|Florence, Zena and Lucy|
Representatives from the First Mennonite Church shared about some of their struggles in recent years and how they have changed from being inward looking to focusing on reaching out to needy people in their community and looking ahead with optimism.
Boris Letkemann, director of the Family Centre in Zaporozhye spoke about their objective, introducing people to faith and life by focusing mainly on those who cannot take care of them-selves without some assistance. This centre operates a small respite program for elderly and incapacitated persons as well as providing home support to ninety people in the city.
John and Evelyn Wiens told us about the New Hope Centre - a recent church plant in Zaporozhye that is attracting many young people. They also shared their vision to begin a trade school in the village of Nikolaipole, offering opportunities to orphans who must leave the orphanage at age sixteen. Survival statistics for these young people are dismal to say the least, many going into a life a drug abuse, crime and prostitution. They plan to begin next September by offering programs in dairy farming/agriculture, operating a bakery and possibly a welding course, hoping to house these young people in three group homes.
|A farmer in training|
Garry and Teresa live in a house that closely resembles the house my grandmother and her seven children moved into when they were driven from their estate in the early 1920's. Many former Mennonite buildings still exist in Nikolaipole, however we've searched in vain for this house, nothing to match my photograph. A short distance down the road is the school my aunts and uncles attended. It is still the village school. The
|Olga Rubel below, school director on stairs|
We've spent this day with Olga Rubel, our capable staff member in the Zaporozhye area. Together we've visited some of our projects, made deliveries, then met with our medical emergency aid representatives in two villages thanking them for the volunteer efforts they've provided through the years, faithfully distributing medications to those with few resources, keeping meticulous records and reporting back punctually. Through the generosity of our donors it's a privilege to carry on this work and to increase our presence in the former Chortitza and Yazykovo colonies.
The link to a new video on "Care for the Elderly in Molochansk" can be found at www.youtube.com/MennoniteCentre
For more information on the Mennonite Centre visit our website at http://www.mennonitecentre.ca/