Hello Friends and Family,
Dallas and I arrived home safely Sunday evening after a wonderful trip to Ukraine. We had a great visit and very productive 2 weeks. Thank you to the many prayer warriors for your constant efforts on our behalf. Praise God! Your prayers were answered. Below is our trip summary.
Our trip goals were: (1) provide food for 30 widows until summer, (2) visit the facilities in which we are presently working to assess and fill their needs, (3) visit two new facilities to assess needs, and (4) visit two other orphanages to check on the health status of two children to whom we have been providing assistance.
We arrived in Kiev without a problem and were met by a friend who is a fellow Christian and an independent adoption facilitator. Since Ukrainian school children were out of school for their spring break, tickets for the train to the Oblast were unavailable, so we stayed the night in Kiev and left the following evening. On Sunday we arrived at our first Oblast stop where we had a wonderful reunion with friends and enjoyed a great worship service.
Monday a.m. we were off to the first of many stops to visit city officials, the orphanage, and the local boarding school. After warm greetings and a brief visit, we left with the list of items needed by the orphanage and boarding school. Both facilities were friendly and clean. The children quickly remembered us and came running to meet us. The older orphans enjoyed talking with Dallas about the U.S., customs, sports, and school. The little ones just wanted us to hold and hug them. It is such a joy to see that the items that have been previously purchased are being used and appreciated by the staff and children. That afternoon we attended a wonderful workshop on cerebral palsy that a U.S. doctor, his wife and daughter (who has CP), along with Dr. Bill Wharton (friend, missionary, and fellow worker in the Lord) presented to about 60 local people. The workshop was an effort to inform and educate locals as to how to work cooperatively for change in their community for their children with CP, as well as demonstarating that children with CP can have a productive future.
Each evening, I taught a ladies Bible study on topics of their choice. I find that it is important that we discuss issues important to them, and not what I think they need to hear.
Tuesday we woke to SNOW!, We needed to make a trip to the ìbig cityî to order some of the items that were requested by Mondayís visits. We made a new contact with a shoe factory, visited our contact for sheets/pillowcases, and ordered walkers, too. Everything went very smoothly.
Wednesday, (still snowing) we were back in the first city, sorting boxes of humanitarian aid which had been sent previously. This aid would be distributed to several different facilities.
Friday we finished up some personal business and, after the evening Bible study, we made food baskets for the many widows. Each bag was filled with soap, toothbrush, Tylenol, aspirin or Advil, toilet paper, 2+ kilos of sugar, 1/2 kilo of salt, 2+ kilos of flour, 2+ kilos of rice, 2+ kilos of macaroni, and cheese. Each widow received these bags along with money for meat, if necessary.
On Saturday, we picked up all the ordered items (see the car loaded with purchases in the photo gallery) for Monday distribution. The weather had cleared and it seemed that spring was in the air.
Sunday was a wonderful time of worship and fellowship. Food bags, clothing and medicine were distributed. That evening Dallas and I had 15 guests for dinner and visiting.
Monday, we went to the orphanage and boarding school to deliver the requested items and some additional things for the children, workers and directors. Dallas helped the little ones try on their new shoes and clothing, and they responded with hugs! Everything was very well received — please see the photo gallery for photos of children in their new shoes and clothing. We also had opportunity to visit the local mental hospital where we dropped off some much needed sheets.
Monday afternoon we said good-bye to our dear friends and fellow workers for the Lord, and returned to the ìbigî city, where we would stay and work until we left for Kiev to go back to the States.
Tuesday, accompanied by a local board member/translator, we were off to several of the facilities with whom His Kids, Too! is involved. It was a true blessing to sit and visit with the directors of the orphanage and hospital and hear how the children are doing. Many have been adopted, but others are overlooked due to physical impairments — an heartbreaking situation!
The directors modestly made their requests to us, and we assured them we would find what they needed and bring a few extra things as well.
Wednesday was spent purchasing the needed/requested items. Then on Thursday we were off to a new facility that is home to 50 infants and children with ìspecialized needsî. Our hearts were touched by the children, many of whom have HIV. The facility, which is sparse but clean, is quite a distance from town. The workers and director were open to any assistance and graciously thanked us for taking the time to visit their facility. We ordered much needed walkers (there were none at all), and crib mobiles for the tiny infants (see photo gallery). We completed our work on Thursday by returning to the other facilities to distribute the purchased aid and to visit with the children.
We spent Friday discussing and preparing our humanitarian efforts for the next three months with one of the local His Kids, Too! board members. We left on the evening train to Kiev, and had a pleasant train trip. Upon arrival we did a little shopping at St. Andrews until it starting snowing.
Our time in Ukraine was over, and we feel that it was time well spent. Below is the list of items purchased and the aid that was distributed to orphans, hospitals, boarding schools, the mental hospital and specialized baby home.
- 110 new shoes for boarding school orphan children
- 330 pair of new socks for boarding school orphan children
- 110 toothbrushes and soap for boarding school orphan children
- 110 sheets and 110 pillowcases for boarding school orphan children
- 110 towels for boarding school orphan children
- 4 soccer balls, and 3 basketballs for boarding school orphan children
- miscellaneous clothing for boarding school children
- 46 pr. of new shoes for orphans, slippers for older children
- 30 pr. stockings for orphans
- 46 new toothbrushes for orphans
- 2 soccer balls, and 1 basketball for orphan older boys
- board games for older orphan children
- clothing for 46 orphan children (socks, underwear, shirts, pants)
- 500 syringes for orthopedic hospital
- food mixer for orthopedic hospital
- requested medicine for orthopedic hospital
- printer and ink cartridge for printer (purchased computer previously) for the orthopedic hospital
- 5 walkers for orphanage
- clothing, underwear, caps and baby blankets for orphanage
- 2 huge strollers for orphanage
- 60 lbs of new infant/childrens clothing for specialized baby home
- 400 pr. of surgical gloves for specialized baby home
- food and miscellaneous items for 30 widows
Overall, the trip was wonderul, and productive. We were unable to go to two facilities due to bad weather or the directors being absent but we sent photos and funds for aid in humanitarian efforts to one of those facilities via a local American missionary. We will return to Ukraine in June for several weeks for humanitarian purposes as well as to help host a Vacation Bible School. We want to thank you for your continued support through prayers, encouragement and financial gifts to this minstry. Without your help, His Kids, Too! could not help these deserving people.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments and may God Bless you as you serve Him.
Teresa and Dallas Fillmon
Director/His Kids, Too!