Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Widow's House

I'd never have connected to my mom's Soviet-era roots if it hadn't been for Don Miller. When I first began the search for a village called Federofka, it was Don Miller who guided me to that sad place. (A comparison can be made to some of our First Nation reserves over here.)

Don Miller leads the Samaritan Ministries In Ukraine. He's been incredibly active not only in researching the history of the German Baptists in the Volhynia, but also in helping the broken spirits over there. 

He's helping them by providing them with the tools to help themselves. But some are so old (widows like my mom) that they can no longer help themselves. Here in Canada, we have an amazing health care system and families who are still intact. Many families over there were broken by the gulag, by war, and by alcoholism. With the Soviet state gone, there's little for the survivors of the Stalin era. When I was there in '04 the poor old women were selling flowers or a couple of chicken eggs on the street, or else sweeping the streets - trying to get some coins to supplement their paltry state pensions. 

Don Miller has built (literally, I might add) a house for the widows. It's near Zhitomir - in Pulin - and has beautiful rooms and a community center. What we take for granted: heat, plumbing, food - will now be available to these lonely old women who have seen and lost so much. 

I'm in awe of D.M.'s passion, dedication and perseverence in this project. 

2 comments:

Barrie said...

His story would be an interesting one.

gabe said...

Hey, you're totally right, Barrie. A story about Don Miller!