Once again, Sig & Ruth have travelled to the Ukraine representing our simplechurches while serving the church there. As with the last time, their primary work is to support the Nikipol Baptist church as they care for the many poor and needy widows and orphans in their city. By now, having been so many times, many of these faces feel like old friends.
Sig wrote the following before departing. Please read so you can know how to pray!:
This will be my 10th trip and Ruth’s 12th to Nikopol in Ukraine. The purpose is to encourage the locals in the city ( 120,000) and the surrounding villages. WITHOUT HOPE EVERYTHING INSIDE YOU DIES!
We work through the local Baptist Church to reach the groups that need help most. Handicapped, orphans, house bound widows, widows, refugees, street kids, and many others who have fallen through so many cracks in the system. Our fund-raising events here in the lower mainland, THIS YEAR we have reached our goal of $100,000.00 and actually we are at over $116,000 as of last Friday. Our prayers were heard!
The food budget is almost $30,000. Mary Martz our fearless leader and sister to the pastor’s wife, was in the Ukraine this summer for “gypsy camps” in the west of Ukraine, and she pre-ordered all the food for distribution from the west Ukraine and 12 skids arrived last week at the church. It is stored in the cool church basement, until the teams pack it into hampers ….. this is Food for 1,200 grocery hampers and 1,200 hygiene hampers. The 2 hampers are about $50.00 cdn.
If we bought the product in Nikopol, they may have 5 shampoo on the shelf, so by the
time the can gather together 1,200 shampoo’s, it is time for us to depart. So bulk purchase from the western Ukraine really helps the logistics, the price is much cheaper and we get 1,200 bottles of the same shampoo for example, not 30 different varieties. We used to have to pack the hampers but now over 50 church members have volunteered.
So we spend our time doing house visits to shut-ins. Mostly widows who are bed-ridden. Widows that the church looks after, with food, cleaning, washing, diapers and medical support. They have recruited a team of younger widows to look after the older. The church pays the young widows a small monthly fee for their work, which gives them some income. We leave $20,000 for the church to spend on this work. We leave another 10,000 for medical supplies and urgent medical needs, like medicine. Everything is available for purchase, but the price for a local is beyond their ability to buy. a good salary is $300 Canadian. a sausage is $8.00 so none eats meat, except for chickens that run in their back yard, or someone who has managed to raise a pig. So by the time you pay for hydro / gas plus rent there is nothing left for food never mind medicine. Teachers have no scribblers or pens, nurses do not have stethoscopes, as these are to expensive. The roads have pot holes in all directions, so if you manage to own a car, your tire / rims costs are through the roof. Our translator carries a large steel hamper in the trunk to straighten out the rims after a drive.
The refugees are another whole discussion. They come with nothing. so I do not have to add any words!
The street kids are orphans over 18, dumped out of the system, with no place to go and no jobs, How do they survive? Our local street people at least have places to go for food in Vancouver, but in Nikopol there is nothing. So they steal, and then are thrown in prison.
Thanks for your encouragement, in so many various ways. after 16 hour days, hearing endless stories of hardship, we are fit to be tied.
Some of you have supported the Ukraine trip at the fund raisers, others are praying, others by following the blog. Every morning at breakfast, our team is given a report of those who have left comments on the blog.
Please read along and leave a comment every so often. Notes from home spur them along.