Newsletter April 2010
“Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be comforted as to comfort, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. We only receive when we give. “ – Francis of Assisi
During the last weeks I am thinking a lot about this old prayer of Francis of Assisi. In the last four month we were challenged again and again to comfort, love and understand. Without our Christian faith as a daily source of energy this wouldn’t be possible.
Our traditional visit to Germany during Christmas and New Year was shorter this year as we absolutely wanted to join the common Christmas party with the children and their parents as well as the workers from both centers in Odessa. So we started out with our minibus across Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova for Odessa on January 5th. Although it took us about 38 hours we arrived more or less freshly and motivated at home. On January 9th, we experienced wonderful Christmas celebrations with about 80 people. Our Christmas play “Report from Bethlehem” was the highlight for the actors as well as for the audience. The handmade presents were a great pleasure to parents and grandparents. Drinking coffee and eating cookies we had the chance to talk with a lot of them. It’s important for us to include the parents in our work so far as they want it since the improvement of the families’ situation is one of our long-term aims.
All the more we are desolated because of two events happening in February – the death of two mothers (37 and 46 years old) of kids we look after for long time. Both women died in consequence of addiction to alcohol. All those years we realized that especially children who experience little love and attention by their parents nevertheless suffer painfully from the loss of their father or mother. It was a great privilege for us to comfort and encourage those three young people during this time. Two of them are still attending our center daily. Now we are concerned with the legal affairs resulting from the mothers’ death and the support of relatives in dealing with the public authorities’ issues. After his wife’s death, the father of two boys agreed to do a detoxication in a psychiatric clinic. Our association financed part of the medicines. He took the first steps and so far and we hope he will manage to start a new life without alcohol.
In both centers everything is going fine. It’s obvious that also for the kids in the new center the daily attendance has become part of their everyday life. Even the very energetic little boys are gladly doing their tasks (help with cleaning, preparing lunch…). The patience and calm character of our workers play an essential part. Slavik and I are glad to have a team on which we can rely and which has learned to work independently. Furthermore, this enables me to attend international events to which I am invited more and more. In the past half year I was able to work at several events of Interdiac (an academy for diaconia and social action in Eastern Europe with headquarter in Czech Republic). Our Ukrainian association is a partner organization of this Christian institute (www.interdiac.eu).
On April 13th, I had the pleasure to be present at Alina’s birth. She is our second “Living Hope baby”. Her mother attended us as elementary school child. Afterwards, she moved to another district with her family. Finally she went astray with friends who negatively influenced her. Hearing of her pregnancy she asked us for help and we are now maintaining intensive contact. Unfortunately, after examinations Alina was diagnosed with a cardiac defect. We hope and pray that everything will be all right anyway. At this moment they are still in children’s hospital.
Another highlight of the past few years was the opening of our new playground in the area of the first day care center. The playground was mainly sponsored by the German embassy, so the German ambassador Dr. Heimsoeth together with his wife attended the opening ceremony on April 4th. Further representatives of Odessa local administration as well as other friends and supporters were present. On our new website (www.hope4kids.com.ua) you can see pictures of this celebration as well as get more information and reports.
Looking back the past few years we are amazed and thankful to God and the many helpers, friends and supporters who made our work grow.
Currently, we are preparing for the summer holidays. In July we are planning a camp for those kids who won’t join our journey to Germany (especially the younger ones and children whose parents don’t have valid documents). The children’s week is going to take place in the first center. We will stay overnight and hopefully have a lot of fun and relaxation. In August we are going to start again on our traditional journey to Germany with a group of 25 children. In this year we take along four girls from the second center and a couple of new kids from the first one. They are of course specially excited and expectant. We are glad about everyone supporting those projects.
For today, these are the most important messages from Odessa. We would like to give thanks for constancy and support also in the name of our workers, children, young people and families. God bless you!
Slavik, Nicole, Rebekka and Sarah Borisuk from Odessa