Reaching Eastern Europe With Christmas Love - Hope 103.2

Reaching Eastern Europe With Christmas Love

Mission Without Borders is helping struggling families in Eastern Europe with practical help and the message of God's love, with Operation Christmas Love.

By Clare BruceWednesday 4 Nov 2015Social JusticeReading Time: 3 minutes

In Eastern Europe, Christmas is not an easy time, with war and poverty making everyday life a struggle for many families.

One widow in Moldova named Nataliya, who lives with her children in a two-room clay house, found herself using the excuse that “Santa doesn’t visit the homes that don’t have electricity”, in order to explain why they didn’t receive gifts at Christmas.

Nataliya and her children in Moldova

Nataliya and her children in Moldova

But Christmas got a little easier last year, for Nataliya and other families like hers, thanks to support from the Mission Without  Borders Family to Family (F2F) sponsorship program.

One family touched by this program is Tetyana Nazarevych and her three children in Ukraine.

Tetyana, 27, is single mother, a victim of domestic violence, abandoned by her husband and raising three small children alone. Together they live in a one-roomed house, without gas, electricity or a bathroom.

Hope In The Form Of ‘Operation Christmas Love’

Tetyana Nazarevych and her three children in the Ukraine

Tetyana Nazarevych and her three children in the Ukraine

Tetyana’s Government allowance only just covers her family’s basic needs.

But with the help of four sponsors from Australia, last year Tetyana and her children received their first ever Operation Christmas Love (OCL) parcel.

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Their parcel contained basic ingredients such as oil, grains, buckwheat, rice, pasta, canned fish and meat, tea, coffee and sweets. Although the items are simple, for families that are struggling, it’s a generous gift that helps to make Christmas special.

Tetyana was overwhelmed with gratitude after receiving her parcel from Mission Without Borders last Christmas.

“I am so happy,” she wrote. “I will prepare a traditional Ukrainian meal for us all and we will share it with my mother on Christmas Day.

“It is such a miracle that human kindness and generosity indeed has no borders! I struggle everyday trying to raise my three children on my own.  The war in our country has increased prices on everything and we find it very hard to survive. Your support means so much to us.”

Reaching Struggling Families Of Eastern Europe

The Mission Without Borders Operation Christmas Love program is a little different to the “Operation Christmas Child” initiative run by Samaritan’s Purse, as OCL provides not just a child but a whole family with resources for the Christmas season.

In addition, OCL is particularly targeting families in need in Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine, Bulgaria and Moldova.

Sharing The Love Of Jesus In Bulgaria

The Ylievi family of Gotse in Bulgaria

The Ylievi family of Gotse in Bulgaria

Another family touched by the OCL program is the Ylievi family of the Bulgarian town of Gotse. The Ylievis live in a two-room house with no fridge or stove, no mattresses, surviving on a meagre income from vegetable-picking and labouring. Much of that is set aside to buy firewood for the cold winter months.

Pastor Yosifa from the Evangelical Baptist Church in that town was able to deliver this family a box of food supplies to help them enjoy Christmas a little more.

They rejoiced over simple items like sugar and flour and used them to bake a pie.

Simple Gifts Bringing Hope

A family in Eastern Europe receiving help through the Operation Christmas Hope program

A family in Eastern Europe receiving help through the Operation Christmas Hope program

The family’s eldest son Ognian said he couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten a fresh piece of bread with butter, while five year old David went straight for the chocolate.

“They just couldn’t believe the amount of consideration that was shown to them, which they thought as such an honour,” said Pastor Yosifa.

“Afterwards I shared with them the Good News about Jesus Christ. They asked me to pray for them. The words moved Nelly (the mother) and she started weeping.”

Mrs Ylievi asked Pastor Yosifa to come back and visit and pray with them again, saying “Your visit is not by chance, God takes care of people like us, and He sent you.”

To support the Mission Without Borders Operation Christmas Hope program see the MWB website.

Children in Eastern Europe having fun in the snow as they receive their Operation Christmas Love parcels.

Children in Eastern Europe having fun in the snow as they receive their Operation Christmas Love parcels.