Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bible Orphan Ministry: Shoes and clothes

Bible Orphan Ministry: Shoes and clothes: With big burden and sadness i`m writing this post. I told you about orphans in camp before but not all... Because i was going to tell yo...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reaching families in Ternopil

I was invited to speak with families and professionals in the wonderful town of Ternopil, approximately 8 hours by train from Kiev. Upon arriving in Kiev we were met Sasha and Olya Skripak who informed us that a driver was waiting to take us to Ternopil where they were awaiting my arrival to present a seminar and to visit the Centre "BebiKo". Pastor Vladimir Klostisinu, the father of a little boy who has hydorcephalus, had attended the conference in Kiev in January and was anxious for the staff and families of his region to have the oppoprtunity to hear it as well. Fortunately I had brought some of the conference materials with me, and had my Presentation on Powerpoint so I was as prepared as I could be after 14 hours on a plane! The Ukraine boosts the richest topsoil and something like 90% of the world's topsoil which means the roads have no sub base and were VERY heaved and the 12+ hour road trip felt like an endless  roller coaster ride! Once in Ternopil we stayed at a Christian Youth Hostel (Youth With a Mission) and were treated by the fine hospitality of Dima Amit and staff. The next morning Vladimir met us first thing and took us to the BebiKo Centre where  I met with children, staff and families. Olga the director had also attended the conference in January as was very proud to show me her center!
This little guy had no language and was reportedly aggressive and the staff had concerns that he may have autism as well. After demonstrating a few times how to get him to gesture for 'my turn' he surprised all of us by gesturing spontaneously in order to gain the desired object! I could not have orchestrated this demonstration better if I paid an actor! In the evening I would have the opportunity to explain at my seminar how exactly sign language/gestures helps to facilitate language comprehension and allows the child to express their wants and needs thus eliminating some negative behaviors that develop out of frustration! Olya the director and Teacher explained to us that the BebiKo Centre is the only "Baby School" in the area and is in need of a larger facility, and one that is handicapped accessible as it is on a second floor with no elevator and only has one classroom, a small storage area, a bathroom and an office! The school is in desperate need of funds for a larger building in order to accomadate more children and therapeutic equipment and materials. They currently pay the equivalent of $450 per month! We would like to help them get a larger center, one that has multiple rooms for therapies and classes. Currently the children only are able to come for one hour per day in order to accomadate all the children who need it. If you would like to help by donating to this cause, please contact me at Your donations will be tax deductible.

Water jet therapy
Salt 'cave' for sinus/asthma treatement
After visiting the center, Vladimir took us to see an outpatient treatment center/facility where we received a tour and learned of some therapies not readily available here in America. The first is water therapy and yes we have it here as well but they also use a variety of mineral treatments and water 'jets'. I'm not quite sure how it works but thought it might feel wonderful for my aching back! The children also were able to go in a pool with their parent who was instructed by a therapist. I was happy to see that they also had more of the therapies that we typically have here in the states with children working on core strength on balls and mats. Children with motor impairments such as cerebral palsy work on adult size equipment and they are in need of smaller childsize equipment. The Director here was very excited to share with us her hippotherapy (equine therapy) program which we unfortunately did not have time to visit. They currently have 1 horse and 1 set of equipment. Pastor Vladimir is hoping to move the program to the center of the town park to gain more awareness for it and the children it benefits. They are in need of funds and equipment in order to expand the program. They were also very excited about their new 'sensory room' which I am seeing duplicated throughout the Ukraine. Basically it is a room with mats, lights, soft sounds, various scents, etc. which is often used here for the children with significant multiple disabilities and/or autism.

After leaving there, Vladimir brought us to his Church's Ministry Center for children with special needs that they are building on donated land. Equipment is already being collected to share with families as  needed. Our ministry hopes to be able to provide them with specific equipment this fall when we send a cargo shipment of donated equipment. Vlad shared with us that the town of Ternopil had been used to hold arms during the cold wars and that over 80 'missiles' were found on the property and removed during the building. it definitely made us a little cautious as we walked outdoors!

Equipment to share!
We finally had the pleasure of meeting Vladimir's son and his his wife Olga who we all voted as making the BEST BORSCHT in the Ukraine (and it wasn't just because we were hungry! It was really good!)!

We had just enough time to go back to the YWAM hostel to find approximately 30 parents and professionals waiting for my seminar to begin. I had hoped to shower and change before hand, but there was no time. Fortunately, my Power Point came right up and I had a wonderful translator whom I had met earlier at the BebiKo Centre. I presented on the use of Early Intervention Techniques with an emphasis on alternative communication techniques. I also briefly addressed the Child with Physical Limitations and positioning techniques but a large part of the presentation came at the end when the group had the opportunity to ask questions. I thank God for the stamina that He provided me that day as I was able to remain alert and awake to answer questions right up to the time we exited for the train! What a fulfilling Mission in Ternopil- I can't wait to return. IMG_7407

I was presented a tradtional painted egg with the town of Ternopil painted on it as a thank you gift and rememberance by Olga (on my left) with Yulia, a translator (on my right).IMG_7421
Boy do I look exhausted after day 1 of the Mission! I slept really well on the train ride  back to Kiev which actually took about 10 hours!