Last fall the church where we worship started a nursing home on a very small scale. What had been an apartment at one end of the church was renovated and now accomodates three elderly women. Some former members of the Mercy Group have taken over the care of these residents. Admission is open to anyone, the only requisite being that they have no one to look after them. Families are often reluctant to allow their needy elders to go into residential care. It means forfeiting the elderly person's pension which, in many cases, has now become the family's livelihood. It all gets very complicated.
When renovations were completed last fall, the opening had to be delayed because the village had no water. Kutuzovka is often without water and this was the dilemma when the Mennonite Heritage Cruise visited in October. Passengers became aware of the issue and before the day was over collected enough money to pay for a well. A miracle, an act of mercy! Since then this has become known as "Jacob's Well" - Jacob Thiessen is the pastor.
Last week food hampers were distributed to shut-ins who are no longer able to attend our Senior's lunches. We also brought hampers to four homes where families are caring for disabled children. If children are mentally alert they qualify for home tutoring and teachers will visit in the afternoon. There is, however, almost no integration into "normal" society. Appropriate equipment such as wheelchairs or walkers are difficult to obtain and transporation is a problem. There is still a stigma and often these children remain hidden. One mother wiped tears from her eyes, she was so touched that we had bothered to come. She said nobody comes. Another case was particularly sad. A twenty-one year old non-verbal, severely disabled son is being cared for by his mother. This year the father also became bedridden. They live in extreme poverty and all three occupy a small bedroom. The son lies on a narrow fold-down couch. His legs are permanently crossed and he hasn't been out of the room for three years. The mother says he has pressure sores. She raised him up and spoke to him so lovingly. Not a complaining word was spoken. We would love to do something to ease the burden for this family.
By law medical care is free in Ukraine, but in practice this isn't the case. We receive frequent requests for medical aid and have been able to provide assistance to fund critical surgeries and to help people in desperate need of medications. Our deeds of mercy are made possible by our generous donors.