Monday, September 19, 2011


In our day-to-day work at the Centre we can easily develop an attitude that sees, in the lives around us and in our surroundings, only that which is broken and requires fixing.  Needs are so great that it is sometimes hard to see beyond them. However there is so much more to see even though life isn't easy.  In the past few days we've seen people affirming the goodness of life, grateful for the goodness of simple things, the turning of the seasons, the sound of children's voices at play, the fruits of the harvest.

It's not always that we have the opportunity of seeing the difference that your giving makes.  Saturday however, we had just such an occasion. Some time ago Alexander Petrovich, the director of a Sports School in Tokmak came with a request for aid. There was a whole list of needs from balls, to mats, to shoes, to outfits. Our church at home took this on as an Advent giving project.  It is only now that we've had the opportunity of following up. We accepted an invitation to a competition at the school and had the pleasure of watching some of the action as well as participating in handing out awards and     trophies.
More than 40 children competed. These children, many of whom would be out on the streets, have a place to come to where they are affirmed, a place where they can build strong, healthy bodies, where they are learning sportsmanship are and building life skills. We were impressed how orderly the children were, how they waited their turns, how they applauded each other and how they followed instructions. They expressed their deepest thanks for all the support they have received, enabling them to carry on and even to compete with other communities.

One humongous beet!
Sunday we joined the Kutuzovka church for their Thanksgiving service - a three-hour event followed by a three-course meal. No translator whispering in our ear this time. The German and English speakers were all busy with their own specified tasks, busy making this day a grand success.

Over 150 people crowded into the small worship space - children were all dressed up. The sanctuary had been transformed with creative, colorful displays in every corner. Interesting to observe that the "tools of the trade",
                                            hoes and rakes, were part of the display.  It's mostly manual labour in this part of the world. Tables were set up outside and after the service all were treated to borscht, salad, mashed potatoes with a meat topping, various pastries and melons for dessert.

The culmination of the harvest season was celebrated in thanksgiving; an expression of gratitude to God that once again canning jars and root cellars have been filled for the coming winter.

**click into pictures to enlarge

If you wish to contribute to the work of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine make your Canadian cheques to "Friends of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine" or "FOMCU".  Cheques from American donors should be made out to "MFC-FOMCU".  All cheques should be mailed to George Dyck, Treasurer,  3675 North Service Rd.  Beamsville Ontario, Canada  L0R 1B1  Check our website at for information on credit card giving.

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