What does a Ukrainian residency look like?

This is what a Ukrainian residency document looks like!

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How do I know?  Because now I have one!  After beginning the application process in February of 2014, I finally received mine Friday, April 10th.  I owe many thanks to all those who have been praying for me over the last year.  This residency is good for one year and it can be renewed each year, which is supposed to be a lot easier than starting the whole process over?

I have so many more exciting things to share as well, but praise the Lord I have my residency and can remain in Ukraine year round now. My Visa was set to expire on the 17th, so if I didn’t receive my residency I would have had to leave the country again!

Well, I haven’t updated in a while and a lot of exciting things have happened.  First of all, we celebrated Easter.  The Ukrainian calendar uses the Orthodox date for Easter, so we celebrated a week after Easter in the US.  I had the opportunity to plan three Easter celebrations.  One for the Boy’s House orphanage, the second for the children from our camp and other children from the Cerebral Palsy center in BIla Tserkva, and a third celebration for children at Voloshka, an orphanage for young toddlers.

For each celebration, the children were able to dye Easter Eggs. Which was a new thing for the kids.  In Ukraine, they paint Easter eggs, but they don’t use the color dyes like we do in the USA.  20150409_111633100_1329100_1303  Photos from all three events!!!

We did a lot more than just color eggs.  We did an Easter drama for the children.  We sang lots of Christian camp songs.  We did pin the tail on the bunny.  Apparently, they don’t have the Easter bunny in Ukraine, but they had fun anyway!

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I shared an Easter message with the children and then all the children at all three events received gifts from Samaritan’s Purse.  The kids loved their gifts!!

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20150416_112736I have so many amazing photos!!!  It was an incredible time with the children.  To be able to spend time with these kids, bring joy to their lives and share about Christ’s love for them is such a pleasure for me.

We have even more good news!  Ascension Lutheran Church in Waterloo, gave their Lenten offerings toward shipping for 200 used wheelchairs from Joni and Friends.  Their gift of over $7,000 was a huge blessing toward our wheelchair center and our ministry to the disabled here in Ukraine.  I continue to be amazed by their generosity.  They and the other churches that support God’s Hidden Treasures bless the people of Ukraine in so many ways.  I would like to also thank Ascension Lutheran Church in Ames, Iowa, Ascension Lutheran Church in Ranchos Palos Verdes, (that’s a lot of Ascensions!) St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Elk Grove, Prince of Peace Lutheran in Evansdale, and all the churches that have helped support my ministry here in Ukraine.

Our ministry to the disabled and elderly in Ukraine is going well. I’m amazed by the work of our staff at God’s HIdden Treasures.  So many have received wheelchairs, walkers, canes.  But right now there are many pressing needs for people.  So many of the people we work with, both children with disabilities and the elderly, lived on fixed incomes. With the plummeting value of the Ukrainian dollar, prices are going up rapidly but their income is fixed.  Nita purchased a bagged salad at the grocery store for 16.8 Grivna (Ukrainian dollars) one week, and the next week the same salad was 64.5 Grivna.  The rise in prices puts a strain on so many of the families we are working with.  We have begun to purchase food staples like flour, cooking oil, and other things to take to families in need.

We are also beginning to write all the needs we see when we are out visiting homes and in the city and the surrounding villages.  We hope to take that list of everyone and their needs to local churches to see if each church could help a few families.  Here are just two examples that Nita Hanson, the founder of God’s Hidden Treasures wrote about in an email last week”

“One of our women  who was diagnosed with diabetes as a young child  has been on insulin which comes from Europe.  Up until recently, the government had that medicine on their approved list for them to pay for.  Now it is no longer on the list and she has been told, “Go to the drugstore and buy it.”  She ended up in the hospital as they couldn’t afford to buy it, and they gave her the insulin while she was there and then sent her home (so she could end up in the hospital again???).  She came to us asking for help to buy the insulin which will cost close to $25 per month.  I gave her money for this month – I am hoping that she will get a sponsor quickly otherwise I don’t know what we will do as this is not an isolated problem.
Our prayer ministry went to see a man who is dying of MS.  He was laying on what I call a futon sofa which is opened.  He is wasting away and has many bed sores.  The futon is so bad that, when I sat down next to him, I was poked with a spring.  His wife has diabetes and is going blind, plus her blood pressure is going out of control.  His pension used to be worth $200 – now it is worth less than $50..  They don’t have enough money for food, much less for medicine and money to pay for utilities.  And he said, “if only I could go outside in my wheelchair, but I don’t have anyone to carry me and my wheelchair down the stairs”.  My poor Tonya had to leave for a few minutes as she broke down in tears.”

There are so many needs right now in Ukraine.  Please pray that we would be able to help as many as we can through God’s Hidden Treasures.  Please pray that the churches we visit would be responsive in reaching out to help families in need, especially in the villages.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support.  If you would like to support God’s Hidden Treasures or find more information you can visit http://www.godshiddentreasures.org   If you are interested in sponsoring a child in Ukraine between $25 -$50 dollars a month to help with medicine and medical needs, email me at ukrainepastor@gmail.com  For those who have been supporting my ministry in Ukraine who send checks directly to God’s Hidden Treasures we have a new address.

God’s Hidden Treasures
3321 SW 39th St.
Ocala, FL 34474
Attn: Vicki Ferguson

If you would like to support me as a missionary in Ukraine, you can write a check to God’s Hidden Treasures with Pastoral Ministry in the memo and send it to the address above.

I have to end this post with a selfie!!  This Bogdan (right), his twin Yaroslav (middle) and me at the Easter celebration!

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