It had been four long years since Alex Brzhezitskyy, our national director, had visited our SMU Headquarters in Portland, OR.

The visit could not have come at a more-timely and important phase in the development of our ministry. Founded 25 years ago, the work has recently exploded as we have entered into another phase in our development. This demands we make significant changes.

The purpose of Alex’s visit was threefold:

First, to become acquainted with Quickbooks in order to streamline our book keeping system in Ukraine. Second, to participate in the development of a strategic plan of the Vigoda Project, our most recent undertaking. And third, to work out the details of the implementation of a new leadership team to eventually replace the present leaders.

From our point of view, all three goals and objectives of Alex’s 10-day visit were accomplished.

“Quickbooks,” Alex said, “is a system of financial management used in the US. I worked with Tim Miller to better understand how it works and to be able to communicate it to our staff in the field as we implement the system in Ukraine. We’ve had a good accounting system, and Sasha, our accountant, has done a good job, but this will make it even better. With Quick books we will be able to see at a glance all of the details of our accounting system to make sure every dollar is wisely spent.”

Last fall we purchased a three-acre plot of land in order to develop a “Samaritan Training Center” for youth and young adults, especially aged-out orphans, Rehab graduates and Bible school students, to teach them life skills and to help them develop a sustainable lifestyle. According to Nancy Miller, SMU Executive Director, “This project will be a huge step forward in developing Ukrainian leaders for the future.”

Because our work in Ukraine is expanding and growing at a rapid rate and Nancy and I are getting older, the time has come for us to make a leadership change in order to make a smooth transition to the future. The leadership of SMU will now be in the hands of a group of four invested people, namely Nancy, as Executive Director, Alex as National Director, Margie Mach as Operational Director and Tim Miller as Financial Director.

“I spent a considerable amount of time,” Alex said, “getting acquainted with the new leadership team and am confident it is the right direction for SMU as it continues to move ahead.”

In addition to spending many hours of discussion with numerous SMU stakeholders, Alex enjoyed interacting with Ukrainian nationals living in the US, taking a small plane flight to the Oregon coast and experiencing the everyday life of Americans. “I learned a lot,” he said, “and I because of my visit.”

Mission accomplished!

Donald N. Miller