Vinnitsa June 24-27
Truly, for me, Vinnitsa is a second home. This, my 35th visit to Ukraine has included so much time and joy in Vinnitsa….working alongside physicians and dear friends Drs. Sergei Bolyukh and Irina Stefannenko and families and individuals we have been able to support in various humanitarian realms.
On this Saturday, we had a wonderful luncheon with families including Lyudmila Sinyavskaya and her husband Frank. Lyudmila had her mitral valve replaced at Centennial Hospital in Nashville in May of 1997 and spent the summer with us. Also present was Sveta Panchuk and her husband Maxim with their two kids and another on the way…Sveta spent the 10th grade at Centennial High School in Franklin, TN and like Lyudmila, joined us for a week in the Adirondacks at Camp Canaras in the summer. After the luncheon, Sveta and Maxim took me to see her parents and the new home Maxim and Sveta built outside Vinnitsa.
Also at the luncheon were Dr. Marina Sizova and her husband Sergei and son Alexander….they are involved in the Messianic Jewish movement in Vinnitsa and help many people.
Galya Schpok and son Pasha and daughter Oksena were with us for lunch…and Oksena is now a Dental Nurse, and son Pasha’s affliction with cerebral palsy has long ago stabilized with him walking with crutches and communicating better than ever.
Lastly, we were joined by Anna Matichuk, now a University student in interior design, and her grandmother Olga Matichuk….widow of Grigoriy, who I had the joy of helping medically for years and through whom I learned of the need for Ukraine to adopt a uniform use of ACE inhibitor drugs in systolic heart failure…a discovered omission in their pharmacological approach to heart failure which helped Grigoriy, and others over time as they adopted some protocols I shared with local and regional doctors.
On Sunday, it was a visit to the Vinnitsa Nazarene Church service followed by a luncheon with Head pastor Roman Lebedyev and Associate Pastor Oleg Kuz. Oleg and his wife Irina and kids and the family of Regional Nazarene leader Scott Rainey are moving to Lviv in July and will start a church in Lviv. I am excited for them. As with the Vinnitsa Nazarene Church, I am sure they will reach out to drug-addicted people and alcoholics among all others…offering and setting up Detox and Rehab Centers. It was at such a Center run by the Vinnitsa Nazarene Church that I first met Oleg 10 years ago, when he was a patient. Amazing man, transformed by faith in Christ and with a heart for his people beyond any norm.
That night I was taken to Nemia, to visit the Foster Home overlooking the Moldovan border, of Archana and Ruslan Tkachuk. Their ministry, currently with 12 kids, is “Raising Hope Ukraine”. You can Google it and learn much about a very precious ministry of true human rescue.
On Monday the 27th it was back to Vinnitsa for meetings at the Hemodialysis Center where colleagues from DCI in Nashville have previously helped and where they now are offering to send 15-20 refurbished precious dialysis machines.
As well, we visited the new and only Hospice in Vinnitsa, a project of Dr. Sergei, the Staregorod Hospital and the Vinnitsa Nazarene Church. Inspirational to see, and to support this effort.
Then, another overnight train from Vinnitsa to Odessa, where we met up with our full team for presentations on the 29th after touring Odessa on the 28th.