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.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Going Again

Tomorrow (Monday) I'm headed for Ukraine again for the summer.  If everything goes well I'll be in Krivoy Rog late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning Ukraine time.

Please keep me in your prayers that my travel will go well and that I will be able to get a lot done over the summer.  Stay tuned for updates of my goings on.

Thank you for seeing my heart...я люблю вас!!

To see the photos below better just click on each photo to make them larger.

Many people ask me where it is in Ukraine that I go.  On the map it's labeled Kryvyy Rih which is Ukrainian for Krivoy Rog.  Others ask if there's radiation from the nuclear disaster there.  As you can see Chornobyl is on the opposite end of the country so I don't have to worry about that.  Others ask if it's safe with the war from russia in Luhans'k and Donets'k and the annexation of Crimea.  Right now it is but please keep praying for Ukraine.

Where Ukraine is on the world map.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Another Summer is Getting Closer

Wow, time has been flying by again.  With the winter weather summer seems so far away right now but in just a month I'll be back in Ukraine for another summer.  I'm not sure yet what's in store for this trip but I know whatever it is it'll be amazing.  I'm looking forward to spending quality time with the kids.

While I'm in Ukraine I would like to be able to sponsor some outings and treats for the kids and the folks in the disabled homes.  I would love to be able to sponsor an outing for the kids in Kyrgyzstan as well.  Right now my resources are very limited but I'm trusting that everything will fall into place.

If you would like to help and to be a blessing for those who have little you can click the "donate now" button on the right side of this page.  You can also click the "ways to donate" tab at the top of the page for other giving options.  There are so many that will appreciate it so much.

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

Children in orphanages don't get to go on outings without the kindness of others...

...or get to go to McDonald's.

The kids in the TB hospital can't get anywhere but we can take treats to them.

The same with the folks in the disabled home.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Blessings For Those Who Have Little

Today is the Family Day holiday in most of Canada where families spend quality time together.  My mind is on those who are in the institutions in Ukraine that have no family of their own to treat them or to take them anywhere.  In just over 2 months I will be going back to Ukraine for the summer to spend quality time with those who need it.  Right now my trip is mostly paid for but I would like to be able to do more for those who are considered to be the least of these.  Being a volunteer I don't receive a salary for my work and blessings, like a picnic or some treats, can add up quickly on a tight budget.

Would you please consider helping me to be a blessing.  To help out you can click the "donate now" button on the side of the blog page to give an on line gift.  You can also click the "ways to donate" tab at the top of the page for other giving options.  Every dollar helps and would be appreciated by so many.  Thank you so much.

Bananas and candy are a huge treat for those who don't get them very often

Spending time with and treating the kids from the boarding school to a couple of hours outside of the institution as well as some burgers.  (Boarding schools in Ukraine are for the disadvantaged kids, not like the private boarding schools in Canada.)

The same for those in the Boorie Ooglie disabled home

Spending time with and bringing treats to the kids in the TB hospital

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Packed Again

Well my time in Ukraine is finishing yet again.  The suitcase is packed, everything else is stored and I'm just waiting to head for the train to Kyiv and then my flight to Canada.  If all goes well I'll be in Halifax in the middle of the night Monday/Tuesday morning. I'll be back home again in May for the summer.  I can't wait.  :)

After an all night New Year's Eve party at Church of Truth I have kept pretty busy this past week with McJoyful, which we took on the road to a couple of hospitals and the kids disabled home.  I also made a Christmas Eve treat delivery to the guys at the Boorie Ooglie disabled home and managed a couple of trips to Shelter Plus Community Centre to help out at English Club and to drop off donations for their Paket Dobra (Good Package) programme.  Paket Dobra is kind of like the Samaritan's Purse shoebox programme.  People fill up a bag with gifts for Christmas presents for kids in the orphanages or they donate money for someone to buy the gifts.

So the Christmas season is over, today being the Canadian equivalent to Boxing Day.  We had a white Christmas (January 7th) here with the snow blowing in on Christmas Eve.  I guess I'm being acclimatized to the Halifax weather before I leave.

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

New Year's Eve at Church of Truth.  On New Year's Eve in Ukraine people dress up in costume like we do for Halloween.

At the children's hospital for orphans.  Orphans don't go to a "regular" hospital here when they're sick.

At a children's TB hospital

Christmas Eve delivery of bananas and candy to Boorie Ooglie (Brown Coals) men's disabled home.

When you donate to the Paket Dobra programme they take your picture.  On the wall behind me is "fill it!" in Ukrainian.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Another New Year

At the end of 2016 I'm thankful for the year behind us.  It was an amazing year, the best part of which I was able to get back to my work in Ukraine.  I'm not going to do a year end review of my activities.  All of that is already posted on previous blog entries.  I'm looking forward to 2017.  We have a few days off for the holiday then it's back at it again until the Christmas holiday.  We have been having a lot of fun with the kids at McJoyful giving them a Christmas celebration they might not get otherwise and they are loving it.

I'm disappointed that I'll miss the last week of McJoyful (it runs until January 15th) as I have to head back to Canada, leaving Krivoy Rog on the 8th.  I'm praying that in 2017 that I'll be able to get back to my work here long term.  I'm hoping to get a residence permit so that I can do that.  It's going to take some miracles to make everything happen.  I ask for your prayers that it will happen this year.

If you would like to help out my work in a tangible way I (and many others) would appreciate it so much.  I don't receive any salary for my work.  It is all volunteer using my own funding.  To give on line you can click the "donate now" button on the right side of the blog or you can click the "ways to donate" tab at the top of the page for other giving options.  Thank you so much.

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

с новым годом!!  Happy New Year!!

Kids often have that wide eyed look of wonder at McJoyful.

A couple more people I get to work with.  Karina in the middle grew up in an orphanage and came to McJoyful as a kid.  Now she's helping to host it.

This is one of my "sons."  With the look on his face I can't help but wonder what he's up to.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

There's No Place Like Home For Christmas(es)

I've been in Ukraine for almost 2 weeks now and it's almost 2 more weeks before I head back to Canada.  The time is flying by but I'm enjoying every minute of it.  Christmas season in Ukraine is an amazing time to be well as any other time of the year.  :)  The 1st week I was just settling in, catching up and getting the jet lag over with which seemed to hit me harder on this trip.  I think it was due to the lack of sleep on the Toronto to Warsaw flight.  We are pretty busy right now and having a lot of fun at McJoyful Christmas which started this week.

So for the next 2 weeks until it's time to leave I'll be at McJoyful almost every day.  Please keep me in your prayers.  Thank you for seeing my heart.  Till next time...я люблю вас!!

Have a very Merry Christmas and may God richly bless you all in the new year.

Some of the team I get to work with this time.  It's such a blessing and honour to work with them.

The TV and newspaper came to interview my friend about McJoyful and then asked why I came to Ukraine.