How this all began..
Spring Break 1998 my mother and I traveled to Ternopil Ukraine after an invitation from the Maximenko family – we spent a week in 32 degree weather that was like stepping back in time to a country that had just seperated from Russia and communistic rule. We met some Americans that were working to organize churches and were doing mission work – the Maximenko family welcomed us with open arms and our relationship with them has grown over the past 10 years – they’ve become like family..
The next trip was in July of 2002 – we stayed 2 weeks and enjoyed great weather and a growing relationship, they took such great care of us. The 2 daughters could speak English so we always had a translator, and Mother Nina has since learned English so she and my mother can enjoy phone conversations every other week.
The third trip my sister Ashley came with us in July of 2006 – on this trip we met Paul and Gayla Hurley – they have lived in the Ukraine for 12 years doing mission work for the elderly and orphan’s. Gayla took us out to visit the orphanage she visits weekly and that is where I met Nadia. She was then 12 – the girl’s at this orphanage are there because of a physical or mental disability….sort of discarded because that’s what the family’s are told to do. She gave me a personal tour “showing off” her home and at the end pointed out that she only has 4 fingers and no thumb on her left arm…I told her that was what made her special…and the look she gave me hooked me, how could I not help this little girl and her sisters?
My fourth trip July 2008 I was able to visit Nadia at the orphanage 3 times and I also had the opportunity to get a look into the clinic system. Our visit lasted a little over 3 weeks and included a weekend in Lviv and the Carpathian Mountains.
The summer of 2009 I returned for almost 4 weeks – My church (Sunbury United Methodist) sent funds with me so I was able to purchase needed items to distribute on my trip. I put together 50 bags for the clinic patients and workers along with additional kitchen and cleaning needs – I also visited the orthopedic floor of a children’s hospital where I handed out bags containing cookies and toys to the patients and their family members, the head physician seemed excited to show us the floor…and asked for a wheelchair since they only have one (so I am working on that!) Special thanks to my friends “The Hurley’s”, they have the car and van that allowed me the ability to transport the purchased items to several places during my visit (www.hministries.com), it is also because of them that this project really works – they are willing to accept and transport all of the items sent to the orphanage so they are a very necessary part of the process. It’s amazing they gave everything up here to go and live in a country to help others – true missonaries at work!