In the United States, it is easy to live with oblivious privilege. Recently, Pastor Diane, with a small team, visited orphans, elderly and refugees in the Ukraine. They experienced emotional extremes of happiness and pure joy, along with heart-wrenching sorrow. They came face-to-face with the realities of just how privileged many of us are without realizing it. And it’s as simple as the fruit we eat.
Feeding The Nations sent $5,000 to our partner Svetlana from Heart to Heart Ministry in the Ukraine. These funds allowed the ministry to purchase much-needed items and even special gifts, including apples, oranges and bananas for the elderly. Fruit that commonly sits on the counters of American homes (and even gets tossed instead of eaten when it over ripens) is a rare luxury. Some of the elderly had never even tasted a banana.
The money went towards purchasing blankets for Hospice patients and sheets for an assisted living facility. Rice, pasta, fresh fruit, flour, laundry detergent, shampoo and hygiene packets were given to the elderly and the children in the orphanages they visited. Stuffed animals, clothing and shoes were distributed to the children, along with individual gift bags with a variety of children’s items. Children from one of the orphanages prepared a program for wounded soldiers recovering in hospital. After the musical performance, the team was able to take the children on a field trip. They went to tea, and bowling, and also to the park. The team helped refugees from Eastern Ukraine as well, by giving them coats, clothes and funds to purchase much needed food and supplies.
Pastor Diane journaled her experiences. The following are two excerpts from the trip:
“We drove within 8 miles of the Hungarian border today. We visited two more orphanages, leaving much-needed supplies. We were blessed to visit another orphanage with children requiring special care. We had the privilege of making crafts with them and giving gifts that seemed to delight all! We received lots of hugs and love from beautiful children with brilliant eyes and spectacular smiles! They were absolutely captivating, precious children of God and so very sweet. I have the utmost respect for their caregivers and teachers. Patient, caring, lovely people working in an environment of constant need emotionally, physically and financially. They are very special people—exceptionally courageous and kind!”
“It was an emotional day here in the Ukraine filled with extremes. There were joyful, uplifting moments and sad, heartbreaking ones. I am finding it challenging to process some of the things we saw and heard. We witnessed the wonderful laughter and beautiful gifts of children well cared for in an exceptional orphanage, to the heart-wrenching sorrow of sweet, sick elderly people living in Hospice, forgotten and abandoned by family and friends. The conditions could not have been more overwhelmingly opposite! Praying for peace in my heart and mind and rest. I am thankful for partnering with Heart to Heart Ministry. I am reminding myself that love always makes a difference! I am realizing yet again that we are all called to care. We cannot help everyone, but we can, and surely must help some.”
Just $5,000 impacted the lives of many on this mission, including those who gave and those who received. Something as simple as a rare luxury of fresh fruit or a day-to-day need of soap and shampoo showed these people that they are loved and that their lives matter.
If you would like to show the hurting and hungry, lost and lonely that someone cares, then join with us. Any amount you give will go a long way in demonstrating the Father’s love to the least of these.