Deadly Fire Destroys Christian Shelter near Kiev, Ukraine

The Christian Mercy Shelter “Nadia” (in Ukrainian means “Hope”) has existed in the city of Boyarka near Kyiv, Ukraine, for over three decades. During this time, the employees of this charitable organization have provided assistance to thousands of disabled people, homeless people and simply people, who lost their way of life. The shelter was founded in 1994 by Ukrainian Mother Teresa, Lyudmila Grigorievna Mishanna who is now 81-year-old lady, when American and European donors helped her acquire an old pioneer camp 30 kilometers away from Kyiv. The main building recently burned to the ground in a fire, leaving dozens of people homeless.

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Despite all the difficulties near Kyiv, since 1994, the Christian Mercy Center “HOPE” in the city of Boyarka has been continuing to provide comprehensive assistance to desperate people, who lost their ID documents; who found themselves on the street without the help of loved ones due to various, sometimes tragic, life circumstances that the rest of society has turned its back on. Disabled people, often bedridden, have been receiving support in this shelter and the opportunity to register a disability according to the Ukrainian law requirements and to get relevant social payments, to receive or restore a state pension. The homeless found shelter, food and clothing. But the most precious thing that they received in the shelter was attention, sincere love and care for the inner state of the guests, dejected by life’s ups and downs.

The Christian Mercy Center is run by its director, 81-year old Lyudmila Grigorievna Mishanna and her deputy Petr Vdovichenko. They do not differentiate between the duties of “director” and “others” and equally share the need and all the difficulties of a modest life with those who asked them for help… Utility bills, personal pension, and meager earnings from making artificial flowers and funeral wreaths are put on the “altar” of the common dining table “for the glory of God”. Following the example of the holy ascetics, wisdom, the solution to each problem, and sometimes the answer to the question “what to make today’s soup from?” is literally begged on the knees.

The Mercy Shelter “HOPE” is also hoping for help, for a response in people’s hearts – its administration and guests have to constantly struggle with all the difficulties in order to maintain the existence and keep caring about those who need it.

On May 7 this year, a fire burned to the ground almost the entire building where the residents lived.

This is not the first time when the homes and property of employees of the “HOPE” mercy shelter or people, who help the organization, have been set on fire. Over the past two years, Deputy Director Petr Vdovichenko has applied to the local law enforcement dozens of times to investigate numerous cases of harassment and arson of his property. Unfortunately, local authorities completely ignore the lawlessness that is happening in their jurisdiction – during all this time, not a single arson or attack case has been investigated. The car of local politician Alexander Semko, who helped the Nadia Mercy Shelter also burned down at the hands of the unknown in 2019.

Before the fire, 12 people were under the care of the “HOPE” shelter. Now these people are literally left without a roof over their heads.

The “Nadia” shelter has no extra funds even for the simplest repairs on its own, for elimination of the consequences of a fire, or for payment of electricity debts.

“At any moment, people can bring someone from the Kyiv railway station who has become unwanted and sick… And they know that Lyudmila Grigorievna will not refuse anyone… During the existence of “HOPE”, hundreds of suffering souls have received shelter here,” Vdovichenko testified.

“We are turning our prayers to God Almighty and expecting a powerful echo of Divine Love and Mercy in your kind and sacrificial hearts, for we cannot cope with it alone. It is the manifestation of the qualities of Christian mercy that we consider the task and the meaning of our earthly life, and from day to day our center proves this with its hard work,” says Petr Vdovichenko.

Moreover, the shelter “HOPE” has ongoing legal costs that have accumulated as a result of the court trial of forging statutory documents, due to which the organization lost its real estate – several acres of land in the recreational zone near Kyiv, as well as buildings located on this territory. The court case involves the local Protestant community “Temple of the Savior”, together with its leader, pastor Roman Skots, who left the United States soon after a federal money-laundering investigation opened against him.

Residents of “HOPE” and its administration humbly ask to support them financially on the GoFundMe and keep them in your prayers.