Newsflash

2018 - Annual report

In Ukraine in 2019 there will not only be parliamentary elections, but there will be a presidential election in spring. It is believed the incumbent Poroshenko holds weak cards for this, as his approval ratings are currently somewhere around 8%.

The candidate with the best prospects is Julia Timoshenko. But Poroshenko won’t give up so quickly. In election campaigning, every method is fair. True to his byword, along with a uniform state and a uniform language (I previously reported to you on the new language law), he now has his sights set on a "uniform" church. That means, first and foremost, a uniform Orthodox church. Up to now, 65.3% of 18,879 Orthodox parishes in Ukraine belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate, 27.1% to the Kiev partiarchate and 6.3% to other Orthodox churches. He believes the Moscow patriarchate should disappear. Is it any wonder that Moscow perceives this as a provocation? Even the latest incidents on the Sea of Azov seem to fit well into the Ukrainian election campaign, after all, Poroshenko can promote himself as the "strongman" if he shows up in a battle uniform in front of his soldiers for the world to see. And tell us quickly how Germany should react to this. The climax of this whole matter is his statement: "The future of the free world is about to be decided in Ukraine“.
It is probably high time for the German government to demand that Kiev adhere to the Minsk Protocol.

The animosities and the pressure from the Ukrainian side are continually increasing toward the citizens of Hungarian ethnicity mainly living in Transcarpathia. On 4 October the Ukrainian foreign minister declared the Hungarian Consul in Beregszász/Berehovo to be persona non grata and required him to leave the country. He was accused of issuing Hungarian passports to the Ukrainians of Hungarian ethnicity living there. But Ukraine does not allow dual citizenship. However as the saying goes: the exception proves the rule. Precisely in government and economic areas it is not unusual "across the globe" to have one or more citizenships along with the Ukrainian. And there is no problem with people in the area of L’viv or Czernowitz holding Polish or Romanian citizenship alongside Ukrainian.
An earlier minister in the Ukrainian government even called on the Internet for the deportation of Hungarians from Transcarpathia, for "they are foreigners there and have no business being there". He apparently doesn’t know that this has been their homeland for over 1000 years.

I would like to repeat once more a thought from the 2014 annual report: "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to people of his good will." Precisely in view of the situation in Ukraine, which has now been shattered for over four years by unrest and belligerent conflicts, I often have to think of this verse from the Bible. "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth..." –Maybe that is why we experience so little peace—not only in the inter-personal area, but also precisely between national groups, because we often ignore the other part of the verse at its beginning.

Yet how does everyday life look to the people in Transcarpathia? As always, there are constantly whole families leaving their homeland because they see no prospect for staying. If we saw them just yesterday, they could be gone for good today. Along with the political pressure, there is especially the economic situation that brings this about. For example, gas prices (not cheap to begin with) after 1 November were raised by 23.5%. A monthly pension equivalent to $55 means that retirees in particular have to spend the coming winter in cold apartments. Even in the past, most of them could only heat the bare minimum of a single room. The price hike was justified by the fact that in the next few years Ukraine has to pay off foreign debts of over $50 billion. Even if it is a prerequisite for further credits with the International Monetary Fund. But why do the "little people" have to pay for this and not the beneficiaries of billions?

And even if the help we give is only the proverbial drop in the bucket, the support can still be great and valuable for the recipient. The following is what we can share with you.

  

Relief convoys

Six relief convoys were dispatched by us this past year. This included items such as more firefighting apparel and equipment, adult diapers, bicycles, hospital beds and a children’s trampoline.

 

Christmas Parcel Campaign

After a few years in which more and more new localities were added or where pastors have changed, it made sense to train those from the parishes of the Reformed Church who were responsible on the various aspects of our Christmas campaign. Over 30 pastors and catechists came to take part in this at the rehab center in Vári in November.

Training for the Christmas campaign

Already at the present time a wonderful amount of donations have been contributed. Because of the steady massive support of our Christmas Joy campaign we will incorporate eight more localities in Transcarpathia into the group of places that receive parcels this year. Even if exact figures are not yet available, and understandably so, we can still go on the premise that this year more than 6500 children will have enormous joy over their very personal Christmas package. We are amazed and full of gratitude over the constantly growing number of great and small "helpers". Yes, it is proven to be true: Doing good is easier when many are helping and becoming active together. They bring about the incredible and thus create moments full of joy in which everyday worries are forgotten which even trouble the hearts of children.

We thank all those very sincerely who donate to the Christmas campaign and pray for it.

 

On a personal note

At the church elections in the fall Bishop Sándor Zán was again elected for a four-year term as bishop of his church. Only a synodal decision enabed him to accept a fourth election period, for normally only three periods in office are provided for. We wish him God’s blessing, health and especially wisdom for the work in these difficult times laden with responsibilities.

 

Projects and Activities We Support

As for the house that once was to serve as "emergency lodging" for a poor family, now some slow initial concrete steps have become possible. The house and the building lot for it have been purchased. There is also to be a storage area for home nursing care. Initial security measures and a "detoxing" have been carried out. Depending on the financial situation, the next thing to plan is fencing off the property and fixing the roof. Donations for this project can be sent under the key-word: House

 

 

The organization known as "Christian Diaconal Home Care Service" meanwhile works in six localities and has 18 staff members. Their work is coming along well.

The fire department in Dercen is tentatively poised to receive this year a used firefighting vehicle from Switzerland. It is to replace the Csepel which then will go to Vári. The garage there already has a new roof, but still has to be prepared so that maintenance of the Csepel is possible over the winter. We have also been asked to help in this area.

Fire engine garage

Fire engine garage

 

Please send donations with the key-word: Fire engine garage

There is also news to report from the rehab center "Forget-me-not" (Nefelejcs) in Vári.

 

The second large treatment room on the upper floor of the main building is almost ready. Discussions are still going on about financing the elevator.

Large treatment room on the upper floor             Handicapped boy during balancing exercises

 

The apple trees have withstood the very dry summer in Transcarpathia quite well, and a few apples have even been harvested. There is a new press with which apple juice can be made later. 

Juice press

Juice press

 

Donations for the "Forget-me-not" rehab center can be sent under the key-word: Handicapped

This year József was confirmed and –as was appropriate—we congratulated him with a gift. He completed school this year, and as of September has been attending an evening school in Beregszász/Berehovo, which will conclude with a diploma after three years.ears.

Many other things could still be mentioned. There is always medication, for example for a young girl suffering with epilepsy. The medicine she needs is no longer available in Ukraine. She lives with her mother, but her father is deceased. They moved to the town where they now live, after the terrible flood of about 17 years ago, because their old home was completely destroyed.

Young people at summer camp

This year we could even support the summer camps for young people.

We were able to help in another case as well. A 38-year-old father of a family suffers from a rare illness. His spinal cord no longer produces blood cells. Every 5 to 6 weeks he has to go to Budapest for a blood transfusion. Because of his illness he can no longer work.

You have our sincere thanks for making this all possible with your help and support.

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Thank you for all your support, your interest, your cooperation and involvement, your prayers and your donations for this year of 2018.

 

Without you, all the help for the people in Transcarpathia would not be possible. Every show of support, whether great or small is a sign they are not forgotten.

Also in 2019 with your help we can contribute to taking away the people’s worries and relieving their problems. Thus we often give them a little piece of hope.  Grateful people and happy faces—it’s all worth it.

It is well known that many shoulders make every burden lighter. Therfore we ask you for your help and support in the coming year.  Keep the suffering people in Transcarpathia in your heart.

Please make the work and projects of the Transcarpathia Benefit Society known among your relatives, friends and acquaintances, your co-workers and fellow students, as well as in social clubs and associations. We are thrilled to hear your ideas and activities.

 

We send sincere greetings from Bishop Sándor Zán and Pastor Péter Szeghljánik.

All of us together wish you and your families a merry Christmas and God’s blessings for the new year!