June 2015

T H E   G A Z E T T A



Being an orphan is a tragedy... no mother or father, housed in an institution with other emotionally bruised children, trained with a lower-than-average education, and where "survival of the fittest" contests result in rejection, humiliation, and loneliness.

Yes, being an orphan is bad enough, but being an orphan in the war-torn land of Eastern Ukraine is a catastrophe. When food supplies run out, and the terror of bombing may come at any time, when electricity falters and there is no heat in winter, where can these orphans find help?

Fortunately, Music Mission Kiev is in the war zone through the work of Sasha Agriyants. Though he is not an orphan, Sasha has grown up in Kiev with many MMK orphans as friends. He knows their fears and their struggles. And now, he is one of our emissaries of hope, as he delivers truckloads of necessary supplies, food, Bibles, and a great deal of love.

Says Sasha, "Being with the children is my favorite part of the job. It energizes me."

At 32, Sasha is married with two young daughters of his own. Most weeks he travels from Wednesday night through Sunday into the dangerous territory of Eastern Ukraine.

He used to drive only at night for safety reasons, until the roads, being so dark and in such bad repair, made night travel more dangerous than bullets.

The license plate on the vehicles tells all - which city it is registered - so Kiev vehicles come under suspicion by unfriendly people, if spotted.

But when Sasha arrives at an orphanage, the joy begins. In Mariupol, he stops at an orphanage for the disabled. They also take care of kids living on the street.

In Kramotorsk, there is a baby orphanage, for newborns till five years old. Sasha delivers diapers and food to the young children.

Another orphanage has 340 children, and many are sick. Seventy of the boys are ill, and almost seventy of the girls, as well. Nutritious food is crucial for the health of these children. Some orphanages house children with tuberculosis. These orphanages may also have children whose parents have active cases of TB or are drug addicts.

The orphanges in Ukraine are organized by handicaps: invalids, cerebral palsy, paralysis, mental disease, physical disease, and rehabilitation centers. We serve these orphanages in Eastern Ukraine because they are easily accessible. Orphanages for "normal" children in this region require a special documents, even to bring assistance.

Orphans look much younger than they are. A child who appears to be 8 could be 19. Some children are bed-ridden but have a bright mind. Others are physically strong but are mentally disabled.

In one rehabilitation center, there are 500 orphans, and all of them need help.

The most difficult place to gain admittance was a smaller orphanage that housed children who are prone to run away. However, Sasha eventually won the trust of the director and is now delivering children's Bibles, food and supplies.

"The visits to these orphanages have given me a greater love for disadvantaged children. I feel as if they are my own children, and I am their Papa," says Sasha. "Some have thin legs, like matchsticks. Some cannot walk, only crawl. One boy named Sasha, (his name is the same as mine) is bed-ridden with curled up hands and legs which he cannot straighten, so I feed him. He has a good mind, and we have great conversations."

"Baby Vika was found in a garbage dump, terribly bitten by dogs. Someone just threw her away. Can you imagine??? In a landfill!! She weighs the same as a 6-month-old child, but she is 18 months old. My own daughter Masha is 11 months old and can crawl. Vika cannot walk, but she can sit. Other than this, she is perfectly healthy, and there are so many people who want to adopt her. But she has no papers, so she cannot be adopted. She has no last name."

Jesus said, "Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not." Music Mission Kiev is reaching out to these children in crisis every week, touching them and caring for them through the resources God has provided.

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CRITICAL NEEDS: Victims of War in the East

Beside the orphanages, Sasha delivers supplies to the elderly, to churches, to basements where people are hiding and to families in East Ukraine.

"Isn't it dangerous?" I asked Sasha.

"I don't like to think about that," Sasha replies. "With every kilometer I drive outside of Kiev, there is potential danger. I see many automobile accidents. Some people see my license plate and try to run me down or force me off the road. I have the risk to be stopped by pro-Russian rebels who could confiscate all the goods meant for the poor. Once my van was broken into, but fortunately I had delivered all the supplies. They did get some bulletproof vests, however. Day or night, I could be stopped anytime, anywhere. But I know God is watching over me."

In the buffer zone between East and West, many people are hiding in basements and other shelters and centers. Sasha goes with food, Bibles and supplies.

In Sloviansk, for example, which was recaptured by the Ukrainian forces, there is a centre run by Boris, who brings volunteers from his charismatic church. Most of the residents are attending his church. The buildings were government centers for alcohol and drug abuse treatment, but are now used for victims of war. Each building houses 30-60 people.

These centers house elderly, working-age people and children. Some have an opportunity to move out of the center and into an apartment that has been abandoned by its owner, because of the war. The government screens these people, and they are allowed by the owner to live there if they pay the utility bills. This is a "win-win" situation, because the homeless get a home and the owner gets someone to guard his property.

When Sasha has emptied his van full of food and supplies, he goes to a grocery store, and fills the van again for more deliveries.

On average, we send three full truckloads of food to the conflict zone each week.

"At first," says Sasha, "I thought I would be doing this work for a month. Praise the Lord I am still alive! We can truly see God working in these days."

"Why do you do this, Sasha?" I asked.

"Actually I'm so pleased to be doing good to other people. Some people ask me, "Whom do we thank for this?" and I tell them, "Thank God! No need to thank me. I am just the deliveryman. Thank Him for what He has provided."

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There is no war without wounded.

Our involvement in helping the wounded victims of war began with a Canadian couple, Michael and Svetlana. Michael had connections with hospital coordinators to help patients, and Wes was determined to find the resources they needed to save lives.

Michael would receive a phone call from a doctor saying, "I'm in surgery now with a young man who is going to die if he doesn't have such-andsuch a medication." These wounded have families, and they also receive our ministry through comfort, support, and prayer.

Sometimes the patients didn't survive. They might get through the surgery, and Wes was able to visit them, but they could die days later in the overcrowded hospital rooms, from the severity of their injuries.

Our musicians became involved by sharing their musical talent in the hospital rooms. Valentina Yenichek, our receptionist and former choir singer, organizes volunteers who sing for the patients and their families. Going from room to room, the singers bring the joy of music, and receive smiles from those who are struggling with pain. Even one of our well-known soloists from the National Opera Theater, who has performed with the KSOC, has volunteered in this work.

We have seen the Christian community come together to help. A Baptist chaplain and a retired colonel heads a Christian organization which hosts events for families through Central Baptist Church. Wes has been part of those gatherings. The chaplain and his wife visit the hospital on a regular basis, and bring homemade chicken broth and pastry. He councils with the families. Some of the wounded have special diet requirement like soft food, bananas, etc.

Our MMK staff (Sasha Agriyants and Sergey Basarab) bring fruit to the patients on a weekly basis, and our representatives pray with the wounded and with their families. Some have come to the hospital as the wife of a patient and have left, a widow.

In April, the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus presented an Easter concert at the central Baptist Church, and several wounded soldiers were brought to the front rows of the hall in wheelchairs or on crutches. Hearing Easter music, a great orchestra piece, a capella Ukrainian classics, and American spirituals, touched them deeply, especially "Prayer for Ukraine." They had survived terrible injuries but were now healing in a safe place, and thinking about God in a holy place.

"Oh, Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace...."

So much pain, so much heartache, so much despair.... . but we bring hope, and love, and joy through Jesus Christ and His Gospel message.

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CRITICAL NEEDS: Families and Children

We have been assisting the victims of this war in Ukraine since April, 2014, when the first families arrived from Crimea and came to Kiev. Their response is "Thank you for not abandoning us." Each week we provide food for these families who have been unable to find stable jobs or a permanent place to live.

Sergey Basarab leads a Bible study on Wednesdays after the food is delivered to the kitchen staff. We provide two meals a day for the 140 residents at the Pusha Voditsa camp.

Sergey says that the people are very disoriented, having been uprooted from their communities, and now are forced to live with strangers. Some are pensioners. They are missing their families, missing their homes. They need a spiritual compass, and the Bible lessons offer that. They come not just to read the Bible and pray, but to share their problems and thoughts. They need someone to listen to them with love and patience, and we are there!!!

On Saturdays, we have a music and Bible team to teach the children of the camp. First the team meets for lunch and prayer, and reviews plans for the afternoon. The camp is a thirty-minute van ride from the center of Kiev.

When the van pulls up to the residence building, the children are on the sidewalk, waiting. They cover Wes and Kim with hugs. There are usually 15 children, ages 4-14. The children run into the classroom. The parents trickle in. They enjoy watching the activities.

A typical afternoon would begin with singing songs with hand motions. Then, perhaps, an orchestra member would demonstrate his instrument and talk about music.

In fact the children have learned much about music. What is a composer? A duet? What instrument makes this sound? High, low, fast, slow, up, down, long note, short note..... all valuable musical training.

Following this, Valentina shares a Bible lesson on the flannel graph. She loves children and is great in getting them to interact. She reads to them from the Children's Bible.

Hearing a beautiful solo from one of the singers of the KSOC might be next. We have a regular crew of singers who love to come and sing for the children and encourage them.

Then Kim leads the choir rehearsal. They are working on a musical called, "The Story-telling Man."

The final musical event is practicing the hand chimes. The children love the sound of this instrument and each has his individual note.

End with celebration --- and Kim's homemade cookies. This is a time for laughter, and people who have been displaced need laughter.

God has called us to love these people, and they love us.

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Where are the McMurrins?

Diane is spending time in Kiev at the radio studio, editing and producing new shows for the series Music Mission Kiev, which she and Roger host for an American audience. The shows can be heard on musicmissionkiev.org

Roger recently returned to Kiev from a personal trip to Zambia, Africa, where he trained 150 Christians to sing hymns by learning to read notes. In one week they were singing "Silent Night" Joy to the World" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" in four-part harmony. No need for a translator. All Zambians speak English, and it was a great experience! In Kiev Roger remains active teaching, preaching, mentoring and hosting guests with Diane.

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Letter from the President

We are coming to America; 42 fabulous Ukrainian members of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (KSOC)! It is our desire, through beautiful music, to bring glory to God and point people to the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust that listeners will also enjoy the stories of God's grace that we will share.

The purpose of the tour is to engage prayerful support. We have experienced enormous suffering in Ukraine in recent months. Streets where we walk have been drenched in blood. Foreign invasion has caused death and enormous suffering. A spiritual battle is raging. The threat of further invasion continues. Yet in this terrible storm we have experienced blessings and joy. We want to share this with you, our American friends.

Our concert programs, led by Wes and Kim Janzen, will feature 34 singers and 8 instrumentalist; Slavic a cappella, sacred classics, hymns, spirituals, instrumental chamber music, Ukrainian sacred and folk music, stories of God's grace and much more.

You can see, to the right, some vacancies in our tour schedule. We are looking for churches that have a heart for missions, good acoustic, spirit of hospitality, love of the sacred classics, and would allow us to take a free-will offering to support the ministries of Music Mission Kiev. Please contact our Orlando office for more information, if your church might be interested in hosting us for a spectacular, memorable and important evening of music and mission.

In Christ's great love,

Dr. Wes Janzen
Conductor, Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
President, Music Mission Kiev

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Mark your calendars now!


Sept. 11 -Christ Wesleyan Church, Milton, PA, concert 7 pm
Sept. 12 - First Baptist Church, Danville, PA, concert 7 pm
Sept. 13 - Calvary Church, Lancaster, PA, concert 7 pm
Sept. 14 - OPEN
Sept. 15 - tentative, Silver Springs, MD
Sept. 16 - Cross Pointe Nazarene, Salisbury, MD, concert 7 pm
Sept. 17 - First Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA, concert 7pm
Sept. 18 - The Gayton Kirk Church, Richmond, VA, concert 7 pm
Sept. 19 - Sycamore Presbyterian Church, Midlothian, VA, concert 7 pm
Sept. 20 - University Baptist Church, Charlottesville, VA, concert 7 pm
Sept. 21 - First United Methodist Church, Martinsville, VA, concert 7 pm
Sept. 22 - Second Presbyterian Church, Greenville, SC, concert 7 pm
Sept. 23 - Centenary United Methodist Church, Winston Salem, NC, concert 7 pm
Sept. 24 - Hold, Grand Opera House, Macon, GA
Sept. 25 - St. Andrews Presbyterian, Columbia, SC, concert 7 pm
Sept. 26 - Westminster Presbyterian Church, Rock Hill, SC, concert 7 pm
Sept. 27 - Fairfield Mountains Chapel, Lake Lure, NC, concert time TBA
Sept. 28 - Trinity Episcopal Church, Asheville, NC, concert 7 pm
Sept. 29 - Community Bible Church, Beaufort, SC (day off)
Sept. 30 - Community Bible Church, Beaufort, SC, concert 7 pm


Oct. 1 - Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, AL, concert 7 pm
Oct. 2 - OPEN
Oct. 3 - Roswell Presbyterian Church, Roswell, GA, concert 7 pm
Oct. 4 - Big Canoe Chapel, Big Canoe, GA, concert 7 pm
Oct. 5 - Day off in Big Canoe, GA
Oct. 6 - OPEN
Oct. 7 - Westminster Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA, 7 pm
Oct. 8 - Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, St. Mary's, GA, concert 7 pm
Oct. 9 - Northlake Presbyterian Church, Lady Lake, FL, concert 7 pm
Oct. 10 - First Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, FL, concert 7 pm
Oct. 11 - First Presbyterian Church, Orlando, FL, concert 4 pm
Oct. 12 - OPEN
Oct. 13 - tentative, south FL
Oct. 14 - New Presbyterian Church, Wilton Manor, FL, 6:30 pm
Oct. 15 - Cypress Lake United Methodist Church, Ft. Myers, FL, concert 7 pm
Oct. 16 - Suntree United Methodist Church, Melbourne, FL, concert 7 pm
Oct. 17 - Northland Church, Longwood, FL (worship)
Oct. 18 - Northland Church, Longwood, FL (worship)
Oct. 19 - Northland Church, Longwood, FL (worship)
Oct. 20 - St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Orlando, FL, concert 7 pm
Oct. 21 - tentative, Atlanta GA
Oct. 22 - tentative, Charlotte, NC
Oct. 23 - Concord United Methodist Church, Knoxville, TN, concert 7 pm
Oct. 24 - tentative, Cincinnati, OH
Oct. 25 - tentative, Ann Arbor, MI
Oct. 26 - Mars Alliance, Mars, PA, concert 7 pm
Oct. 27 - Tower Church, Grove City, PA, concert 7 pm
Oct. 28 - tentative, central PA

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Questions They Ask

In Diane's Wednesday Bible study, the 37 widows are writing ques- tions about Scriptures they read at home. The papers are dropped into a basket. What's on their minds?

1. Psalm 23: "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me..." What does it mean?

2. Tell us more about Jehovah Witnesses. How can we answer them? They bother all people in our district.

3. Please explain: "I give them eternal life and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:28)

4. Tell us more about the work of the Holy Spirit.

5. Discuss in our lesson Matthew 7:7 - "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it shall be opened unto you."

6. Can you explain "blessed are the poor...."

7. "And lead us not into temptation.." Explain these words from The Lord's Prayer.

8. "Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live" (John 14:19)

9. Comment: We are grateful for great Bible classes. Thanks to our wonderful Christian teachers.

We have four Bible classes each week for our widows and widowers. We have also added 12 more widows to our food list, which brings the number to 412. Kim recently showed The Jesus Film in Russian for three weeks. Diane starts teaching the Book of Acts to the large Bible study in June. The average pension for these people is $50 a month, and $25 they must pay back to the government for maintenance of their building. Our food helps them to survive.


Our address: Music Mission Kiev, 286 Wilshire Blvd., Casselberry, Florida 32707 Office Telephone: 1-800-467-5051

Our address in Canada: Music Mission Ukraine Canada, P.O. Box 2401, Abbotsford, BC, V2T 4X3

Visit us on Facebook: Music Mission Kiev with new postings every week

Music Mission Kiev is a member of the E.C.F.A. (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)