Light of Love Mission

Vinogradov, Ukraine

June 2006

On June 7th, 2006, a group of four left Indianapolis, Indiana, en route to Ukraine. The group included Victor and Beverly Kubik, Katherine Rowland, and Kassie Gardner.

One of the main purposes for the trip was to visit" various LifeNets-sponsored projects: one of these was the Light of Love Mission in Vinogradov, Ukraine.

This is a partial record of the trip from Katherine Rowland’s perspective.

We made two visits to the Mission. It was at the same time enough time, and too little time: enough to see the great need (as well as the great work being done by the Polichkos); but too little time to spend with the children.

It was easy to forget how hard times are for these kids while we were in the midst of them. They were smiling, friendly, interested, and curious. They eagerly examined the photos I had brought of my own children and home, and asked a hundred questions, none of which I could understand without interpretation.

When one stood apart from the children, though, and looked out into the street, or talked to the Polichkos, every word was heartbreaking. These kids are here because they don’t have any place to go, except back to a home that might be abusive, neglectful, or just too full of children for them to be cared for. If they don’t eat here, they may get very little else—or nothing—to eat elsewhere.

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As dim as their present is, their future is even less certain. In a country of poverty and little hope, too many Ukrainian children will turn to drugs, crime, or alcohol for escape.

The Polichkos, with our help and yours, are fighting this trend. The children who come to the Light of Love Mission are fed, clothed, and most importantly, loved. The Polichkos encourage them to get an education and to stick with it, instead of dropping out for the promise of immediate (or illegal) money. They teach them about God, and instead of only teaching His love, they show it.

When they talk about their work, the words are always the same in the end: “This is not work,” says Irina Polichko. “This is joy.”

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