Reflections on the past 3 days...
12 June, 2016
The Chalice Ukraine Mission Team touches down softly on the runway at Lviv International Airport as evening begins to settle on the horizon. The enthusiastic team members are greeted by an exuberant crowd of children singing songs and presenting them the traditional Ukrainian welcome of bread and salt. But an even greater surprise is in store for them – hidden from sight until the following day. Among the greeting party is Volodia – to all superficial appearances a 29-year old husband, father of two, and successful professional. Tomorrow it will be revealed that this well-spoken, thoughtful young man is none other than the little boy who came to the Chalice Lviv site as the first sponsored child in 1999, treading a path of hope to be followed by thousands after him.
13 June, 2016
Yet another hearty greeting awaits the Chalice Mission Team at the Pochaiv Sponsor Site in Lviv (the operational centre). Three mothers of sponsored children give stirring testimony to the powerful changes brought about in the lives of their families through sponsorship. One relates that following the untimely death of her husband, she was left to bring up 11 children on the meagre salary of a cleaning woman. Chalice support enabled her to pay off her debts, and substantially improve the living conditions for her family. Another grateful mother explains that following the loss of her husband she fell ill, and returned from hospital in a disabled condition with three small children, finding herself in a state of desperation. Her two daughters were accepted into the sponsorship program, and with Chalice’s help, one of her girls recently graduated high school with honours, while the other is already pursuing a successful career. She concluded by stressing that in a large and often impersonal world, Chalice convinced her that she is not alone, and she feels that the Pochaiv site is actually a large family. How grateful we are to be members of this loving family!
14 June, 2016
Time to get to work! The team heads out from its temporary base in Lutsk in the morning to the local school in the Rokhyni region. Training is delivered in groups for first aid and addictions support. Mission Team members pick up buckets, washcloths, paint brushes and cleaners, and begin to scrub floors, windows, and doors, and paint play structures in the kindergarten playground. Teachers and students pause in amazement and repeatedly give expression to their wonder – “How is it, that total strangers care for us this much?”
...and now to see what June 15 will bring!