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Prayer Requests

TUESDAY TALES – 11/02/16

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img_0012For months, we have wanted to do a harvest festival for kids in the village. But we ran into problem after problem ranging from not being able to get permission, no where to do it, and dates not working out for people being able to come and help.

As Monday got closer and we had a few of the regulars over, we got to talking about what they planned to do on Halloween. It was clear we needed to have a safe place for them to come. Now that being said, we at that point still did not have heat, just the one room that was being heated from a small wood burning stove. We cleaned what could and just decided to make some food, have a few fun costumes, and have games with candy. We had 6 kids in our one-stop room and it was a blast. The night started with kids finding costumes, played some crazy games, and end with Captain America (who was the hit of the night), reading them John 3:16 and giving them a challenge to memorize it in Russian and English with the promise of prize next time we meet.

img_5895As thankful as we are to just have a little room that is literally everything from where we sleep, cook, clean, hang out, and now do ministry, it was clear that night that it would be really helpful to get some running water in the house. Because we had little kids, there were multiple times we had to stop the festivities so they could bundle up to then trek outside to use the hole we call a bathroom. When they are only able to come for a couple hours this hurts the flow of our activities.

We couldn’t be more thankful for all the help, prayer, and support from those of you who are so faithful to give. We hate to feel like we’re asking often, but we need your financial support for our all-purpose house. Since we run every part of our ministry from here, it would be incredibly helpful for us to have running water, a toilet and a shower in our house. Please don’t think we are just trying to make our house fancy. If it was just us, we’d be fine with no plumbing. But seeing as this has become our home base for all ministry, and it’s cold now, we’d really like to make it a functional place to serve the people of Ivanivka.

Every day we have visitors in our all-purpose living/bedroom/kitchen/closet-room. Having running water would allow us to cook and clean dishes for these visitors. We currently wash and rinse with well water in tubs on a table in our everything room. A toilet will help in moments like at our harvest festival so kids don’t have to bundle up in the cold to walk out past the fence to the hole we dug for a toilet. Running water would allow for a washing machine to help wash clothes, sheets, towels, blankets not just for ourselves, but also for people like Dusya. She has more than once told us how washing is the hardest thing for her all year, but especially in the freezing winter temps. And a shower? I think you know why a shower is necessary. 🙂 And realistically it isn’t gonna cost that much to make it all happen – around $1130. The break down looks something like this: Shower – $600. Toilet – $60. Sink – $120. Pipes – $50. Digging for drainage, piping, water pump – $300.

If you are able to contribute to these needs, please use the PayPal button below, or by sending donations to us at PO Box 1148, Oakley, CA 94561. We are so, so thankful for any amount you can give to help support us with this specific need!




VIKA & TOLIK – NEEDS UPDATE

By | Fundraisers, Prayer Requests, Village Ministry | 2 Comments

img_9928Got another visit from this sibling duo today. This is literally how they are sitting here at this very moment, watching a movie on our couch/bed as I write this blog from across the room. They came in today with a few embarrassed requests that quickly turned into a full list of things they need. Vika in her same dirty pair of gray pants and worn out, too-small shoes. Tolik in his same outfit as yesterday, and little canvas tennis shoes in the 30-something degree weather today. They both need new shoes, pants, warm socks, beanies, basically a new wardrobe. We are going to be in Sumy tomorrow (to celebrate Sasha’s birthday actually!) and will hopefully have time to purchase a few of their needs. If you would like to contribute to helping with these purchases, we would be so thankful for your help!



TUESDAY TALES – 10/26/16

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This img_9915past year has been full of changes and sometimes we haven’t fully understood where God was taking Open Arms. Except we knew it was the village. This summer was different than we expected as we thought we’d be able to do a lot more ministry in the time we were here. But it turned out to be a lot of time spent working on our house and preparing for future ministry. Not even fully understanding what we were going to use the house for, but knowing that we needed to fix it.

This past week has given us a glimpse into why God lead us to buy this house, why we’ve been fixing it up. Not to be cheesy, but the phrase that has been coming to mind all day has been “if you build it, they will come.” Today alone we had 2 unannounced visitors at different times throughout the day. First Tolik came by because we had offhandedly given him an invitation a few days ago. As we sat on the floor playing cards and dice games, he opened up about life at home with his mom.img_9894He shared how he wishes he was still in the orphanage. A couple hours later, we got another knock on our gate from his sister, Vika. She was also tired of being at home and was looking for a safe place to hang out. It was nice to have Tolik and Vika, as well as Dusya and her kids all over for a few hours this afternoon. Even though we were all confined to one room due to lack of heating in the house. We are super thankful for our little woodburning stove that heats at least the one room! Even as they all were leaving a few minutes ago, they asked if they could come back again tomorrow.

Today is just a small example of why we’re doing all the work on our house. We are so thankful to all of you who have blindly and generously contributed to allow us to be here and do the work we need to! We would not be able to have these moments like today without you. This week are are working on getting gas to both heat the house with and cook with (a real stove and oven!), as well as water piped into the house. 20161026_191856This will be an amazing improvement for us here! If you would like to contribute to help pay for these continued improvements you can use the PayPal link here. And if you would come alongside us to pray for us we would be so very thankful! Especially as we work on gas and water this week specifically and spend time with kids and friends here. And also as we plan and try to organize a harvest festival day next month.

TUESDAY TALES – TRAVEL PRAYER REQUESTS 10/18/16

By | Prayer Requests, Tuesday Tales, Village Ministry | 4 Comments

Today, in just a few hours actually, we will be making our way to the airport to fly back to Ukraine. Our team is beyond excited to get back to the village. Because of traveling we might be late on posting a blog next week. But we are very excited to share with you all the new adventures that will happen in our time in Ukraine. We covet your prayers and would love to have you partner with us on praying for some specific requests.

-Safety for travel and our time in Ivanivka
-Doors to open in the village for us to do more ministry
-Tolik and Vika
-Ministry at the orphanage
-Our house: the remodeling going on for future ministry

We will keep you posted on Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat on here as we are able! Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

TUESDAY TALES – 09/06/16 (FOR TOLIK & VIKA)

By | Fundraisers, Prayer Requests, Tuesday Tales, Uncategorized, Village Ministry | One Comment
After years of visiting the village, we thought we had a good idea of the need for kids and family support. Since moving there, it seems like sadly, that’s all we can see.You may remember this video about brother and sister, Vika and Tolik, that we posted a year or so ago.

IMG_9024We met these adorable siblings at the Pravdinska Orphanage and quickly learned that their mom lived just a couple houses away from the orphanage. Depending on the mom’s sobriety and level of neglect, the kids bounce back and forth between their mom’s house and the orphanage. This summer we ran into Tolik a few times walking around Ivanivka and were able to chat with him a little. We were worried about him a little based on his physical appearance.

We recently found out that Vika and Tolik (in 5th and 8th grade) are no longer at the orphanage and are both attending the public school in the village and are living with their mom and step dad. To tell you the kind of heart that Tolik has, we’ll share a little story of what recently happened. Tolik was buying school supplies that he needed. It was clear that he didn’t have enough money to get all the things he needed. But he didn’t let her know that, IMG_9498and made sure to let her pick the giant white hair bows that she wanted. Thanks to Dusya and her initiative and discernment, we’ve been able to contact their teachers at the school to find out what they need. It has been made clear that their mother is unwilling or unable to pay for their needs (things like notebooks, pe clothes, lunch at school, and other necessities). Vika actually just told Dusya that they haven’t been eating because no one has paid. This is obviously breaking out hearts and we are looking for sponsors to help pay for their monthly needs. If you would like to help support Vika and Tolik with a one-time or monthly recurring donation, please use the PayPal button below. Checks can also be mailed to us at PO Box 1148, Oakley, CA 94561.



There have been other factors that have come into play with these kids and our heart in wanting to help them. If you would like to know more about how to help and pray for them, please contact us for more info. Thank you so much for joining us in loving these two and many others like them.

3 DAYS AND COUNTING

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imageThe countdown is on – we leave for Ukraine in 3 days. In case you missed it, we moved from the city of Sumy to the village of Ivanivka. As excited as we are to be living in the village, we are also experienced enough to know that it isn’t going to be without its challenges. It is going to be a huge change from the privileges of city life that we are used to. We firmly believe in the power of prayer. We are looking for people to come along side us and pray for specific needs. If you would like to be a part of our daily prayer team, please send us an email at openarmsministry@gmail.com and we will send you a specific prayer request. We would be so grateful for your prayer support as we start this new chapter of our crazy lives in Ukraine. We are looking forward to seeing what God does through the ministry and through your prayers this summer!