Gift of Life (GoL) began in Ukraine as Medical Clinic on Wheels (MCOW) in 1992 through the efforts of Ukrainian Americans Dr. Stephen Dudiak and Pastor John Shep. Generous support from the Schwan Foundation to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod mission society, Thoughts of Faith Inc. made this outreach possible. Two large RV’s were constructed with modern medical and dental equipment and flown from Milwaukee, WI to Lviv, Ukraine. MCOW was presented to the public in April 1992 on the theater square in Ternopil. The media of that time, wrote about this extraordinary event as a “grand celebration of human charity and kindness!”
Children exposed to the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe were the first to receive treatment. Since those early days, hundreds of thousands of physically and mentally challenged orphans, socially unprotected and impoverished people have benefited from the services provided by MCOW.
Because abortion was the most prevalent means of birth control in the former Soviet Union, pro-life work was begun in 1996 through the efforts of Lutheran’s For Life, later known as Christian Life Resources. Gift of Life was officially created in 1997, now including two components, the original clinics, and Pro-life Centers. A third component, that being, shipments of Material Aid, was expanded upon later.