Today is the BIG DAY. It's the day around which this entire trip to Europe has been planned. The Twentieth Anniversary of the Revival Centre. It’s an emotional day for all the hard workers and people who have known each other for two decades. We’re in the mix of them as I have been involved with the founders of this center since before it opened.
I first heard about the founders of the Centre at the Feast of Tabernacles in the United Kingdom in 1995 when I met surgeon Maurice Frohn
When I first started visiting Chernihev in 1996 the city had Geiger counter device that resembled time and temperature displays
In the morning Colin, Bev and I walked from Dr. P’s apartment to the Centre. It’s less than ten minute’s to walk. Events start at 11 am when special guests such as the Ambassador of Great Britain, Provincial Governor, representatives from the Parliament and high ranking medical leaders will come by and recognize the work of the Centre and Dr. Pasichnyk. What a job he’s done!
I walked around the Centre one more time stopping by Beverly Hall that was named after Beverly Kubik in her honor two years ago. LifeNets provided the financing for this facility for physical therapy, massage and exercise
Anticipating either heat or rain, a tent-like shelter was provided by a local business for the guests attending the event.
The Chernihev Province Governor Valerie Kulich arrived. Anticipation grows for the arrival of the Ambassador from the United Kingdom. SHE arrives. It is Judy Gough. She appears rather casual and very friendly.
The program begins with short speeches praising the Centre and the visionaries and workers who have made this a top model Centre of 150 such rehabilitation centers for children in Ukraine
He and his wife Natalia run the Centre with extraordinary competence and vision. They expect others to share their vision and get with their program. Those who don’t are not welcome to be part of the team. Those with them, love him. You can see it in all the workers. Turnover of employees at the Centre is low. Most have worked there for more than ten years with some going back to the original staff of 25 from the beginning in 1996. There are now 160 employees in "Revival."
Some speeches talk about all the unfortunate circumstances Ukraine has gone through with the nuclear disaster, economy and Russian agitation. Yet, there is a resoluteness to go on and be firm in determining their own course
Judy Gough, the British Ambassador gives a wonderful speech talking about disability in her own family and her appreciation to be working in Ukraine. She has a three-year old daughter with her in Kiev. She is very intelligent and quick. Bev and I were privileged to speak with her at the reception following. She is a wonderful lady. She had previously been Ambassador to Georgia and lived in Tbilisi.
The Governor, Valerie Kulich also gave a very appreciated speech. The Center is widely known in not only the Chernihev province, but through all of Ukraine and officials speak very knowingly about it. He looks like New Jersey Chris Christie and has a smile similar to his, but is not as rough in his speech.
One of the noted guests was red-haired Khakov geneticist, Elena Herechanina
Part of the program was giving out special awards. Bev and I were privileged to receive one of the special awards from the Provincial Governor. We also received special recognition for working with the Chernobyl disaster by being given a 30 year medal stating “Service to Chernobyl.” This was done by Anatolij (can’t remember last name) from the Union of Chernobyl of Ukraine. He was talkative with us. He works with the Chernobyl firefighter veterans who worked to stop the burning at the plant. There were 17,500 from the Chernihev province and half have already died prematurely.
After the program that lasted about one and a half hours with more speeches by medical leaders from around Ukraine, we had a brief run through of some of the buildings for the benefit of the Ambassador. Then we took part in the “forchette”, which is an upscale buffet of finger food, champagne and wine
Colin Kubik is continually taking photos. So many have come to me praising him and his one-year stay here in Chernihev. He really left a great mark in service, learning Russian as well as Ukrainian languages and having a big heart towards the kids and the staff.
Some of the old city Council members came. We recognize each other from former trips here, fellow friends Volodymer and Oleh. Both white-haired.
Then Bev and I walked back to the apartment to rest a bit. A big evening is planned with a staff party and program. But, we needed some rest from the intense tempo of celebration.
At 5 pm sharp we went back to the Center where another program began. First, the speeches that basically say the same thing over and over by various people. All want to say nice things and they are well-deserved, for sure
Then there was a variety show program! It was great. It was like Ambassador Bible College’s Variety Show at our annual fundraiser for LifeNets. One of the highlights was Colin Kubik’s Ukrainian dance with choreographer teacher Natasha. We witnessed and videoed it live.
Then the staff put on a few numbers that were really entertaining and talented. Katya, the musician was a hit.
Then there were more speeches. They included the group from the United Kingdom that has been working here for 20 years, as well, with convoy after convoy who spoke of humanitarian aid for the Centre and the Province. They are an amazing group of people who have done great things here. Some have made 40 trips to the area and have supplied so many needs that have been used so well.
We were asked to make short speeches as well…of course we did
In my speech, I recounted my many-years association with Dr. P and his wife Natalia. I said that I wanted to turn praise in another direction. I stated how it’s been Providential how we came together through a surgeon in the UK. Then coming to this area together and being here right at the right time to find ways to help. Then, finding ways to send containers to the Centre. I quoted how the Kingdom of God starts as a mustard seed and compared to how we started so small, it has grown to what it is today. I also quoted from Philippians how the work God begins He will finish, and I applied it to the Providential beginnings here and how it has been blessed. All the credits so far had been secular and that is OK, but I personally feel that aspects of our work were miraculous and helped by a Power bigger than us.
The program went on for over 3 hours!
Then we went downstairs to the dining room where everyone feasted on more of the finger foods from earlier in the day and socialized
It was a big day. I was going to edit some videos, but was more tired than I realize and went to bed.
Tomorrow, we will go visit the Governor (the one who looks like Chris Christie) and then to the airport for Amsterdam.
One more thing. The Center here has been helping with children from the war-torn Donetsk and Lugansk regions that are under Russian occupation. There are currently 60 children (out of the 200) there now and more than 400 have been helped since the war a few years ago. I really applaud the work of the Center to help and share.
The Big Day in Chernihev
Thursday, June 23, 2016