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Dnipro Mission Blog

An Audience with the Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church

It was an honour to meet the Head of the Catholic Church in Ukraine, His Beatitude Archbishop Major Sviatoslav Shevchuk, at a recent event at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, London. 

The Archbishop gave a presentation entitled, 'The Mission of the Church in Ukraine Today'. He addressed three main issues:

(1) The democratic choice taken by the majority of Ukrainians to integrate with the rest of Europe in order to embrace European values of freedom, diversity, solidarity, respect and tolerance;

(2) The role of the churches in helping Ukrainian society transition from the stagnation and corruption of post-Soviet society towards an open future as an integrated member of the European cultural space;

(3) The specific role of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in its mission to serve Ukrainian society.

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Delivering ex-NHS Equipment for Disabled People in Ukraine

Thanks to the generosity of our friends, family and various anonymous donors, we were able to send a dozen zimmer frames and a dozen sets of crutches to a disabled home in the Dnipro Region ahead of our trip later this month.

This equipment will make a huge difference to the people in the disabled home. Last time when we visited the home in February 2017, we saw residents trying to walk on warn-out sticks of rotting wood and moving around on improvised devices made from the damaged wheels of rusty supermarket shopping trolleys.

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Videos from the Summer Camp

Each of these Youtube videos will give you an insight into some of the summer camp activities:

The First Session

Fun and Games

Excerpt from an English Lesson

Organising into Groups

Karine's Announcement

 

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So Difficult to Say "Goodbye"!

There's an old joke which goes something like this: What's the difference between the English and the Ukrainians? The answer: "English people leave without saying goodbye, whereas Ukrainians say goodbye without leaving!"

This week at the camp we were all Ukrainians. We knew we had to say goodbye, but the children were so amazing that it was really difficult. The "goodbyes" lasted at least half an hour. In the end, we practically had to physically remove the children from the DHM volunteers! Clinging tightly to the team, the children didn't want us to leave and it was so sad to say that we needed to say goodbye. We assured them that we'd be thinking and praying about them when we went back to the UK and that we were already looking forward to seeing them again next year!

Here are some photos from the time when we had to say our goodbyes.

 Luke from London made a new friend!  Rob, a student training for ministry at Spurgeon's College, says farewell  And Laura from Devon, also a student at Spurgeon's College, says her goodbyes This was the youngest child at this year's summer camp. He was declared to be the sweetest by the DHM team! He answered all the questions correctly in the Bible knowledge quiz at the end of the camp. Molodyets! 
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Having Fun and Teaching Children about God's Love

At the summer camp we had the privilege of playing out key scenes from the Bible in fun and creative reenactments. As well as playing games and learning new skills, the children were also told about God's love for them. We were blessed to have such a talented and creative team, which comprised members of the UK group as well as the local Ukrainians from Vasylkivka Baptist Church. I was amazed and impressed by the rapport they established both with each other and with the children.

As I look back on the trip, I am very grateful to so many people. Several people gave sacrificially in order to ensure that we could purchase all the equipment we needed to make the camp a success. Thanks to the generous donations that we received, we were able to bless every child (all 134 of them!) with a free gift bag, full of goodies, such as cotton t-shirts, pens, pencils, toys and sweets. Most of the children who came to the camp were from extremely poor families. In many cases, the children were orphans or were living with parents suffering from various addictions. Therefore, it was a blessing for us to be able not only to give these children the gift of a few days of good fun, but also to remind them that God loves them and has a special plan for each one of them.

Moreover, we are keen to ensure that the summer camp should not just be a "one-off" event. Thanks to the camp, the children have been brought into contact with the young people from the local Baptist church, so we hope that these relationships will continue to develop and that we will be able to keep in contact with them and their parents. We also hope to be able to organise a similar camp in July 2018, so that we can see them all again next year!

Here are a few photos which give a snapshot of the camp...

 

 

 

  As a Northumbrian I was please that even Northumberland was represented at the summer camp in Vasylkivka! Here the flag hangs proudly alongside the Ukrainain.     
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