Fifteen dedicated paid and unpaid staff gave their time, effort, and love to about 350 kids over the past year through our orphans ministry. I am delighted to inform you that several Ukrainian Christian businessmen donated supplies and about $500 to an orphanage. For Ukrainians, this was a large gift from God, since they are a developing nation.
Because of your prayers and the dedication of many people who worked with us all year, about 40 children received Christ as Savior. This is especially wonderful news since new governmental regulations have made it increasingly difficult to pray with children in the secular orphanages where we work. But God continues to find creative ways to bless us!
During the year, the kids enjoyed learning about the Bible, as well as interacting, playing games, and making crafts with our staff. The children never wanted our team to leave!
Sometimes I forget how important this orphan ministry is to the kids until God periodically reminds me. One such story concerns a teenage girl named Lydia, who worked with our team over the past year. Here is her story:
“Hello, my name is Lydia. My parents are from Armenia, but I was born here in Ukraine. I am sad to report that my father is a very violent man, and he used to physically beat everyone inside our family. At a very early age, I came to understand that the only person who truly loved me was my mother.
As I grew older, I tried to escape my situation by spending more time with my friends on the streets. I began making friendships with boys and making bad personal decisions. My mother warned me to stay away from these boys because they only wanted to use me for their own entertainment. I didn’t listen to my mom, but she was right—they just used me.
Before I could fully grow up, my mother died. I knew that the only person who truly loved me in my life was gone. I had no one I could rely on in this world. Because I feared my father, I ran away from my home. Eventually, the police found me and brought me to this orphanage. While here, I learned about God and was able to interact with true Christian believers from your ministry.
I built a friendship with them over time, and I have come to learn that they sincerely love me. I was overjoyed to learn that God loves me and that he will never betray me. Because of their help, I have begun praying to God. Very soon I will be transferred to another orphanage and I will not be able to see my friends again. I am sad that there will not be Christians at my new location, but I thank God for my time with my new friends. – Lydia Vasilenko, 15 year old girl
Dear friends, we are trying our best to reach many people just like Lydia—children and adults alike—who need to experience the love, grace, and forgiveness available in Christ. Many of these kids are transferred to new orphanages every six months, so we do our best to maximize the little time we have with these children.