The mission The mission
The mission of Gift of Life is to enlarge and strengthen the body of Christ by providing opportunities for the Ukrainian Lutheran Church to proclaim God's word. This ministry advocates Christian love and a wholesome life for the people of Ukraine, including the unborn, and especially for the family of believers.
International Charitable Fund Gift of Life International Charitable Fund Gift of Life
Gift of Life (GoL) has five pro-life counseling centers in Ukraine. They are located in the cities of Ternopil, Sevastopol, Kremenets and two in Kyiv - Left Bank Life Center and Right Bank Life Center.
Our history Our history
Gift of Life began as Medical Clinic on Wheels (MCOW) in 1992. Support from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod mission society, Thoughts of Faith Inc., together with the late Dr. Stephen Dudiak made this Ukrainian outreach possible. Children exposed to the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl were the first to receive treatments. Since those days 150,000 Ukrainian children and adults have benefited from MCOW.
Material Aid Material Aid
Baby and maternity clothing are given to pregnant women to help them and to show them Christian care. Gift of Life (GoL) also assists these women by supplying them with prenatal vitamins.
Material Aid Material Aid
Donations of new/used clothing, footwear and hygiene products are gathered and shipped from the United States to Ukraine by Thoughts of Faith. Gift of Life distributes the aid to needy people in Ukraine through the Lutheran Church congregations, counseling centers and other reliable institutions.
God God
The Christian Lutheran connection is evident to clients who visit the clinics, counseling centers and to those who receive material aid. They have an opportunity to hear God's word. Many women have their babies baptized into the family of believers. Gift of Life provides opportunities to the Ukrainian Lutheran Church to proclaim God's love found in Jesus Christ.
Thursday 05 December 2013 - 13:28:09         Posted by admin        

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord”


Luke 2:11
ukrainian_christmas_card_scanned_explanation.jpg
When the first star appears in the
sky on Christmas Eve in Ukraine,
people gather together, sing
Christmas carols and, with a big
plywood star on a stick of wood,
proclaim "Khrystos Rozhdayetsya!"-
"The Christ is born!"

Advent is a wonderful time as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and a perfect time to thank those who have supported the mission with prayers and donations. Because of God's blessings and your support, Gift of Life (GoL) has had another successful year - not just in drilling teeth, taking blood pressures or doing crisis counseling and not just in proclaiming "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born ... Christ the Lord" but proclaiming to individuals in Ukraine, "a Savior has born TO YOU..."
The staff at Gift of Life sends warmest Christmas greetings to all Thoughts of Faith friends. Following is an example of the work your gifts have supported.

Nick and Kerry Leper,
Administrators, Gift of Life

At the Sambir Prison

Twenty-one years ago the Medical Clinic on Wheels (MCOW) started work in the Ternopil region of Ukraine.
MCOW is a unique humanitarian outreach, unlike any other in Ukraine. Today the medical and dental clinics are part of Gift of Life (GoL).
I started to work at this charitable organization as a junior medical worker, fulfilling my school-girl dream of working at a medical institution.
The work at Gift of Life demands real sympathy for patients because usually they are children, and often orphans, the disabled, and poverty stricken who need spiritual help as well as medical. I have traveled to many orphanages and remote villages and have seen a lot. The missionary work of GoL fills a major need for those poor people. I am very thankful to Mr. Nicholas and Mrs. Kerry Laper for their faithful work in Ukraine. They make a wonderful example of devotion to our Lord's Word.
Last year we celebrated MCOW's 20th Anniversary. The year was marked with a very special opportunity: Canadian friends invited us to work at the boys' prison in the city of Sambir, in the Lviv region. Such institutions in America are called reform schools, but make no mistake about it-this is a prison and if you don't learn your lesson here you’ll learn it in the adult prison.
I’ve never been locked in before, certainly not with prisoners. I was afraid that something may go wrong in terms of security or infection. But my conscience was telling me that I must do this work the way I did it anywhere else. I opened the Bible and read:
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’.” (Matthew 25:34-36)
Then I did not have any hesitations. I was sure that everything will be right and our help is really needed there.

natalya_with_inmates.jpg
Natalya with inmates

Sambir is a very nice and clean European town with beautiful old houses and churches. Its look does not associate with the prison at all. In any case, the Medical Clinics on Wheels came through the main gates of the prison where they were checked allover for security purposes. The medical and dental staff waited outside, where we could see bars, high walls with razor wire on them, attentive glares from guards in the crow’s nest. We heard the continual barking of dogs.

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Inside The Sambir Prison – note razor wire

The atmosphere made me think about those boys who are inside of the prison: do they realize that what they committed were sins as well as crimes, and do they really want to improve? And here comes the first day of our work at the prison.
The prisoners are brought to the clinic buses by burly guards. The boys were arrested from all over Ukraine. Some are in their first year at the prison; others the third, for some prison terms are almost over. All of them are skinny and pale. Most of them have skin infections. Their hands are in a very bad shape because of the hard work they do in the prison. Their teeth are even in a worse condition due to cheap and monotonous diet, lack of vitamins and poor oral hygiene. Our help was so needed at this place.

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Burly guards escort inmates to clinics

All of us could read in the boys' eyes how happy they were to receive our attention. They had forgotten how pleasant it is to feel someone’s care and good attitude; how simple yet important it is to have a sincere conversation; how emotional it is just to be asked "how are you doing?”
Before entering for examination and treatment, each boy visited with Ludmylla, the Deaconess who shared the Christian message we celebrate at Christmas: A Savior has been born for you! After having been seen at each bus these teenagers were smiling and expressing their gratitude.
We pray our visit is a first step on a path that will help them improve and have a good future, a Christian life, and faith in God.

Natalya Trisch,
Head of Gift of Life Dental Clinic on Wheels

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
(Galatians 6:9-10)


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Friday 29 November 2013 - 14:53:22         Posted by admin        

GoL Counselors

Dear friends,
You have already met 5 people of our support staff and it’s time to represent you another five very important people in ICF “Gift of Life” – the GoL pro-life counselors. You have seen them on some pictures and read their articles. Over the years thousands of babies were saved through their persistent work - giving presentations, speaking at group meetings, providing individual counseling and especially when working with crisis pregnancy clients. Here are our heroines:

Anna Kuchma (Kyiv Right Bank Life-Center counselor)
born  April 22, 1970 in Kyiv, single;

graduated Kyiv Medical College #1 in 1989 as a nurse.
Began work with "Lutherans for Life" in 1994 becoming a certified RB pro-life counselor in 2000.
2010 became a certified Deaconess with Ukrainian Lutheran Church.
anna_biography.jpg

Svitlana Leshchenko (Kyiv Left Bank Life-Center counselor)
born April 1, 1950;

married, three daughters;
graduated from Kolomyia Medical School (Ivano-Frankivsk district) in 1970, receiving a diploma in obstetrics and gynecology.
1981 graduated from Kyiv Medical University (doctor-hygienist and epidemiology doctor).
Worked as epidemiology doctor for 20 years. - Began work as a counselor with GoL in 2000.
svitlana_biography.jpg

Nadiya Khominska (Ternopil Life-Center counselor)
born October 23, 1949;
married, one son.
1994 began working as a counselor for of “Lutherans for Life”  (being the first employee in Ukraine).
1995 visited the U.S. and completed training “Lutherans for Life”.
1998 officially began working for GoL.
nadiya_biography.jpg

Nina Andreychuk (Kremenets Life-Center counselor)
born on October 13, 1956 in Kremenets;
married, 3 children;
graduated from Pedagogical University in Rivne (faculty of psychology and pedagogy).
1992 found an advertisement about MCOW in local newspaper and came with her son to Ternopil to have medical check-up.
1997 began working as a volunteer for ICF “Gift of Life”.
1998 became a part-time employee in GoL.
1999 became a full time counselor for GoL.
nina_biography.jpg

Helen Kovalenko (Sevastopol Life-Center counselor)
born  June 3, 1953;
married, two sons.
1978 graduated from Kuban State University (Faculty of Geography) in Russia (received 2 diplomas – geography teacher and military nurse).
Moved to Sevastopol. 1994-1996 studied in Sevastopol University and graduated with applied psychology diploma.
After graduation worked as a psychological counselor in Sevastopol Social Service for Youth and Family for two years.

1998-2008 worked as a psychologist in Sevastopol Children’s Orphanage.
2008 began work with GoL as counselor.
helen_biography.jpg

May God bless them and their families with all the best, because they deserve! Keep up such good work, our life-seviours!


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Friday 26 July 2013 - 20:37:16         Posted by admin        

One for All and All for One

Super helpful
U
rgently needed

Persistent
P
rofessional

O
n point
Rarely absent
T
rustworthy


Different dictionaries give different definitions of the word “support”. The most common ones are: 1) noun: a thing that bears the weight of something; 2) verb: to keep something going on. While something that supports is a secondary thing the main item cannot exist without it like a lamp or a chair, it must have support. The same can be said about Gift of Life (GoL). GoL Support Staff has five employees: accountant/office manager, manager/translator, receptionist and two driver/mechanics - but in fact they are all one single body. As you see, the position of each Support Staff member can hardly be outlined by just one word. Indeed, the more tasks people can do, the more valuable they are. This rule fits a small non-profit organization, such as GoL very well.  GoL is like a happy, friendly family which works together to help GoL help others. The Support Staff is a family within a family. It supports, cooperates with and coordinates the other family members – Medical Clinic on Wheels (MCOW) and the five pro-life centers.

one_for_all_and_all_for_one.jpg

One has heard a lot about these two “super stars” due to the opportunities they provide to the Ukrainian Lutheran Church and the assistance they give to needy people in Ukraine. But has anyone heard of the Support Staff?  Probably not, because they are like a fighter airplane’s ground crew. The pilot gets all the attention, but he wouldn’t get off the ground without his support staff.
Let’s see why these few people are so valuable.

vita.jpgAccountant Vita Velykoshych is office manager, secretary, translator and more. Responsible for money, banking, staff records, salaries, dozens of government reports, work orders and on and on. There are only two people working in the main GoL office that being accountant and manager. It sounds very funny when someone calls asking to talk to the fuel accountant or transportation accountant or salary accountant. Here she is – all in one!

Receptionist Halyna Pastushenchyn is a certified pro-life counselor, courier, gardener, house sitter and many other things. While the clinics are located in Ternopil, GoL headquarters, she is the receptionist. You would have a hard time finding a kinder person when dealing with needy people – very sympathetic, always trying to help,  patient when listening to needs and complaints, checking with scrupulous accurately the needy people’s certificates thereby reaching the most needy from distant corners of the region.halya.jpg

guys.jpgDrivers Vasyl Mazurok and Andriy Dyachok are maintenance guys, technical coordinators and whatever else we need. They keep the almost 22-year old mobile clinics in top condition. The same is done with GoL property. There is hardly a thing they cannot do themselves. We rarely need to hire outsiders, which helps GoL to stay in budget. They both are perfectionists whether mechanics, driving or remodeling, painting, tiling, welding, metal work, wood work …. and even antiques restoration. These two guys, like the other Support Staff members, also assist GoL administration, Nick and Kerry Laper.

Manager/Translator, Nadiya Khodzinska is the humble scribe of this article. I am responsible for oral and written translation, managing GoL staff, developing MCOW traveling schedules, trouble shooting, updating the web site, public relations, and coordinating work of pro-life-centers including developing their budgets. I have been working at GoL for five short years. During this era my job became the main focus of my life. However, the Lord gave me my own “gift of life” and I will be taking maternity leave soon to care for this precious gift from God.nadya_2.jpg


The Support Staff know the work of GoL from inside. We know well the efforts which are taken by its administration and sponsors to make this organization -which helps thousands of people each year-- possible. We are thankful for paid jobs and at the same time, opportunity to glorify God by doing good work at GoL.  May God also bless you who do a good thing in supporting this mission!

Nadiya Khodzinska,
GoL Manager
Ternopil, Ukraine
May 8, 2013

Editor’s notes: The author of this article delivered a son, Bogdan (gift from God) on May 28, 2013, three months premature, weighing only two pounds. At this writing, he remains in the neonatal intensive care unit and is expected to go home in August. Please keep Nadiya and her family in your prayers.

nadiya_khodzinska_and_bogdan.jpg

Foreign based humanitarian projects should, at some point, transition to the nationals. Trustworthy, loyal staff, such as those mentioned in this article, allow GoL administration to spend additional time stateside or -- on another project. Given time, and Lord willing, Ukrainians themselves will run GoL in the future.

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Alina Konkulovska trained for and aptly took over the manager position.


ukrainian lutheran church   support staff member   word support   staff records   ground crew   
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Friday 14 June 2013 - 12:38:08         Posted by admin        

The 21st MCOW Traveling Season Opened!


As usual in April the Medical Clinic on Wheels (MCOW) started one more traveling season. The buses have already made three stops! This year the starting point was Ternopil Special School (for children with special needs) and High School #15. MCOW doctors spent two weeks there and examined all kids, teaching them how to lead a healthy way of life. Moreover, all children had a unique opportunity to hear God’s Word, because, as you remember, ULC Deaconess always travels with our clinics.

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The next stop was Brody (Lviv region) where WCOW stayed for almost the whole month of May. Not only the local citizens received medical and dental aid but the Brody district council provided free transportation for needy people from nearby villages. Therefore, they also had a chance to get professional care.

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Now the American miracle on wheels is in Radekhiv (Lviv region) where a lot of needy people are still waiting for spiritual and physical help. We are very thankful to our sponsors from the States for making this mission possible!

May God bless all of you!


children with special needs   deaconess   medical clinic   way of life   buses   
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Friday 12 April 2013 - 17:59:03         Posted by admin        

Shoe Box Gifts

It’s always so great to see the smiling faces and happy eyes of children who receive some presents. Thankfully to the coordinator of the national leadership team (NLT) "Samaritan's Purse" Sergei Kachan, our Gift of Life counseling centers managed to receive gifts for our crisis and needy clients and their children. For the first time Ukraine learned about "Samaritan's Purse" in 1995. Since then, more than 5 million Ukrainian children received the gifts from "Samaritan's Purse". This year the kids of our crisis clients also became the lucky ones to get the shoe box gifts. Our consultants already gave some gifts out which was a pleasant surprise and will give out more at Easter time (this year Ukraine celebrates Ester in May). Thank you very much to Sergei Kachan for this wonderful opportunity.

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shoe_box_gifts_3.jpgshoe_box_gifts_7.jpg


national leadership team   time ukraine   needy clients   smiling faces   ukrainian children   
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