Sunday, 13 August 2017

Memories Made in Kyrgyzstan

I've been back in Halifax for 2 weeks now and I'm still trying to readjust and get caught up with things.  My travel from Ukraine went smoothly overall with no lost luggage.

Before I went to Ukraine last spring I sent some money to my friends at Loads of Love for Sergey in Kyrgyzstan to take the kids at Orlovka Orphanage to the beach.  Just like going to McDonald's is huge to kids in Ukraine who don't get there very often, going to Lake Issyk'ul in Kyrgyzstan is huge to the kids who don't get there without the kindness of others.  It turned out that there was enough money for 2 trips which took place recently, one for the kids at Orlovka and a second trip for disadvantaged families that Sergey serves.  Thank you so much to those of you who donated to my work and to my friends at Loads of Love that made this happen.  It created some lifetime memories for everyone.

If you would like to help in my work to show God's love in action please click the "donate now" button on the right side of the blog to donate on line.  To see other giving options please click the "ways to donate" tab at the top of the page.  It will be appreciated by so many.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for seeing my heart.  Till next time...я люблю вас!!

The kids of Orlovka Orphanage.  Sergey is in the middle with a hat on.

This beach day was made complete with a picnic of plov the national dish of Kyrgyzstan...mmmmm

I love seeing those smiles.

Disadvantaged families.  Those of you who were on Go Teams Kyrgyzstan 2007 and 2013 will recognize our driver Is-har on the far right.

I think the little girl's shirt says it all.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

And the Packing Starts Again

I'm down to my last few days in Ukraine and the packing for Canada has begun.  This summer has flown by so fast.  On Friday we finished the camp in Stone Field village.  It was a great week and people in the village appreciated it so much.  This week is busy visiting with some friends before I leave and getting the final things done.  If everything goes smoothly I'll be back in Halifax on Sunday at supper time.  I'm praying I can get back to Ukraine soon.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Thanks for seeing my heart.  Till next time...я люблю вас!!

Here's a few photos of the camp in Stone Field.

The photo doesn't do it justice...this is an 18 passenger van fully loaded...and we had room left over for a team of 9

Our 1st arrivals

Bible lesson in the church.  The word on the wall translates to love.

Church of Praise in Stone Field

Our team

Our team again

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Between Camps

Camp season continues to be in  full swing here with all of the camps that have been sponsored through Loads of Love.  A couple of weeks ago we did our camp at the Social Dorms.  These dorms are kind of like public housing in Canada.  It was a really tough week which was magnified by 35 degrees plus temperatures.  April who is here from out west is helping out with the camps also.  She describes the Social Dorms camp best in her blog.  I can't do it justice.  You can read it and see some photos here:

After the Social Dorms camp we ended up having a few days off as another camp was postponed until August; however, we filled that time by going with our friends to do more camps with the kids in the public schools.  Then this past week we did a camp at one of the TB Hospitals.  This is a rehabilitative hospital where there's kids who have TB in their bones, others who are in later stages of the disease as well as kids there for preventative treatment if TB is in their families.  These kids can be here from 6 months to a year and sometimes longer.

On the last day of this camp we found out that some kids were discharged to go home but they didn't want to leave because of our camp.  After spending 6 months to a year away from their families they still wanted to stay...and the hospital let them stay.  This camp had a huge impact on the staff as well.  They were having just as much fun as the kids and couldn't believe that people would travel to Ukraine to be there instead of going to the beach on vacation.  It touched them deeply to see our hearts for the kids.  The director of the hospital said:  "These last 5 days seem to have gone by in just 5 minutes."  This camp was definitely one of the highlights so far.

Right now we're between camps but as some of you are reading this we are on our way to spend a week in a village outside of town doing a camp for 150 kids.  It's the largest camp of the season and we'll be off the grid for that time living a rustic lifestyle.  It'll also be my last camp this season as I'll be heading back to Canada in less than 2 weeks.

Please continue to keep me and our camp in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for seeing my heart.  Till next time...я люблю вас!!

The kids at the public school

At the TB hospital camp the kids always wanted us to sign our names as part of their craft.  I wrote my name a LOT this week.

At the TB hospital

These 2 boys were not allowed out of bed and couldn't take part in many of the activities.  I made sure that they at least got to do the craft each day.

On the last day the older kids gave us a sign that they put hand prints and personal messages on.  The title translates to "Great Time"

The small kids each drew a picture that they made into a book for us.

Then the director presented us an official letter of thanks from the staff.  It's a very glowing letter of thanks.

The kids at the TB Hospital

Sunday, 25 June 2017

From Camp to Camp to Camp...

Camp season has started and we've been busy.  Our 1st big camp at the kids Rehab Centre finished this past week and tomorrow we start another camp at the dorms downtown.  I've also been helping out at camps at a couple of the public schools.  This past year a door has opened where we can go into these schools to talk about love and be good examples as well as do some activities with the kids.  So I've literally been going from camp to camp to camp.

These camps are having an amazing impact on the kids as well as the staff of the schools and institutions.  One really good story happened at the Rehab Centre camp.  One morning as we were preparing for the day our leader Lena T. came into the room in tears after talking with somebody on staff.  We thought something was wrong since we were already talked to for a small issue they had.  (Apparently one day our room wasn't as tidy as they wanted.)  Once Lena composed herself she said that the staff member was telling her about 2 boys who came to the centre a couple of weeks before we came with camp.

I'll have to back up a bit here and give some background about the centre.  The Rehab Centre when it opened was for boys who had drug addictions, hence the name.  Nowadays it's sort of a transition place for boys and girls when they're 1st taken from their families for the same reasons that kids get put into foster care in Canada.  The kids will live at the centre until their family life can be more stable and they can go back to their families but if that's not possible they will be transferred to another orphanage.

So these 2 boys came to the centre and were not adjusting to their new reality very well.  They were deemed as being aggressive by whatever standards are used here.  We hadn't noticed anything like that.  The staff member told Lena that because of our camp these boys were smiling for the 1st time, settling down and were having fun with us.  It was amazing to hear that.

Now we're looking forward to an amazing time at the dorms camp as well as the other camps this summer.  Stay tuned.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for seeing my heart.  Till next time...я люблю вас!!

Our theme this year is "Finding the True Treasure"
Our Team for the Rehab Centre camp
The little boy in the picture is one of the boys I mentioned.
The Rehab Centre kids.
The school camps team.
This school camp was a lesson in planting seeds of love where we planted flower seeds in the school's garden.
We heard that one of the schools didn't have a proper ball to play with.  Some schools have no budget for this.  So we went and bought them 6 balls and a pump.  I don't know who was happier...the kids or the teachers.
School trip to a play centre... didn't expect I'd be sitting on the sidelines did you?  :)
In this school camp the kids were asked to draw their families.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Gearing up for Camp Season

It's been a busy couple of weeks getting some things done and getting some activities in before the camps start.  I celebrated my birthday a week early using it as an excuse (not that I needed one) to take some of the folks from the Boorie Ooglie disabled home on an outing to McDonald's.  Then my friend Tanya B. made it even more fun by showing up with balloons, party games and a Happy Birthday banner.  It was so much fun for me to see them having fun.  When I went to see them again this past week at the home, to treat them with bananas and candy, some of them were still talking about my birthday.

Other than my birthday celebrations we've been busy planning and preparing for the camps (we call these DVBS in Canada).  Then the other day a bunch of us took a day trip to the camp in Krasnovka village.  This is a summer camp that was set up to fill a void so that disabled teens and adults can go to summer camp and have a time away from the institutions.  The void being that in Ukraine all kids get to go to camp as well as the younger disabled kids but the older disabled ones have little or no opportunity to go.  A few years ago Ira K. with Loads of Love purchased a farm in Krasnovka and converted it to a place where these folks can get away from the city to relax, get some decent food and fresh air as well as get some quality time.  They also have various activities and a DVBS programme.  This camp has done wonders in enriching the lives of those who wouldn't otherwise have such an opportunity. 

So as we gear up for camp season that's the latest of my goings on for now.  Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for seeing my heart.  я люблю вас!!

Banana and candy delivery to Boorie Ooglie

Preparing for camps
At Krasnovka Camp

Sunday, 14 May 2017

A New Summer Starts

It's hard to believe that 2 weeks have flown by already.  My travel to Kryvyy Rih went smoothly overall, except that Air Canada put me on an earlier flight out of Halifax and didn't tell me.  Fortunately I just happened to look at my boarding pass, saw the change and was able to barely get to the airport in time.  Once I got to Kyiv I caught the new fast train which got me into Kryvyy Rih when I could get to bed at a good time and voila, no jet lag.

These past 2 weeks in Kryvyy Rih have mostly involved getting reconnected with everyone, getting supplies and settling in.  Now that the May holidays are over things should get into a routine this week.  So far I have been back to English Club at Shelter Plus, I also tagged along with some friends to spend quality time with the kids at a TB hospital and a Family Day outing at a park for the kids from a boarding school.  School will be finished for the summer here on May 26th and after that we will start the camps.

So another summer has started here and it looks like it's going to be a great one.  Stay tuned for updates.  If you would like to help me to provide blessings for those who have little please click the "donate now" button at the right side of the blog.  You can also click the "ways to donate" tab at the top of the page for other giving options.  Every little bit helps and goes a long way in making someone's life better and is appreciated so much.  Please consider helping out.

Thank you for seeing my heart.  Till next time...я дюбдю вас!!

At a TB hospital

Family Day games in a park with boarding school kids

Some of the people that I get to work with this summer.