August 2016 report

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Dear friends,

Let me tell you about the work of our Center in August.

In August, we were invited to participate in the city family festival which lasted for three days. One of the evangelical churches of Odessa was the organizer of the festival. The purpose of the event was to bring the gospel to the people and make Christian family values known to them. We had an opportunity to communicate with a considerable number of people, to answer their questions, and also to leave the information about our Center with them in case they needed our help.

Our child psychologist Karina conducted group sessions to develop communicative skills with children of ages 6 to 8 and 9 to 11. The group sessions for younger children have already been completed, but the sessions for older children still continue. Children from normal families and children who find themselves in difficult circumstances come to these sessions (for example, there is a girl there whose father is an addict. Her mother divorced him because of his drug addiction, but the father has been pursuing his ex-wife and daughter).

Our psychologists Tanya and Karina conducted a field group session for adoptive parents. The parents were very grateful to Tanya and Karina for the helpful information which they learnt and said that they would like to have such meetings more often.

We continue our work with the refugees and the veterans. The situation with the refugees continues deteriorating. They will be evicted in the Fall from the place of their temporary residence where we visited them. Unfortunately, our government has failed to solve the problem with the refugees properly. However, there are still settlements of the refugees around, and part of these people still need help.

In August we bought small grocery baskets for 11 families of the refugees and also brought diapers for disabled children.

I would like to share the story of refugee Valery. He fled from the city of Donetsk. He is 77 years old. Several months ago our counselors Vova and Angela were asked to come over and see him, because he was in a very serious depressive condition, talking often about suicide.

They were unable to get to his room the first time, because he would not open the door, refused to talk to anybody, saying that life lost its meaning. After a while, however, he did respond. Already at the first meeting it became obvious that he is a very interesting and life-loving person who got into most difficult circumstances and just could not deal with them.

Valery’s life is very hard. When he was two and a half years old he and his mother got under bombardment. It was in 1941. They went by train to the Ural Mountains, far away from the front line. Near the city of Kharkov their train was destroyed by bombs dropped from the Nazi planes. Since then he has been stuttering. In the year 1944, his father died at the front line. His childhood was very difficult. But despite all the difficulties Valery loved to study, received a university degree and worked with various companies before the war in the East of Ukraine broke out. The current war (the second one which he had to face directly), the forced resettlement, loneliness and constant “surprises” from the administration of the refugee camp brought him to despair.

Vova and Angela talked with him about God and about the value of life. After the very first conversation, Valery converted to the Lord in a prayer of repentance. It was 8 months ago, and Valery feels much better now, attending worship services which local Christians conduct for the refugees. Now he wants to be baptized. Vova and Angela want to help organize his baptism at their church. Valery is a specialist in advanced mathematics. He wrote a poem in which he speaks about creation of the world and redemption in mathematical terms. We have not heard such a mathematical praise yet!

Angela and Vova continue visiting the wounded soldiers at the hospital. They were very much touched by Sergey's story. Sergey was summoned to the war and fought in the hottest areas. He went through the battle near Ilovaysk (the hottest point in the year 2014, with about 400 people reported dead). Sergey survived miraculously. Soon after the battle near Ilovaysk he came back home.

This past summer Sergey and his wife decided to have some rest together at the seacoast. They went there by car. Sergey fell asleep while at the steering wheel and lost control over the car. There was an accident. His wife died immediately. And Sergey, with numerous bone fractures, got into the Odessa military hospital. He is left with a daughter.

At the first meeting, Sergey wept, being much grieved about his wife’s death. Angela and Vova talked with him about ways to deal with grief, comforted and encouraged him. Sergey needs psychological and spiritual support very much. By the second visit he recovered a little from the grief. They talked about his plans for the future and about the changes that the war wrought in his consciousness. Sergey asked them to continue visiting him. Has said that communication with our counselors is a great help.

I have completely forgotten to share with you a great piece of news! Renovations at our office have been going on since June! I thank all who have been contributing the funds for the renovations of our office! We are very happy that we can work in better conditions! Our renovated office will be bigger and more functional!

I am very grateful to you for taking the time to read my reports and for praying for us! I thank all who support us financially! Again and again I want to tell you that everything that we do we do owing to the Lord inspiring your hearts to help us! If we were on our own, we could do incomparably less… Thank you!

Please continue to pray for the development of our ministry. Also, please pray for the people who we visit so that the Lord may strengthen them and help them find the strength to overcome all the difficult circumstances that they find themselves in.

I give thanks to God for you!

With love in Christ,
Lena Kolker,
Director of the Odessa Springs Counseling Center