The Hearts of Love Center was founded by Lena Yuschenko in 2005 to offer ministry to children with special needs and their families. They accept all children regardless of their handicap. The public schools often refer children to them and about 55 children attend weekly.
The center receives no government support and relies completely on our faithful supporters. Lena, the director, is the chief cheerleader, family counselor, and prayer warrior. Lena writes below about their special trip to the Black Sea. This immense undertaking, during the time of Covid, was deemed by some to be risky yet she felt compelled this was what God desired.
“Dear Jeff and Mercy Projects,
“Most of the children, and their parents, could not swim and had never seen the sea. Combine these thoughts with the coronavirus, and terrible pictures were drawn in my mind. I wanted to stop everything. But in the depths of my heart, where the waves of anxiety and doubt did not reach, there was peace and tranquility.”
“Oksana 14 years old (autism, schizophrenia) learned to swim underwater, and she never swam in the sea or river before. She lowered her head into the water and moving her arms and legs swam in the right direction. Despite the fact that no one taught her, she felt comfortable in the water. Her mother Alyona cried just watching her, thanking God for this miracle. Before our trip, she had a vocabulary of 10-15 words and communicated in one word. At the sea, she began to logically express her desires, building a sentence of 3-4 words. This had never happened in 14 years of her life. She can now briefly express her wish and her condition (‘Oksana is happy’ or ‘Oksana wants to sleep on the bed’). Everyone who knows Oksana thinks of this as a miracle.”
A hug from 12-Year-old Darynka
“Darynka (12 years old, autism), closely monitors her personal space. She does not allow anyone but her mother to be close to her. This is a problem because in public or other crowded places Darynka becomes hysterical. She was afraid of anything new, and her personal space being violated was always a reason for her hysteria. On the third day of her stay by the sea, Darynka approached me and hugged me with both hands. I could not hold back my tears. It was so obvious that only the Lord could break this barrier between the child and the world around her.
Andrew Has Epilepsy
Andrew is our oldest pupil, 22. He has a severe form of epilepsy and was watching the children swim in the sea with fear and unspeakable desire. We offered his mother help and put a large life-buoy ring on him. Andrew was very afraid; it was his first time in the water. But when he moved his legs and relaxed and swam a little, happiness knew no bounds. During his entire stay at the sea, Andrew did not have epileptic seizures, although at home he has several each day.
Lena Is Grateful For Your Sponsorship
Thank you for supporting us. I wish you could see the happy eyes of our children and their parents. The Lord is a God of miracles and we often see His wonderful power in our work. This is probably the greatest happiness in life – to be useful to our Lord!”
Your loving support provides them with therapy and love, and just as importantly, it provides their mothers with emotional support and respite.