Today , the 17th was special again because we visited the orphanage for handicapped children. We’ve been coming here since 2004. Many of the children are now teens and have grown so much. Many photos were taken, Pastor Yuri’s church kids put on a drama and we had special games and crafts prepared for the kids.
At noon, we visited a place where many 6-7 year old kids actually ran to us for hugs. They were dressed in their best clothing as if welcoming special guests. It was a really a heart-warming moment. I (Mike) spoke to the children while holding a little girl who rested her head on my shoulder. The director thanked us for the little time we were there. She said it really does make a difference for these children.
Thursday July 18: A 5 ½ hour train-ride to Kiev in a comfortable new train. Left Dnepro with many tears and great memories. Pastor Ruslan picked us up and arrived in Korosten for supper and our stay is in a Bible College dorm with bunk beds. (I’m getting too old for this- Ha Ha) .
Friday July 19: Visited the village orphanage that we’ve been supporting. Gov’t has helped with new windows but faucets and toilets are badly needed for Sept. We’ll support with these necessities so the 180 children will use water in a proper fashion. Off to village of Irshantz where we did a day camp. Our team members played games with the children and did crafts. Each child left with one or more gifts. We later found out that the kids told their parents about us and the parents were amazed that everything was free and gifts were provided. All part of ministry!
Sat. July 20: Family Day in Korosten. The Canadian team partnered with Freedom Jam team (Korosten) and despite 3 rain showers, families were entertained with songs, games, crafts, clowns,face-painting etc. This is something new in Korosten.
Sun July 21: Last full day in Korosten. Besides eating well, we met up with the Freedom Jam kids for a time of games and devotion. Sarah DiFrancesco gave a “from the heart” lesson on God’s never-ending love. Many responded to her invitation for salvation. Many new friendships were built and those crazy Canadians are at the end of their journey exhausted but fulfilled.
Mon. July 22: The day was spent in Kiev taking in the sights via a walking tour with our friend Vladimir. It’s a beautiful city , old European style with a ton of history. Met up with Andrei’s family (he and Tanya were at our banquet last year) . They’re doing well. Had a Ukrainian meal together catching up with news.
Tues. July 23: Homeward bound. Our team members were quite amazing. All 10 of us were involved with this mission trip, each according to their strength and ability. The people of the cities and towns we visited were touched by our presence. They said they were blessed and honored to have us. They should only know that it was we who were blessed and honored.
We’re home, tired but with a sense of accomplishment. Thanks for your prayers and thoughts.
God bless Canada and God bless Ukraine.!