CRITICAL NEEDS: The orphans
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
"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."
CRITICAL NEEDS: The Hospital
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
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.
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.
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
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
The 2015 AMERICA - UKRAINE FRIENDSHIP TOUR
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