Today, I received an email from Pastor Alex in Chernigov, Ukraine, with pictures of the saints in Chernigov receiving the items we sent to them in the container. Bro. Alex had notified me last week that the items we sent have been released by the customs officials and they are in the process of distributing them to the church members, as well as others in the community. He writes,
“Our people were very happy to get these things. Everybody said last time it was good, but this time it’s better yet. Tonya [Bro. Alex’s wife] got lots of very nice clothing for the children. Also, we want to say a special thank you for the white pails.”
The white pails are five gallon plastic buckets that we packed full of various household items such as hand soap, large mixing spoons, combs and hair brushes, toothpaste and toothbrushes, towels, washcloths, dish soap, toilet paper and shampoo. These buckets can be given to poor people in the community with a scripture verse or tract. We were not allowed to send anything that was considered religious, but they can do that in their language.
In addition to these items, there were men’s, women’s and children’s winter clothing and shoes, school supplies and household bedding.
There were also wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, crutches, rehab toys, over $16,000 of crippled children’s equipment and over $13,000 in miscellaneous other medical supplies that was distributed to a local hospital and clinic. The estimated value of the container contents was over $144,300. Also, by the help of our friends at Operation Ukraine, a second container of hospital equipment has been sent to Chernigov for distribution to the hospitals and clinics in the area.
This project began last February, 2012 as a result of my visit to Ukraine in 2011. There has been much delay and a great deal of frustration getting all the government paper work approved. This greatly hindered us in getting started. As we began gathering items, the Lord provided a large warehouse for us to use, free of charge. This was a tremendous help. Finally, on September 8, 2012, we loaded the container and it left our dock for Ukraine, along with our prayers for its safe delivery. The container arrived in Ukraine in November, but has been held by customs, waiting to be inspected and released.
This has been a big undertaking for our small congregation. Aberdeen Primitive Baptist Church members worked very hard on this project, providing much physical labor and finances. However, none of this could have been possible without the gracious help of the Lord and the financial assistance and donated items from so many of our Christian friends.
Ukraine is a country that has been struggling to survive politically and economically since getting its independence from Russia. Some are prospering; however the vast majority of the population must deal with a high cost of living, low wages and few jobs. There is much poverty.
There is also religious opposition. The Orthodox Catholic Church has a great influence in the country and strongly opposes other denominations. This container has been sent to the poor people of Ukraine as an expression of Christian love and witness. On behalf of all the recipients, I want to thank all of you for your help with this project.
Thank the Lord for His mercy and God bless each one,