This blog post is written by Jacquie from Surrey, who was on the DHM team that visited Ukraine earlier this month.
The DHM Team Visits a Care Home for the Disabled in Tsarichanka
As the plan was to leave promptly after breakfast and prayers for the long journey to the Care Home for the disabled in Tsarichanka (a 7 hour round trip, which turned into an 8 hour round trip due to arduous, icy-fog weather conditions), our incredible hosts were cooking chicken at 5.30am, getting chicken wraps ready for 14 of us - lunch for our journey! The hospitality of Sonia, Liliya, Karine and Mariam was beyond generous and so whole-hearted; we were embraced in their kindness and unstinting care during our entire visit.
Liliya and Sonia woke up early to prepare lunch for 14 people!
Pastor Alexander, his wife Iryna, and cousin Lyubov, regularly visit the Care Home throughout the year, to minister to the elderly, disabled and abandoned residents, to show God’s love and compassion in a very real, practical way. The new minibus has been such an answer to prayer, and certainly came into its own on this trip, not only helping us travel to the Care Home, but filling the boot and any spare space with gifts of food, essential medicines, and medical equipment.
Many of the disabled residents have been unable to leave the Care Home for decades. With the new minibus Pastor Alexander and his team will be able to offer local excursions to parks, to the coast, and bring people to visit residents who are bedbound, to pray and encourage and bring supplies. The minibus will be a huge blessing and great tool for the ministry team in Dnipro.
Pastor Alexander and the DHM team unload the minibus outside the care home
DHM Team members, Nat and Gill, carry supplies to the care home
We had been prepared to expect extremely poor and shocking conditions when visiting the Care Home, and on arrival the large building did look alarmingly bleak and austere. We were greeted by the manager, a welcoming man with a ready smile, who was clearly overjoyed to see the team arrive.
We met a number of the more mobile residents, seated in a large hall and were invited onto a stage area to greet them!
Some of the residents of the care home greet the DHM team!
Pastor Alexander warmly greeted everyone, and then gave a most heartfelt gospel message, with tears in his eyes, encouraging everyone to consider the choice of their eternal destination, to choose eternal life with Christ Jesus, the slain Lamb of God, who had suffered, and who understood and knew their suffering and pain; to invite Jesus into their heart and believe, that there is a time to come when God will wipe every tear from their eyes, there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for them to choose God now, to know God’s Kingdom and to know they are a dearly loved child of God, His son or daughter.
It was very moving to see his sincerity and deep care for the people he regularly visits and ministers to. The team sang a spontaneous acapella style Amazing Grace which was beautiful!
We were split into two groups to visit all the residents accommodated on two floors. Every person visited, was given a pack containing fruits and sweets, toiletries and for some, essential medicines. Nat, my team leader, noticed that improvements and changes had taken place since last year’s Winter Mission Trip. The corridors had been painted, the ceiling lights worked and most encouragingly, the terrible stench that had pervaded the whole place, was largely absent, with noticeable improvements and cleanliness to the communal areas. Most of the residents’ own rooms were still in a very poor and destitute condition.
Jacquie with one of the residents at the care home in Tsarichanka
The first person we met, an elderly, long-suffering man, started to cry; the most natural and compelling way to respond was by hugging and praying for this very dear man, using as many Ukrainian phrases as we had been encouraged to learn, to help him to know how much God loves him, cares for him and wants to help him through his suffering.
We made it our intention to visit, give gifts and pray for every resident in the care home. It was very emotional and often very hard to leave people and move to the next room, but we hope each person knew our passion to share God’s love with them. We prayed for God’s Holy Spirit to minister to them, to bring healing, reaching their innermost soul.
Varduyi with Valentina, whom the team had met during last year's trip
One of the residents had recently fallen and broken his hip. He pleaded with us to provide him with painkillers to help his suffering. One of reasons why it is such a privilege to have served and worked alongside the team of volunteers already in place, visiting regularly and caring for those in the Care Home, is knowing Pastor Alexander will make arrangements to provide more medicines, and we can help to support the ongoing work of these wonderful, sacrificial and compassionate people.
Suzie greets Sergey, whom the DHM team first met back in February 2016
Psalm 9 and 10 reminds us that God does not ignore the cry of the afflicted, he hears their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed.
To him be the Glory through Jesus Christ our Lord!