Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Over the past month we have had the opportunity of celebrating Thanksgiving with two different Mennonite congregations.  On both occasions it was a delight to see young and old participating in a variety of ways. A skit acted out by children at the Bolkovoya church was particularly memorable. The setting is a discussion about a needy family in the neighborhood.

Two children dressed as hens are listening in. They hear that true living faith looks for a way to lend a helping hand, so the question arises, "Can we spare a hen?"  Then the dilemma of which  to choose - the big one or the little one?  (A much bigger issue here than for those of us who have so much.)  After a bit of agonizing the tension is resolved - the bigger one has to go.

Almost daily people with various needs come to the Centre asking for help.  It's not uncommon to have two or three waiting. We see them sitting in our entry foyer writing out their applications. So one day when two women arrived with three children in tow, we didn't pay much attention until they had been here for about half an hour writing and consulting with each other.  What long list were they planning to present?  Here is that list:
We  want to express our great gratitude for:
  • In your Centre there is always a peaceful atmosphere.
  • People can come only to keep warm
  • The staff is always so helpful and respectful
  • A big thank you to all the doctors who listen to our health problems and always understand us.
  • A special thank you to Dr. Chernova for the professional great care with which she treats her patients.
  • A big significance is the financial support in people's difficulties, things are getting more expensive every day 
With gratitude and respect                                                      

A few days later another woman, bearing a bouquet of beautiful roses, came to thank us for helping fund her husband's surgery.  He had been in so much pain and unable to eat.  The operation was a success.  We aren't always aware of outcomes, although we do make attempts to follow up on our giving.  All the more gratifying when people report back on their own.

A week ago we visited Alyona, the twelve year old daughter of one of our night watchmen. When she was a year old it became evident that she was profoundly deaf.  We have been assisting this family for many years. by providing hearing aids and batteries. Since she was four years old Alyona has spent week days at a residential school for hearing impaired children, coming home only for weekends. Last year when we were here they requested assistance in providing a private tutor.  She was at that age of maturity where she would receive optimum benefit. Now we were able to see the results of this expenditure.

Alyona is very proficient in sign language, and she is also speaking. With a little bit of coaxing she read us two pages from her reader and carried on a conversation with her mother. She also counted off on her fingers and gave us the names of eleven friends. At home the family is trying to encourage verbal com-munication although Alyona prefers to sign, because it requires much less effort on her part.  At this point her speech is on a monotone level, however it is intelligible enough that with my very limited Russian I was able to pick out a few words. What a joy and a privilege to see lives of individuals and families being changed. This family is very grateful, as are we, for the many donors who are making this work possible.

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.

No comments: