Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Introducing Pam Nelson

Dear Friends and Family,
We are seeing accelerated changes in Ukraine and in ministry. For many, it’s an exciting time, for others they just seem to endure life as political unfairness and social ugliness usher in a generation of "New Ukrainians." How then are we to respond to the challenges of those who have no hope for "things to get better"—for them?
"Always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our toil is not in vain in the Lord"
(1 Corinthians15: 58)
When Natasha delivered Karina nearly seven years ago, her government provision each month at that time was 20 grvn. ($4) for the first few months and then went to 40 grvn ($8) until her child was three year old. Now the government says, "You will receive 50 thousand grievna ($10,000 for a third child), the second child, 16 thousand grvn ($3,200), and the first child, 8 thousand grvn. ($1,600). Can you imagine what that sounds like to most Ukrainians; who still have incomes that are barely enough to provide for the most basic needs of their family? Sadly, several of our CPC client’s are being motivated by this potential income. They have even said, "They will pay me to have another baby." We are glad for changes that encourage mommies to choose life and keep their babies out of the baby houses and orphanages. However, I am deeply concerned by false incentives that lure our precious mommies to "get pregnant" to "get paid". We hope and pray that families of Ukraine are not deceived by provisional promises for pregnancy as a means to acquire a better life, but will see every pregnancy as an entrusted gift from Jehovah-Jireh.
Our weekly outreach to the infant/baby hospital for orphans is changing. We are glad and thank God for fewer babies, but sad for us because we miss being with them. The reason for fewer babies is uncertain. Let us hope that it is the result of more adoptions and fewer unplanned pregnancies and abandonment, and not an increase of infant sacrifice. Because of more and more big budget, international charitable sponsorship conditions have improved for this hospital, as well as for many of the nation’s orphanages and sanitariums. There are hot water heaters, new cribs and sinks, fresh paint, flooring, windows, furniture, linens, pampers and newer up-to-date equipment. It’s clear to us that our contribution each week of a few diapers and a bag or two of baby clothing, is no longer seen as meeting a need and therefore, doors could soon close for us. Since Ukraine’s popularity for charitable need has exploded; orphanages, baby houses, TB sanitariums and invalid homes are being saturated by sponsorship… PTL. Sadly, the administrators of these organizations can pick and choose whose aid they want to receive. For some simply will not be bothered with minimal donations or people who just want to love, serve and/or give of them selves to these little ones. Our Bear Child staff and CPC volunteers will continue to serve regularly at the orphan baby hospital, and share Jesus with the few babies, the nurses, administrators and care givers that we have built relationships with over the years, for as long as they will have us. They continue to embrace us each week with smiles and hugs saying, "We were waiting for you."
Our Material Support program continues to provide clients with clothing, diapers, coats, shoes, crèmes, infant food and formula, small toys, client transportation and money for medicines and vitamins. This week we received 80 kilos of much needed children’s clothing, toys and other supplies from Scottish Soccer Fans. The Scots visited our CPC last month and shopped for diapers, wipes, crèmes, baby food and formula. Their last shipment of clothing, a few weeks ago was held by customs in a rat infested warehouse long enough for holes to be eaten in many pieces of the clothing. It took several long visits, a ton of paper work, endless phone calls, back and forth to this and that office, before the "old soviet" way of doing things was satisfied. Yet, Governmental procedures and processes are changing rapidly day to day, sometimes moment to moment, causing these timely delays and frustrations, on our part and for the state worker.
Second Hand stores are popping up all over the city, and as recent as one year ago there was only one or two. We are thankful, that a few of our clients are now able to buy affordable used clothing, but still see a need to come to us for diapers and Jesus. However, with the ever increasing cost of monthly utilities many are concerned that their slow to increase, incomes will go towards the higher cost of living.
Last month my pastor and friend, Mike Pratt shared the good news that he and his family will leave Ukraine in May to return to America. Mike and Michelle Pratt and their family have served in Dnipro since 2000. Mike will hand the church over to Vitaly Perigov, a Ukrainian. Vitaly will begin to shepherd the flock as Pastor of Calvary of Dnepropetrovsk in March. Others from our team of missionaries have already gone; Diana Faulk left in September 2006 (IN), Wes and Wendy Hoff left the first of December (IN), Shane and Shenya Fitzgerald said their good-byes last week (NM).
I will follow their examples and my Shepherd’s lead and return to the land of my father, to my own country to provide a presence for my family. My mission to Ukraine began seven-years ago when I came to serve along side the Pratt Family, as they did a church plant. Please, know that there are waves of emotion as I prepare for the completion of my time in Ukraine. It is a hard thing for me to let go of my Ukrainian "babies".
There is still a work to be done, a mission to fulfill before I leave sometime late summer or early fall. I am grateful for answered prayer for more laborers; Bethany Zull will serve for a three month internship this May to help with our CPC transition. Please, know that I am certain of God’s timing to turn things over to nationals. However, details are still unclear as to what direction our CPC and staff are to turn. You can anticipate with us to hear clearly more details in future updates as they are revealed by God. Decision making has been a straight and narrow hard place for me. Like Moses, I’ve been hidden by God in the cleft of a rock, weeping with emotion, fearful and a few sleepless nights, as His glory passes by.
Please, know how much I love you all for never ceasing to pray for us. More than ever, I covet your prayers for the many faith challenges and changes coming to us all in 2008. Thank you with my whole heart for always abounding in your love, financial support and prayers for me and us in Ukraine.
Christina, Natasha, and Pamela—CPC staff
Forever in His love,

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