Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Belts for Teen Orphan Girls

Last month we had the opportunity of going to a Humanitarian Aid conference in the capital city of Kiev. We were able to meet a very tender-hearted lady by the name of Nicole who works for the U.S. State Department. When she heard that our teen orphan girls were in need of some belts for an end-of-the-school-year parade, she reached into her pocket and gave us everything that she had in Ukrainian currency. The orphan girls sewed their own costumes for this parade, and we were able to take the money Nicole gave us and buy each of them the belts they needed. Here are some pictures of David and some of our Sunday-school teachers delivering the belts:

Next week, we will be purchasing about $20 worth of groceries at the market for the teen orphan girls to take some cooking lessons. I am pleased that the orphanage is taking care of teaching these girls to sew and cook. My greatest heart's desire is for our church to one day be able to get our Bible college to a full-time position, complete with a dormitory, so that the kids who desire to serve God in some way or another will have a place to go once they are too old to be taken care of at the orphanage. At the age of 17 or 18, they leave the orphanage to begin life on their own. Sadly, it is estimated that 35% of the Ukrainian orphan boys become criminals; 30% of girls become prosititues; and 15% of the orphans commit suicide. We so desire to give these kids Christ and teach them how to make a good life for themselves! How we hope to make a difference in their lives and see these statistics lowered!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our home on the mission field

If you're anything like me, you want to know how people live. I love decorating and knowing people's tastes, so I am one of those people that goes into someone's home and wonders what is behind every door! Well, just in case you're like me, I'll gladly show you exactly what our house looks like. It is pretty "raw" right now, as it is still being built. For the time being, we are living in the VanSant's home. They are a missionary couple that is currently in America on furlough. They return to their home the second week in August, and we will begin living in our own home at that time. Will it be done in time? Well, I sure do hope so!

Just this last week, we had our well dug.... 52 meters deep (57 yards.... more than half a football field deep)! The well man said he has been digging wells for 30 years and has never seen water gush out of a well like it began gushing out of ours. God is blessing us in so many tremendous ways! We have lived for nearly seven years with "come and go" water, so I am thrilled at the thought of always having water!

Here are some quickie details about our house for those of you who may be wondering. Our house sits on about 1/3 of an acre. The house was originally to be nearly 1,600 square feet, but our builder convinced us to put an extra room up in the attic area. Since the project was already started, it took quite some time for us to figure out where to put the stairs. My guess would be that the house is now going to be nearly 2,000 square foot. It will be four bedrooms, 2 baths, with the smallest room being used as a school room since we homeschool.

There is still lots to be done, so please pray earnestly for us. I will keep you updated with the progress. Here are pictures that were taken just last week:

Our home - front view, with "well" workers busily working

Our home - back view

(That is styrofoam being put on the outside of the brick for insulation.)

Our home - front view of roof insulation and brick work

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Ukrainian Funeral

The mother of a lady in our church passed away last week, and I thought it might be interesting to our friends and family to see what a Ukrainian funeral looks like. The lady who passed away, Oksana, was 76 years old, and a born-again Christian. Her daughter Ella, is also saved and a member of our church. David conducted the funeral and many members from our church helped out in one way or another. What a comfort it is to know that people who are saved and have left this earth go straight to the arms of Jesus!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

VBS - Day 6 (Saturday)... LAST DAY!

We praise the Lord for 12 children saved during this week of Vacation Bible School!!! All of our efforts were worth it! This last day we met for a short assembly to hand out prizes earned throughout the week and to invite everyone to church the next day. Then, all of us workers headed to the Hess's home for an afternoon of food, fellowship, and much-needed rest!

(We did receive one complaint about our open-air meeting, so the orphanage director offered to let us move into the orphanage's property, which we gladly did. Behind the gate where David is speaking in this picture, you can see where we originally met all week.)



The prizes given were as follows:

1. Perfect attendance all 5 days - coloring book

2. Prize for bringing a visitor - small plastic jewelry box for girls, sports drinking bottle for boys

3. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize for bringing the most visitors - kite, small plastic golf set, tote bag

4. Prize for reciting all 5 verses - small can of soda and candy bar

In addition to this, each child received a lollipop and tract to take home to their parents!

SOME HAPPY WINNERS (our son Davey is on the far right)




VBS - Day 5 (Friday)


(Katya, one of our teens, was a helper with this. Each child was registered and we kept daily records of their attendance.)

TODAY'S LESSON (taught by my hubby, David)


(Nelya creatively used a clothesline, with the verses printed on the back of different pictures.)


(They had to carry water in a spoon and be the first team to fill their bowl halfway.)

CRAFT TIME (paper cross weaving)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

VBS - Day 4 (Thursday)

TODAY'S LESSON (taught by Sveta; each day we had a different teacher for the lesson and a different teacher for the memory verse)

KATYA USING A PUPPET FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS (the littler kids especially enjoyed getting to be up close to the puppet and having their hands shook)

Today was Katya's 20th birthday. She was the one who organized the entire week (deciding who would be teaching when, who would be in charge of crafts, games, etc.). She did a tremendous job, and it is a blessing to our hearts to see the Ukrainians taking the lead!

GAME TIME (there was gum inside the balloons; they had to pop the balloon and be the first to blow a large bubble)

TODAY'S CRAFT (paper heart panda)

By the way, Lena is holding an orphan boy. By the end of the week, it was hard to not want to take them home!

There I am. Most of the time I was the one behind the camera, but David caught me here!

REFRESHMENTS (prepared all week by Missionaries Roland and Vera Mitchum)

VBS - Day 3 (Wednesday)



(included having Lazarus come forth... this was MK Josh Hess wrapped in toilet paper)

GAME TIME (water balloon toss)

CRAFT TIME (balloon people)

INVITATION TIME (Missionary Tony Hess witnessing to some neighborhood boys)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

VBS - Day 2 (Tuesday)

Well, this wouldn't be the mission field if we didn't lose power, live without water, or do things the hard way from time to time. This time we were without internet for more than a week for no explainable reason. As missionaries, we know to be flexible, so this was really "no biggie" for us. However, I thought I should explain why my little plan of posting our VBS pictures daily did not work out. So, here I am catching up and hoping that you enjoy seeing how the Lord blessed our week!

On this particular day, we had 10 salvations! Here are a few highlight photos:

TODAY'S CROWD (We wisened up and moved to the shade! We also changed our seating arrangement so that we had fewer rows. This was a huge improvement!)



(They had to pop each other's balloons but try to keep their own from being popped)

CRAFT (hat painting)


Monday, June 8, 2009

VBS - Day 1

Vacation Bible School started today! We set up in a new neighborhood this year, and had 45 kids on the first day! Normally VBS is run in Pastor Bob's backyard (and we call it "Backyard Bible Clubs") or we will just set up in between some apartment buildings. We chose the latter this year. Since we have never done anything in the neighborhood of our city orphanage, David decided to set up close to their buildings and use the orphans to help us bring visitors in. This is also a terrific opportunity for us to spend more time with our orphans. So, for this first day we had about 75% percent orphans and missionary kids, and the rest were new. We hope to increase our percentage of new kids each day.... So pray for us to reach out to new families this week!!!

Here are a few highlights from the day, in pictures:

LESSON TIME (that's my Brianna in the front, looking at the camera)





By the way, I would love some feedback. If anyone has seen or done anything in their churches that has really worked, let us know!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Socks For a New Orphanage!


While Bro. Fisk was here to preach our Soulwinning Conference, God opened the door for us to go into an orphanage we recently stumbled upon. The orphanage is located just a couple of stones' throw from the new land we are purchasing for our camp site. Because I have such a heart for orphans, I felt a big pull towards this land because of the nearby orphanage. We went there on Saturday visitation, bearing an armload of bananas as a gift, hoping to speak with someone about starting weekly Bible clubs there. Because of the bananas we had brought, the nurse on duty explained to us that on Monday (just two days later) was a holiday in Ukraine called "Day of Defense for Children." The Ukrainians that were with us had never even heard of this holiday, but the nurse explained to us that this is a big holiday for these children and their sponsors/donors. She went on to express that, if we had gifts for the children, that this would be the best day to bring them. So, we returned two days later with 72 pairs of socks to present to the children. The orphanage director even gave the microphone to David and allowed him to explain who he was and what he had brought. What an opportunity to promote our church in a good way! (Ukrainians are sometimes very skeptical of Baptists).

We found out that this orphanage only houses children ages 3-7, and there are 60 children in this home alone. I am curious to find out where the children go after they outgrow this one because I would love to keep expanding our orphanage ministry. I noticed a handful of the children with physical needs, but for the most part, they are perfectly healthy. Of course, all of them are beautiful creations of God, and it grieves me to see how many live without a mother or father.
I took many, many pictures of the children, but am only posting a few for you here. We are having those pictures printed and will take them back to the orphanage as a gift. At that time, we will inquire more about the opportunity of having Bible clubs with them. Please pray that God would continue opening this door, if that is His will.

A FEW OF THE ORPHAN BOYS (Aren't their costumes just cute?!)