January Report

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Dear friends,Let me tell you about the work of our Center in January.January in Ukraine is a time of rest, holidays and… of new laws introduced by the government. As you know, most of the local people are culturally Eastern Orthodox and Greek Catholics.They celebrate Christmas here on January 7. And on January 14, many people here celebrate theso-called “Old-Style New Year”. Many Ukrainians prepare traditional national meals, visit eachother, sing traditional Christmas carols, march in carnival processions, and participate inChristmas performances and presentations. In Odessa, at this time of year, there are always manypeople on the streets, people enjoying their vacations, rejoicing and having fun. This year the joy of many people here was overclouded by new laws introduced by ourgovernment. These laws are going to affect the work of our center too. I will not burden you withdetails of our legislation. I will only tell you that, as a result of this, we have to be looking fornew forms of our work. Please pray that we could continue working and helping people in needon a full scale.We continue counseling people, visiting the refugees and the military.I would like to tell you a story of a girl who asked me for help. After the first counseling session,she disappeared for several months, but today she came back again. She is having PTSD after thesad events in Odessa on May 2, 2014. On that day in Odessa pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russiangroups collided, the result of this having been more than 40 deaths. This girl was on the spot ofthe collision. She represented one of the groups. She is a medic, and the reason she was involvedwas to try to help the wounded. She saw aggression of the people, saw the wounded, heard thefiring, and then was present at that place where most of the people died. She asked me for help,because after a while, she was beginning to be overcome with the feeling of guilt for the deathsof these people, and she also began having panic attacks. About a year ago this girl turned toGod, and now she also blames herself for being a “bad Christian”, since turning to God did nothelp her to get rid of the feeling of guilt and the panic attacks.

Also, this month a married couple came to me for counseling. I will name them Tanya and Mark.The reason they contacted me is because they are constantly having fights. It is interesting thatthree years ago the then unmarried Tanya had come to me for counseling, because she had haddoubts as to whether she needed to marry Mark. Tanya is a Christian, Mark is not. She called mesaying, “You probably do not remember me, because I met with you only once. Back then wediscussed all the consequences that could affect our marriage. But I still chose to marry Mark.And now my life has turned into a nightmare. My faith means nothing to him…” I asked her ifthey could come for counseling together. And they came. Two nice people with absolutelydifferent values and worldviews sat before me … It was obvious how hard it was for them to betogether, how much pain each of them harbors in their hearts. I suggested that they should gothrough family counseling. Tanya agreed at once, and Mark said that he was not sure that hewanted this. Perhaps, for some time, I will be working only with Tanya.People with different problems contact us. And we want to continue helping all those who needour help.In January our psychologist Victoria visited the refugees several times. This time we managed tobuy medicines and diapers for those who needed them.