle.

This is my 16th camp.  It never fails to encourage me. It never fails to challenge me.

Today, I saw Light overcome darkness (Acts 26:18) at a camp in the woods of Ukraine…and I will never be the same, I don’t ever want to be the same.

Friends, prayer warriors and supporters, this year 105 children with disabilities and 84 parents\caregivers attended MTU overnight summer camps. 96 volunteers and 15 MTU staff from over 25 churches both US and UA served families with children with disabilities and orphans. 13 caregivers and 11 children prayed to receive Jesus, 8 people renewed their commitment to follow Christ.  Let’s continue to pray for the seeds planted to grow in their hearts and bring fruit hundredfold.

Pregnancy Care Ministry News

Semi Annual Report: Amazing Breakthroughs and Super Challenges

July Special Events thanks to partnership with Women of Grace Church team:

2 day training for volunteers on leading small groups “Transformational Small Groups”

33 volunteers from 6 different locations received training on leading small groups to be empowered and encouraged in leading Bible studies for our women who chose life for their babies.

Ludmila, volunteer from Zhitomir: “It was important for me to hear that leaders need to find time for rest and fellowship with God. It is very important to find an approach to every person in a group. I am grateful for the team of US friends and for such inspiration for us."

3 day Camp for Pregnancy Care women in Zhitomir.

37 women attended a 3 day camp organized at MTU facility. 24 of them attended a day camp for the first time in their lives. Stories of the women in the Old Testament helped our women see that God can use their lives for His glory and that they are valuable and precious in His eyes. Thanks to camp our women built friendships, learned to support each other, grew in their faith, and received encouragement to connect with local churches.

Olga, 31 year old pregnancy care mother: “During Bible lessons I heard and realized everything that has been happening in my life has a special purpose. God sees my circumstances. He has a special plan for my life. He teaches me to be a strong woman and have confidence in my life, just like Deborah had. It was important for me to hear the stories shared. I saw my story in them and know God continues to shape the story of my life.

Retreat for volunteers

72 volunteers from different locations and regions got together to celebrate God’s victories in ministry in the first six months of 2018, to fellowship and worship, to learn more about care for their souls, and rest.

Thank you, Women of Grace Church for being sincere, devoted, and sacrificial. Thank you for serving alongside the MTU pregnancy care team with your gifts and talents. You truly expand His Kingdom to the ends of the earth.

 

Curiosity Leads to Life and a Mission

Interview with Sveta Korolyova, MTU Pregnancy Care Counselor

Sveta, How did you learn about Mission to Ukraine?

Sveta: I grew up in the MTU’s neighborhood. You can see my house through the window of MTU.  However, before MTU appeared, the street was inhabited with people abusing alcohol. My parents always told me to stay away from that street, which I did.

Once in 2000 I heard rumors about an American building a center for women exactly on that street. The sign said “Women’s Center.” For some reason my husband suggested that I check it out.  He wanted me to go and find out what it was all about. After a few more suggestions from him, I went. To my surprise I met very nice women there. Even though I was an unbeliever and didn’t need pregnancy care counseling, we developed relationships and very soon I started attending a church with them. Thus my encounter with Mission to Ukraine became life-saving for me.

Oh, this is awesome. Was serving women on your heart from the very beginning?

Sveta: Crisis pregnancy counseling was unique to Ukraine. I admired the work they were doing, but couldn’t even think that God would call me to be a part of it.  A few months after coming to faith in Christ, I became a pregnancy care counselor.  A bit later I also began helping with our abstinence program for youth, led Bible studies for our women, and counseled women who wanted to leave their children in the hospital so that they would not leave them orphaned.  Today I am also involved in a lot of promotional work – sharing our pro-life vision with teachers, doctors, and churches. 

 Home Visit 2005

Home Visit 2005

So there are many facets to the title of a counselor here.  What is the most challenging part in your work?

Sveta: The most difficult part of our job is counseling at the abortion clinic. Unfortunately, doctors see women before we counsel them and warn them against us. At present women harden their hearts and counseling is more difficult than ever.  At the same time, God gives us breakthroughs and as of today 247 babies have been saved from abortion right in the clinics! 

Wonderful! That’s quite a number! You’ve been with pregnancy care ministry practically from the very beginning.  You have witnessed God’s guidance and miracles and become a part of them as well!

Sveta: Yes!  I am so grateful to God that today we have over 1700 children saved from abortion through MTU ministry in all our locations. I would say in reality this number is bigger. At times women leave counseling session uncertain about their decision.  So when they meet me in the street several months/years later saying: “This child is yours. Thank you!” my heart overflows with joy. I rejoice with them. This is my most favorite part of our work, for which I am most thankful.

 Bible Study 2005

Bible Study 2005

Praise God. Sveta, in conclusion of our interview, tell us what do you dream of for MTU?

Sveta:  Well, I dream of Ukraine without abortions and abortion clinics. I dream of all Ukrainian people seeing the value of every life and not even considering abortion. I dream of all our women we serve coming to Christ and joining churches. I believe, with God’s guidance, a lot can be accomplished. And I pray to see these changes in the near future!

Thank you, Sveta. May God bless you in your ministry and bless the desires of your heart to do His will.

This is but one of 50 staff members who make MTU what it is today.  It is your faithful prayer and financial support that make it all happen.  Thank you!