2018 Ukraine Update

The Generosity of True Love!

Go and do Likewise. Luke 10:25-37

Vicki Mattingly watching over a lot of bags.

Many believe in the importance of love in solving some of the most difficult problems that orphans with disabilities face. However, it is much easier to talk about how to help than to put love into  practice. As we were planning for our trip to go to Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine this February, we had many obstacles to overcome. We had many goals we wanted to achieve and we knew that we needed help… so we reached out to our partners and friends. One of our most challenging needs involved an orphan girl named Ira that lives in a nursing home after aging out of the state run orphanage.

Co-founder George Pasteur setting up Ira’s tray with ECW staff member Olga, and Slavik with Alpha and Omega.

Ira has a unique condition that limits her mobility: she can only lie on her stomach. She is unable to look at you at eye level. You have to bend down in order for her to see your face and talk to you. Sadly, Ira has been unable to go outside for the past three years since being moved to the nursing home. The facility did not have the appropriate equipment to move her safely.  Due to her disabilities, some believed that she had nothing to give and that there would be no happy ending for her. However, we have been so very blessed to know her over the years. She has been a great blessing to us with her child-like faith, her excitement, hugs, and genuine happiness during our visits and her perseverance despite her  circumstances. She demonstrates a love in practice that is divine and reflects a warm spirit looking for opportunities to express her overflowing love. After telling Ira’s story to the wonderful people at Rifton, a company that manufactures adaptive equipment, our prayers were answered. After being moved by her story, they decided to donate a stander for her which would allow her to go outside. The freedom to get out and see the world from a different would be the beginning of new opportunities for her.

Meeting with the Director about the stander.

However, there were many challenges in getting a stander to her. In the beginning we had to work with the nursing home to convince them that this large piece of equipment would be beneficial to her. This dialogue took months but finally they agreed to let us to bring over this equipment.  Then we had to  raise the support to get it there.  Thanks to all those who contributed, down to the pennies, we were able get the necessary funds for the travel. Finally, we were able to take the stander apart and separate it into many duffel bags in order to be able to get in on the plane. This was a difficult process but we were able to work with the airline to allow us to take many bags for free in order to get the stander and other supplies to Ukraine. What a blessing!

Staff and Ira are excited as we make the final adjustments.

Thanks to everyone’s support, Ira will now be able to see the spring flowers bloom and feel the warm  sun on her face this year. She may even be able to make it to church! Ira and the staff at the nursing home were amazed and celebrating as she was taken out of her room and rolled down the hall. Many tears were shed as we thanked the Lord for this blessing.

 

Ira enjoying her puzzles while in her stander.

During this trip, ECW was also privileged to teach a class at the medical university in the mornings and an evening class for medical professionals and families in the community on how to better serve those with disabilities. It was an amazing time and we now have the support of several local doctors and volunteers to help us in our efforts.

 

 

Talking to medical students about ECW and lecturing on standing frames for children with cerebral palsy.

At ECW, we are preoccupied with developing deep relationships, personalized care and the sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated in His love for us. Those with disabilities, at times, have become static in the background… but we desire to help orphans  with disabilities maximize their independence and be a voice in the church and in their community. We are so grateful to be able to work with Alpha and Omega, the local church and the nursing home in helping those with disabilities. Without your support and partnership we would not be able help meet the needs of the orphans in Ukraine. It allows us to serve and share our testimony on the Spirit of Christ that saves and produces the love in our hearts. Please pray for our ongoing work and consider being a sustaining partner with a monthly donation. These words from  John’s gospel (13:35) ring true with greater force: 

“All will know you are my disciples if you love one another as I have loved you.”

Some of the students with their certificates for a group picture after successfully completing our 4 day course on rehabilitation approaches for children with cerebral palsy.

To be able to continue this progress Alpha & Omega is making, they will need ongoing support from us.

Here are just a few of the tangible ways your donation will help, along with prayer.

  1. Summer camps – $200 per orphan. Alpha & Omega has been taking sponsored orphans to a summer camp for many years. It is only recently that they have been able to take a couple of special needs orphans to a camp.
  2. Monthly visits – $100. Each month, Alpha & Omega visits the special needs orphanage. The orphanage is state run and there are many needs. This money will provide personal hygiene items to include diapers, underwear etc. Also, small gift items.
  3. Special gifts – $10 per child. This will cover birthday gifts and also for holidays. There are on average 70 to 80 children in the orphanage at a time.
  4. Special lessons – $16 to $20. This can support a tutor for language, music, biology or for a class to teach job skills. Each class can be 4 to 5 students.

If you choose to donate to a specific need, when you go to the donate page (found here) you can specify in the memo line where you would like your gift to be directed.

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