It is a joy to bring you good news about my recent trip to Ukraine. My visit there was good, and I was able to get a lot accomplished.
When I reached Kiev successfully, and we were off to the region on the eveing train. Sunday morning we were off to the market, and among other things we purchased food for the 20 food baskets for the widows of the neighborhood. Returning home, 2 sisters, a visitor and myself made up the baskets so that the members could distribute them after Sunday services.
Monday morning I was off to the city to see how the work was going there. I was able to meet briefly with Lynn (our American missionary friend, from Memphis, and His Kids, Too! board member), and pick up the 4 boxes that I had shipped in December. (Four others still had not arrived, and we were very prayerful that they would, so I could distribute the items.) These boxes had items in them for the Boarding School, which we had collected clothing and socks for. On Tuesday I went to the Boarding School, after meeting with a city official about the items, and she accompanied us to the Boarding School. It was a wonderful joint effort, that the director and the city officials could see that the items were sent by His Kids, Too! for distribution by the local church. They were very warm and receptive to the items, and asked that we return to see the children wearing the items. Which we did later in the week. But at the inital visit we toured the facility, and accessed their needs, preparing for the ‘big shopping spree’. The church in Tallahassee had sent money for items to be purchased, and that money went towards, sheets, towels and pillowcases.
Throughout the week I went back and forth between two cities visiting directors of: orphanages, a shelter, orphan hospitals, the deaf school, a mental hospital, and the Boarding school. All were warm and receptive to receiving help, and our meetings went very well. The goals that we set prior to the trip were met and the relationships between director and myself and the church members seemed to be encouraging.
Our second set of boxes came on the following Sunday, thus we returned to many of the facilities bearing more ‘gifts’. The boarding school was thrilled with the shoes/boots, and the children proudly displayed their ‘wares’. Again the directors were happy to see us, and received our unexpected visit without a problem, which was a pleasant experience.
I had the opportunity to visit a mental hospital, where the director was warm and friendly. He allowed me to see the patients and photograph many, which gladly posed in groups, encouraging me to photograph them. After several requests for how we could ‘help’ him in the job of caring for these folks, he finally made a few suggestions, which we were able to accommodate him with.
Below is a list of the needs that I was able to fill (with your help):
1) shoes to 175 children – Boarding school, orphanages, and orphan shelter
2) 1000 syringes – orphan hospital
3) medicine – orphan hospital
4) juice – on going program – orphanage
5) diapers – on going program – orphanage
6) clothing – Boarding School, mental hospital, orphanage and shelter
7) socks – Boarding School and mental hospital
8) cutting boards and knives (theirs were stolen) – orphan hospital
9) cooking pots (theirs were stolen) – deaf school
10) VCR – orphan hospital
11) towels – Boarding School
12) sheets and pillow cases – Boarding school and mental hospital
13) providing food for 20 widows
14) 8 balls (basketballs and soccer balls) – Boarding school
15) 2 strollers – orphanage (will get more, store was out)
We are presently working in the following facilities:
2 – orphan hospitals
2 – orphanages
1 – Boarding School (120 of the 475 students are orphans, but we are trying to serving all the children, as many are in great need)
1 – school for the deaf
1- mental hospital (this is for adults)
1 – orphan shelter (holding facility between ‘street’ and transition to orphanage)
In addition to visiting several facilities, I was able to visit with several church members. Each evening (except Sat. and Sun.) that I was in the village we had Bible study for the ladies. We studied from the book, ‘Women of the Bible”, and they seemed to enjoy this, and asked that I continue these lessons during our upcoming summer visit.
As my trip concluded, I returned to Kiev with Lynn and a friend (so she would not return alone), and when we arrived it had just started raining. Within 4 hours, Kiev had become a winter wonderland, with probably 7 additional inches of snow. It was beautiful, though the roads were ‘bad’, our driver did very well.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your prayers and financial support for this organization and ministry. This continues to be a great avenue to show the people of Ukraine the love of God in addition to helping orphans and widows. Our prayer is that the Lord is pleased with the work ‘we’ are doing.
Peace and Blessings,