Tuesday 13 May 2014 - 15:23:32         Posted by admin        

The Warmest Holiday

Mother’s Day is considered to be the warmest holiday as there is no person in the whole world that would be warmer, closer and more precious than a mother. A mother is usually associated with the warmth, kindness and tender hands. 

From ancient times a woman has been surrounded by the aureola of motherhood. The vital role of a mother-woman is to give life to a little one, to save her child from all the troubles and

Mother’s Day is the international holiday celebrated in Ukraine and 23 more countries on the second Sunday in May. For the first time Ukrainian Mother’s Day was celebrated by the Union of Ukrainians in Canada in 1928. Then people all over Ukraine started to celebrate this day but in 1939 it was prohibited by the Soviets. Since 1990 Mother’s Day has been widely celebrated in Ukraine and in 1999 it became an official holiday announced by the president of Ukraine.

This year Mother’s Day was sincerely celebrated at the Ukrainian Lutheran Church in Kremenets. After the church service Sunday school visitors greeted the congregation on this warm event with the songs, poems, flowers and hugs.

GoL pro-life counselor
Nina Andreychuk
Kremenets, Ukraine

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Thursday 17 April 2014 - 14:18:00         Posted by admin        

Have a Blessed Easter!

...Just as Christ was risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life"
Romans 6:4
Wondrous works
And radiant light,
Is Jesus full of
Power and might
He died for all
That we may be free,
The sacrificial lamb
Nailed to the tree
But in God's power
And in His might
He was raised from death
To glorious life!
by M.S. Lowndes

Gift of Life team wishes you a happy and blessed Easter in Him. This year Western and Eastern dates of Easter coincide therefore we can celebrate together with our sisters and brothers in the USA. May all of us remember about the "sacrificial lamb nailed to the tree" as the poem says - not only on Easter but always.
"Khrystos Voskres!"
Christ is Risen!

"Voistyno Voskres!"
He is Truly Risen!

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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
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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
rgently needed


n point
Rarely absent

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 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.


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.


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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