Since the completion of the Missionary efforts of 2011 College Age Mission Team of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in Puhachiv orphanage at the beginning of August, the work of the Team did not conclude only with a visit to one orphanage in Zhytomyr region. From August 13-20, the eight team members, under the leadership of His Grace Bishop Daniel and Olia Coffee traveled to Znamyanka orphanage in order to complete their missionary activities for 2011 year of our Lord.
In the past ten years, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in cooperation with Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund has hired 8 teachers- rehabilitation specialists to work in the orphanage, which has made a huge impact on the mobility of many children. In addition, a number of children have felt the impact of the presence and usage of adaptive equipment that allows handicapped children to move around freely.
However, the destinies of the children at the Znamyanka orphanage are much brighter than children in other Ukrainian orphanages thanks to the dedicated efforts of the UOC of the USA’s Orphanage Adoption Program and the hardworking efforts of the orphanage’s director Tetiana Ivanivna Valko and her staff.
This year’s Team spent over a week at this particular orphanage sponsoring and participating in physical, emotional and educational programs for the staff and the children of Znamyanka orphanage. Even though the weather in the Kirovohrad region did not cooperate this year, due to daily rain storms; however, the Mission Team of the Church found plenty of work and projects to sponsor. From sponsoring (buying) and unloading hundreds of kilograms of meat for the nutritional program to murals paintings on the walls of the hallways of the orphanage – the Team presented itself ready to work tirelessly in order to improve the living conditions of numerous children of the orphanage.
On Wednesday afternoon, August 17, 2011 the Team traveled to the orphanage’s cemetery, where His Grace Bishop Daniel, assisted by Fr. Steven Masliuk and Fr. Vasyl Sendeha served a Memorial Lytia for all of the deceased children of the orphanage that are buried at the hollow grounds of the cemetery. In his remarks the bishop stated that the Teams ministry also extends to the children that are buried at the cemetery, who might have never felt a loving embrace of an individual during their earthy life. Later that day, the halls of Znamyanka orphanage were filled with the prayerful chanting, as the bishop, assisted by clergy served the Holy Unction service for the children of the orphanage.
As the final days of the Mission Team’s ministry approached, the staff and the children of the orphanage expressed their desire to welcome the Mission Team of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA back at the orphanage during the month of December, as the Church considers to commission missionaries for the Winter Mission Trip, honoring the ministry of Holy Wonderworker Nicholas.
2011 Mission Team Concludes Visit to Znamyanka Orphanage! - 08/20/112011 Mission Team Concludes Its Visit to Znamyanka Orphanage!