Eleven years ago in July, marked the first time we ever went to the Pravdinska Orphanage. There have been many changes over the years for the orphanage and for us. But one thing remains the same, our love and dedication to the kids who are there. The orphanage has changed in size tremendously since we first began going there. There once was over 200 kids and now there are less than 50. Our role there has also changed and evolved. But we are thankful to have a better relationship with the director than we have ever had. We help in whatever ways we can. This summer your donations helped us give to allow them to repaint their floors (yes, they paint floors in Ukraine) in the classrooms and in the kids rooms where they sleep. After we gave the money she said it “helped us to solve a lot of problems before the start of the school year.” So thank you all for what you gave to help the kids at the orphanage!
We’ve gotten a couple of emails from the orphanage director at Pravdinska this week. One was to tell us that their school has been named one of the top 200 schools in Ukraine. Congrats to Pravda! They are, of course, very honored to be added to this list. A book is being published called, “Leaders of Ukraine – The Best Schools.” The school is hoping to get a copy, but it will cost them about 3500 grevna that they don’t have in their budget.
The other thing the director wrote us about was to ask for help with their garden. Every year they plant flowers all over to beautify the orphanage grounds. It does look amazing in the spring! They are also needing to plant vegetables in their garden: tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and beets. We would love to be able to help them with both their spring planting and the book honoring their achievements. They need about $200 for both things. If you’d like to help with the cost you can give here or by mail (PO Box 1148, Oakley, CA 94561). Thank you in advance!
This past Saturday, we hosted the 2nd Annual Taste of Ukraine in Paramount, CA and we had so much fun! For those of you who weren’t able to make it we thought we’d fill you in on what you missed.
These past weeks while the girls from OAU are at home, I went to orphanage to visit kids. One time I went there were no kids there, as they all were abroad or at home or at camp. Wednesday I visited orphanage again, this time there were seven of them. And that was kind of sad. I was thinking that they must feel lonely and nobody cares about them as there is no home for them even for summer… But that is the thing we see with our eyes. I am so incredibly thankful to God who cares about those kids more then biological parents could! And my prayer is that they will have amazing home in the heaven!
Also I met Dusya and her kids while I was in the village. That is always fun to spend time with them. I am impressed by Dusya’s strong and joyful character, how she lives with so many troubles and problems but she doesn’t stop caring about others.
I was honored to have her and Valya for one day and night in Sumy. We did a lot of stuff: did documents for her, went to the movies, went shopping, even came to home group. Why doesn’t she live in Sumy??
Once I visited our young mom Katya, Ruslan’s girlfriend (he’s a Pravdinska Orphanage graduate). And I was so happy to see how they love their baby Max, how hard Ruslan works to give his son everything he needs and even more. My hope is this family will be always together.
We still have Wednesday meetings at church, unfortunately there are not so many kids. The one girl who attends almost all meeting and sometimes comes to home group is Nadya. Once we walked home together and I found out she doesn’t have food so we decided to help her. She was so happy and thankful for help she didn’t even ask for. In such situations God reminds me verses from James 2:15-16 “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” People needs our actions.
In June our church team made two camps in villages. It was great time for us and for kids. One camp we have run for five years in Korshachina, so we know kids very well and they know us. I want to share with you one story. At very first picnic we made for kids 5 years ago Marina ‘s mom come to us drunk and yelled at Marina and us. Now her mom comes to church 🙂 Marina saw a lot of bad people and situations connected with alcohol. Her face is mostly sad all the time. This camp she started to open up and we become closer friends. At camp she read Bible stories and I feel like she is close to God.
Another camp was in village where big family from our church lives (they have 7 biological kids and 3 adopted). We were afraid of new teachers and kids, didn’t know how people would react. So we were asked not make pressure on kids about God or something. But one day our pastor was telling about what Jesus did for us on the cross and then prayed with kids and teacher who were there. And everything was great, thanks To God!
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~Lamentations 3:22-23
Isn’t it so amazing that we serve such an incredible God! No matter what we face we can trust that His love never ceases, His mercies are new every day, and He is always faithful.
These last couple of weeks have had some tough moments, but in the midst of it all we can hold tight to the fact that our God is in control. We are so thankful for His provisions and for what He is continuing to teach us all through the ministry we get to do here.
Here’s a look at some of the fun things we were blessed to be a part of lately…
We were able to sneak away and have some girl time with just Dusya and Vala. We had so much fun walking around a little town near her village and helping her get some of the things she needed.
A picture of our awesome team that made our two day program at the orphanage possible!
Ira helping a group of kids at the orphanage with their craft.
Super hero relays were a hit!
A few of the boys at the orphanage after they finished their photo scavenger hunt.
We woke up to such beautiful weather the other day that a trip to the village was a must. We spent the day fishing, playing games, and just hanging out. It was such a refreshing day for all of us!
Yesterday we celebrated Vala’s 8th birthday! We love her to pieces and are so blessed to be a part of her life!
She was so excited to celebrate and share cupcakes with her class.
These last two weeks we have been partnering with Third Bear Candles to help raise money for our upcoming post-orphanage camp. Thank you so much to everyone who has been a part of this and to those of you who have sponsored kids. We couldn’t do what we do without you! If you haven’t purchased a candle yet don’t miss out! The campaign ends May 3rd!
Looking forward to the next Open Arms Lately when we can share pictures and stories from our post-orphanage camp.
From the heart of Chelsea Rollins…
This Summer was my first time ever being part of an Orphanage camp at Pravda. It was a very different transition going from a week with our grads to four days with the youngest group at the orphanage. It had it’s challenges, but there were so many kids in my group that absolutely captured my heart. One little boy in particular was Dima. Dima is seven years old and has the sweetest little face and demeanor. Even though our words were few, we still bonded. Read More
- Birthday Party – Celebrating each of the kids with a party filled with special snacks, hygiene packs, music, and birthday games!
- Bonfire Night – S’mores, music, talent show and all kinds of campfire fun.
- Water Wars – Water games for days! We’ll escape the heat and have an amazing time.
Are you in?