Dear friends,

We send you greetings in the new year of 2019, we hope and pray that the new year brings a lot of great moments in your lives and many dreams come true.

December is the busiest month of the year for us. How was it? It was wonderful! We collected some packages from the mail, shopped to fill big carts of toys, shampoo, toothpaste, school supplies, etc. and packed 278 gifts for children, 8 food baskets for elderly handicapped people from the rural areas, about 20 gifts for adults,a lot of sweets for kids and goodies to sit around the table with some tea.

We had 8 big concerts or theater shows with the message of Christ’s birth and drove thousands of miles to get to all those places. Tired? Yes! Blessed? Very much so!!!

We thank all of you for participating in the Christmas outreach and for making this Christmas special for so many children!

For children in the Radoshkovichi orphanage we prepared 88 gifts and the children prepared a concert. Each of the children prepared to show their best numbers in advance. They diligently prepared for our arrival! Before handing out gifts, we watched a short concert called, “A Minute of Glory.” Children sang songs, danced, read poems, and showed their talents. After the concert, we shared our gifts for Christmas and New Years with the children and caregivers.

Our trip to Gomel area and to Zhitkovichi is always a full day. The day after Christmas three of us were on the road with my car’s trunk full of gifts and clothes to give away. It was snowing the whole day and the roads were not cleared, which made the driving especially difficult.

When we finally got there about 50 kids and adults were gathered in the village club around the Christmas tree and we were glad that we came. We began our program with a beautiful poem telling about the birth of Christ followed by great Christmas songs. The children in return made nice skits and sang funny winter songs. At the end each child was thrilled to receive a nice box with the words, Christmas begins with Christ. What a nice day!

In the Stankovo Shelter we do our ministry there by bringing the biological parents to be with their “orphaned” children. These children are called social orphans and they are waiting for their parents to start changing their lives in order to gain back the rights for them and to bring them home. We want to help parents in this process.

We prepared a variety of entertaining games and creativity to raise the mood of the children, each child was involved in the games. They sang Christmas and New Year songs with movements where each child involved both their parent and caregiver. Adults also plunged into the festive event, which raised their their spirits. Everyone was very happy and grateful. After we gave every child a gift, in total their were 44 children.

At the shelter in Zhdanovichi, we were invited to the concert program, which the children prepared themselves. We wished everyone a Merry Christmas and presented 15 children with gifts. We visited a second time right after the New Year. There were new children and we tried to encourage them as we played games and spent time with them. We shared the story of Jesus’ birth and realized many children have heard some Bible stories in the past. Praise God for this! We also held a cooking class and taught the kids how to make sandwiches. They learned how to cut cucumbers, tomatoes, and sausages. They enjoyed this snack that they made with their own hands!

In our new ministry location, Istoki, we held a nice concert involving kids and youth from our church. This is an orphanage that has 15 homes on one territory with hired parents in each little home. The youth from our church sang Christmas songs and performed skits and dances. As they were opening their gift boxes, we heard some exciting exclamations; “look, I’ve got gloves!!! That is what i really wanted!!!” My heart rejoiced and cried at the same time, not often do you hear so much happiness over a pair of gloves. In total, 77 gift boxes were given out.

We also got tickets to the play, “The Road to Bethlehem.” This year we took 15 kids from Istoki. These are their impressions:

  • “I liked the production very much, the children were delighted, they performed very well and revealed the birth of Jesus Christ.”
  • “I also liked the moment that in parallel with the revelation of Jesus’s birth, the donkey tried to find out who God is, what He looks like and how He loves people and what we can do for God.”

The elderly in our country are often very poor and in need of love and care. We were able to deliver 8 food packages to elderly handicapped people. Please pray for these elderly people and that their hearts would know the Lord and that He loves them.

We were richly blessed this holiday season as we served many children and families during the holiday season.

God bless,

Yasha and Olga


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