Keeping Them Together As A Family
A village in Western Ukraine – Natalia and Vasyl Danilchenko both come from strong Christian families. Their tradition in western Ukraine is to work hard, worship God, and if God gives you lots of children, then you will be blessed. Today they need our help to stand strong in the face of adversity. This is their story.
The Danilchenkos have been married almost 20 years. They have 9 children, from 17-year-old Maria to 5-year-old Maxym. They are a warm and loving family living in hardship in western Ukraine near the city of Rivne. Their village home has no running water, and only two rooms for 11 people.
Two years ago the father Vasyl decided he needed to build a home for his family. Their old village farmhouse was simply too small. Vasyl poured the foundation with help from men in his church. The project came to a halt when Natalia grew ill. She had a sudden stroke. The doctors determined she had been bitten by a tick. She couldn’t speak or move. The doctors gave her no chance to live.
The local church stood in prayer for Natalia. Natalia lived. She is confined to a hospital bed or wheelchair. Vasyl works and cares for her and the 9 children with help from their church friends.
MP Family Care Coordinator – Vera
A year ago, the Mercy Projects coordinator who lives in that region heard about an 11-year-old girl in the hospital diagnosed with tuberculosis. She visited the girl—Diana Danilchenko—and asked about her family, discovering that they were believers and lived in a nearby village. Little Diana had been in and out of the hospital for more than a year and Vera wanted to learn how she could help.
You see, Vera has been a coordinator with Mercy Projects since 1997 in western Ukraine. Vera’s father spent 25 years in Soviet prisons for his faith as a pastor. When Ukraine tore itself away from the Soviet Union in 1991, her father was released from prison. Vera and her family emigrated immediately to the United States. She felt the Lord calling her, however, to return to her Ukraine.
Vera continues her story. “I was happy in the USA in California. I had everything—enough food, good Ukrainian friends. But I thought about my father and his suffering for the Lord and I knew I must return. My USA family supports me today as a missionary. Sure, I cannot get fresh fruit whenever I want it. I live in a small house owned by my brother. But if I need fresh fruit, I just pray and ask my friends. We really don’t need these things,” she said. “We just want them.”
Social Services Wants to Remove the Children
“I’ve known the Danilchenko family for more than two years,” Vera said. “We got to know one another when their daughter Diana was treated in the city of Rivne in a tuberculosis clinic. (Our church sends a team to the hospital every Monday.) Diana asked us to pray for her and her mother, so the next day I visited them in the village. Their mother is paralyzed. I knew from the Lord that we must help.”
“I saw the living conditions of this family and learned that Social Service threatened to take the children away and place them into a boarding school. The old house is too small and the children don’t have somewhere to sleep and study—only the two tiny rooms. Our church will do everything possible for them to stay together as a family.”
Finishing the New House
“When I saw this,” Vera said, “God spoke to my heart that we should build a house for this family. I prayed for this for one week and then called my brother and sister in the USA. They supported me along with other friends and we started construction. With God’s help we put in the basement, the walls, installed windows, and put in electricity. Brothers from our local church worked for free. With the help of Mercy Projects we have put in heating and gas. The new house must be finished sooner, not later,” she said.
“The family is extremely happy and cannot believe that they will live in such great conditions. We must finish the floors, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the tiles, and the plumbing before winter. And we are looking for a large freezer so the church can bring food products and have them frozen. The older daughter Maria, who is now 17, will have less problems with cooking for 11 people.”
Let’s Keep this Beautiful Family Together
Please help keep these kids together as a family. Americans partnering with Ukrainians to keep kids in a loving family—what a beautiful picture of God’s Kingdom. Please call or mail your gift quickly. Our support is needed urgently as winter is approaching in Ukraine and the house must be finished very soon. Gifts of any size are welcome and appreciated. Vera thinks about $10,000 – $15,000 will finish the project.