Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Melitopol, Part 2

Blog #4
March 7, 2017

Melitopol, Part 2

Father Peter, whose acquaintance we first made several years ago in connection with the restoration of the former Schoensee Mennonite Church, has his home base in Melitopol.  Here he serves his own parish and oversees several church plant projects in nearby villages.  In addition, he is assisting individuals with addiction issues.  His staff serves  60 to 80 homeless people with a daily soup kitchen lunch.  His infectious smile and warm personality exude the compassion he has for his people, especially those who are dealing with tragic circumstances.  Mennonite Centre will continue to offer financial support.
Following our visit with Father Peter in the morning of Feb. 23, we also met with Tima, a former Mennonite Centre scholarship recipient and graduate of the Melitopol Agricultural University.  Good jobs, even for good workers with a masters degree in agronomy, are difficult to obtain in Ukraine.  He would love to work on a farm in Canada.  
In the meantime, he would like to develop a small piece of property 
on the Sea of Azov that his father purchased a number of years ago.  Tima has already built a small hostel there and has ambitions to expand his services with a small take-out pizzeria with delivery
along with a few patio tables.  He is also providing taxi service with his own vehicle.

With much more limited access to the beaches of Crimea since Russia’s annexation in 2014, the Sea of Azov has become a popular vacation spot.  We are exploring ways to offer some start-up assistance for him.   Unfortunately, the early spring thaw softened the yard enough for him to get stuck in the mud.  A friendly neighbor with a sturdy tow-rope came to the rescue with only a set of ruts and a dirty car to show for it in the end!

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