Our summer is very full of love, care, smiles and tears of thankfulness to God!
As I started writing the letter I caught myself thinking that there is so much to say that I once again I will only give you a glimpse of our life and ministry.
Crying and Rejoicing at the Same Time
“Dear Olga, I simply do not know how to express my thankfulness, I don’t know how to find nice words. I am crying and rejoicing at the same time. How you are helping us is simply a miracle. I have lived many years on this earth, met many people, was in various life circumstances, but never in my life had such a warm response. Last night I prayed… Without you, your help, No, without God’s help nothing would have happened! May God keep you, your friends, Steve and all who are helping us safe! P.S. Forgot to say that because of your petition my son Ura is going to a summer camp on Monday.”
To give you a little history. We met Natalia in the shelter when she was fighting with alcohol to be able to get her son Ura back home. Once they had a nice life with a husband, but the sudden death of the 40 year old man, a lot of problems afterwards made Natalia an alcoholic. Ura spent 6 month in the shelter and after Natalia finally took him back she was charged for the cost of it. For many months they lived on about 20$, the rest was spent. Finally in April she started to receive her full salary of a cleaning lady, when in June a terrible fire happened inside her home. She was devastated, but we were near.
Right now there are repairs going on in her house with new ceiling, windows, flooring and doors. The fireman said: 10 more minutes and the wooden house would have collapsed. In the midst of that Natalia is open to learn about God and to read the Bible ( she was asking for it several time. Now she has it) We are helping Natalia and Ury to stay together, not to go back to the shelter. Special thanks to Direct Connect and CCP organizations for helping out. PS Natalia needs a new sofa to sleep on, curtains,and other small items. She is working very hard in cleaning the house from smoke effect.
To briefly mention our other
We have completed or/working on at the moment (see the photos below)
- Irina and Maksim ( orphan and a widow raising child in a difficult circumstances). We helped her get 2 crowns for a beautiful smile, a hand operated washing machine, she would still need to go to the well to bring the water and pour it in, but at this point it is the only possible option and it makes her life easier a bit.
- Natalia ( social worker for 12 old ladies in 4 villages) and Nastia ( serious heart problems) from Chernobyl area. We love visiting them with food baskets. Right now we are working on new linoleum floor for their kitchen
- Food baskets is our constant program. For 20$-25$ we are bringing food to sustain many poor village families in Chernobyl area, where many kids go hungry all the time.
- We also bring lots of clothes and shoes that we collect from our families and friends nearby.
- We continue to bring Bibles
- Yulia (the mother) and Dasha (her daughter) live in the Chernobyl area, in a barrack on a second level with very rough stairs, the water has to be taken from a well at a distance, and the outhouse is even further out. Yuila spent months in different hospitals, could not walk at all for a long time and thanking God for being able to stand on crutches Yuila has serious health condition with her back , has been through 6 chemo treatments and still needs to go for more. We got to visit them on the day Yulia came back from hospital for a short time. We prayed and gave a food basket. Dasha will be in our camp next week.
Briefly mention about camps. So far we are in the third session of 3 weeks each camp for 26 kids, half orphans from the shelter and foster care and half from troubled families or very poor ones (all from villages). The camp takes place in the shelter and three times a week we are their to run our program. Playing games, reading the Bible, making crafts, hugging and chatting, as well as eating something tasty– all to make kids fill loved and cared!!!
It is at camps that we meet brothers like Artem (older) and Sasha, who once were separated into two different foster homes and now, at camp, they can be together, at least for a short time.
There are also stories of Gleb, who doesn’t get to eat at home and has a stomach ache when we feed him in our day camps. Natasha, who didn’t want to take any gifts from us saying that her gift is our coming to visit her, and many others.
We also run daily camps in Chernobyl area, so far two, but next week we have 2 camps going on. One for 50+ kids in Chernobyl area, another one for 45 people ( foster families with kids and village families). The camps will happen simultaneously, we split the Belarusian team ( first time, it means we are growing) Please be praying for us, for the kids, for the teams.
Third of July is Independence Day in Belarus.It became a tradition to celebrate it with our American friends. We celebrate Spring of Revival volunteers, foster families and family home graduates, some with their kids and husbands now. A lot of fun, great food and fellowship. This year it was wonderful because my mom was there too. She just had 2 eye surgeries in less then a month. Please keep her ( Lubov) in your prayers.
In June we were asked by the orphanage to host 16 year old Vika for a month. We shared her between my family and girls family home. Vika was very helpful at shelter camp, running and jumping with small kids. Learning her story, told me again and again that there is no orphan with easy life. Vika saw her mom burnt down, because she was put on fire at home and a few day later died in the hospital. All the above brought this beautiful girl to a shelter and later to the orphanage. Vika will be graduating from the orphanage next year. Keep her in your prayers.
In June we had a nice time at the Economic University graduation ceremony. Among about 400 students there was Sveta, once an abundant baby, with no bright future. Today an educated beautiful girl, who loves Jesus.
In mid-June we were on a long journey coming from a day camp. As the trip takes 4 hours, we usually stop in one little cafe for a small break. We do it time after time. In June, as we stopped, we so Anton, Sveta’s older biological brother, who lived in Russia for many years after they were separated. What a nice surprise!!! Do they look alike? ( I think they do).
As I have already mentioned some prayers needs, there is one more I’d like to add.
Please pray for Vatslav (we have known him for 18 years, working with orphans and families till this day) as he is recovering after a surgery.n He broke his fourth and fifths bones in his back and they were replaced with metal.
We are still looking for some financial help with our foster families camp, happening next week.
Thank you so very much for all your prayers and support to our ministry.
Yasha and Olga