Christmas is truly a wonderful time of the year. It is a time to look back and reflect on the goodness of God.

This was a very special time for many of us in Ukraine when we got together as families to enjoy each other and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Actually, we got together twice for Christmas, once on December 24, according to the Gregorian calendar and the other on January 7, according to the Julian calendar, as we have two Christmases in Ukraine.

I remember when I joined the ministry back in 2001. I was young with little understanding of Samaritan work.

I had no idea as to what real life in the villages of Ukraine was. I was moved by what I saw: extreme poverty, alcoholism and hopelessness. Children and teens from Vigoda were literally living in darkness, because there were no streetlights. They would meet nightly in the destroyed community center for alcohol and drug parties. For me the village life was the same as the “abomination of desolation,” as described by the prophet Daniel in Daniel 9:27.

In time we began a ministry in Vigoda. I remember the first Christmas Eve we celebrated there with a group of local kids with cup of tea and cookies and the Ben -Hur movie. Since that time those kids have grown up, the Community Center has been renovated and our ministry in the village is significantly stronger. A light now shines in a dark place.

I want personally to THANK YOU for your commitment to our work in Ukraine this past year. Many of you have given generously. Without you, this work would not be possible.

In our family we have a tradition. On Christmas Eve the elder in the family leads us in prayer and hands each of us special bread, known as Oplatek, saying: “Let it be God’s will to see each other again next year!”

Though some days have passed since we celebrated Christmas here and some of you visited the Vigoda Center this past year, I wish you a Merry Christmas and God’s blessings in the New Year!

Your friend,
Alex, National Director