Tuesday Tales

TUESDAY TALES – 11/02/16

By | Fundraisers, Prayer Requests, Tuesday Tales, Village Ministry | No Comments

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!

TUESDAY TALES – 10/26/16

By | Fundraisers, Prayer Requests, Tuesday Tales, Village Ministry | No Comments

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.


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 – 10/04/16

By | from the heart of Chelsea Rollins, Tuesday Tales, Village Ministry | 3 Comments

img_8157It has already started getting cold in Ukraine, and we couldn’t be more excited about the work that is being done on the house. Misha (Dusya’s brother) has been doing some much necessary work to the inside of our house. Misha grew up in the Pravdinska Orphanage with his sister and graduated from there 10 years ago. The project of the house and the work being done has been a blessing in many ways this fall already… For us, it is nice to have someone we know and trust doing the work. We probably otherwise wouldn’t have been able to continue progress on the house while we were in the States. Our sweet Dusya has also been helping at our house and basically keeping everything on track and in order. We’re so blessed by them both and the work they’re doing!

img_9371It has also been nice to have them there as our house and the project of working there has become a safe place for Dusya. She loves a project and has loved sending us updates and pictures as she makes progress in different places. It’s also been perfect for Misha because he is in need of extra work to support his family.

We’ve also been blessed by the restoration of our relationship with Misha. Years ago, he seemed to have a heart to follow God, but has had a lot of struggles since graduating and has lost some of what he had as a young teen. While we were close with him during his time in the orphanage, somewhere along the way, he became uncomfortable with us and we lost the connection with him. When he started prep work in the summer, we were able to reconnect with him and restore some of the relationship that used to be. Sasha even has been able to share with him about God and we’ve been praying for continued opportunities to help bring him back to God.

And if all of those blessings weren’t enough, the work getting done on our house is wonderful! Misha is fixing and drywalling all our walls (they had chunks missing and practically no square corners). He’s also taken out our “pechka” (sort of a brick oven to heat the house) and building us a fireplace instead. Dusya has been cleaning and clearing the parts of our yard that we didn’t get to this summer, and cleaning up after Misha progresses around the house (anyone who has remodelled or repaired in a home knows the dust and dirt that ends up everywhere). We are so excited to get back there in a couple weeks and see the changes they’ve made and be able to continue ministry in a much more livable space! A huge thank you to those of you who have donated to help us fix up our almost-100-year-old house/ministry base! We can’t wait to give you more updates as we keep working on it and sharing ministry moments we have because of it.

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TUESDAY TALES – 09/27/16

By | Orphanage Ministry, Tuesday Tales | No Comments

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!

Here are some pictures that she recently sent us of the kids on a field trip to Kharkiv. She said it was a great day as the kids were able to learn and have a fun day. Stayed tuned for more updates.

TUESDAY TALES – 09/13/16

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imageSince last week’s blog was a little heavy, we thought today we’d share a happier story from our time in Ivanivka. This summer we spent a lot of time at and around our house, doing much needed repairs and replacing of things that were as old as the house (almost 100). We didn’t spend as much time doing organized events or programs in the village as we originally thought we might, but we still saw God moving and preparing hearts for future programs and relationships.

Throughout the summer, we took a lot of walks through our neighborhood. Sometimes alone, sometimes together, often praying for the people of Ivanivka – our neighbors, the families, the kids stuck in neglect, the parents trapped by alcoholism… One day as Chelsea was walking she said a quick hello to a group of kids nearby and they all giggled. One little girl yelled out, “you’re beautiful!” to her as she passed. Not too many days after that, unfortunately after Chelsea had already left to go back to the states, those same kids were playing outside near our house. Melissa heard them from our yard… They had apparently asked around and learned Chelsea’s name because they were standing in the street, loud and clear, yelling “Chelsea!!”

imageIt was a clear reminder and affirmation to us that even though it often feels like we aren’t making an impact, these kids are wanting relationship and waiting for us to reach out. Please be in prayer for us because we are trying to put together a harvest festival for the village kids in October. Stayed tuned for more details and ways you can be involved.


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.

Tuesday Tales – 08/30/16

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As summer comes to a close, we have been reflecting back on our time in Ukraine and our first summer in the village. This was a big change for all of us. Some days it was really rough… Feeling dirty with no sink, shower, washing machine, or clean anything sometimes left us asking ourselves why we chose to pick up and move to Ivanivka. But then God would do something to gently remind us that this is exactly where he wanted us and knew we were home.

Now that we’re home for a bit with consistent internet, we’re going to continue with Tuesday Tales highlighting moments from our summer in Ivanivka.

IMG_8078When you live in an almost 100 year old house that no one lived in for the past 2 years, all your electrical –
wires, outlets, fixtures, meters – are a little out of date. Since we know some moms will be reading this, we won’t tell you that for a while we had 2 live wires plugged straight into a surge protector that then brought electricity to our whole house. 🙂 Thanks to Dusya who always knows what to do in the village, we were able to hire her uncle Petya to redo all the electrical wiring in our house. This was awesome because not only is he a retired electrician who needed the work, but it was also someone we could trust. He was at our house multiple times over the course of a month or so, and Uncle Petya quickly became a family favorite every time he was there. Some days Sasha would drive with him to the closest city to buy supplies, some days he’d be standing on a stool working on the wires, but he was alway happy and worked hard on his task for the day. One day when he and Sasha made the drive to Okhtyrka for more supplies, Melissa had specifically been praying for Sasha to have an opportunity to share with him about God. She hadn’t even said anything to Sasha about it. When they got back that day, Sasha told her how on their drive they were able to talk about God. It was an awesome answer to prayer and encouragement to us that even just in fixing up things in the house, God was working.

If you’d like to donate to help allow us to continue our Village Ministry, click here. Thank you!

Tuesday Tales – 08/02/16

By | Tuesday Tales, Village Ministry | One Comment

thumb_IMG_8638_1024Expectations are a funny thing. Sometimes they inspire you and push you forward. Other times they can leave you feeling disappointed. We have had a lot of conversations about expectations lately. What we expected this summer to look like. Where we thought ministry would be by now. At first it was easy to become burdened by feelings of disappointment, but through processing together and separately we have been reminded of God’s plan and faithfulness even in the little things.

We have seen God moving slowly and setting the foundation for ministry here in the village. We are hopeful that slowly but surely God will continue to open the doors for revival here in the village of Ivanivka. Reading through Ephesians reminded us of God’s grace and faithfulness. It also reminded us of the call to make the most of every opportunity.

thumb_IMG_8771_1024We have seen God set the foundation as we go on prayer walks and say a simple hello to our neighbors. He is moving through dinner conversations with Dusya and her two kids as we talk about our favorite Bible stories. We see Him moving in the beauty of His creation that surrounds us and the sense of home we have here. God is reminding us that although there have been obstacles and we have not been able to do the camps and things we had expected, He is still faithful. He is still working. Whether it be through connecting with the workers at the market each day, talking to a stranger while swimming in the river, or Sasha being able to talk about God with the man doing our electrical work, He is moving. We also recently connected with the director of the orphanage and received an update about the handful of kids there this summer. It will be exciting to see how God continues to use that relationship.

So while we may not have any “big” news to report, we can tell you that God is still moving and working in our day to day life here in Ivanivka.

Tuesday Tales – 07/21/16

By | Tuesday Tales, Uncategorized, Village Ministry | 3 Comments

It’s hard to believe that two weeks have already passed since our last Tuesday Tales post. (And that it took us till Thursday to actually post because – no wifi in the village.) We have lots to catch you up on! Lets just say it’s been an adventurous couple of weeks full of traveling, an engagement, lice (yes, you read that right), new windows, and the beginning stages of village ministry.

imageLast week we had the opportunity to escape village life and travel as a team to Western Ukraine. We stayed a couple nights in the beautiful city of Lviv and a couple of nights in the Carpathian Mountains. It was a week full of rest, adventure, an amazing excursion in an Indiana Jones like jeep, and excitement. The highlight of the trip was getting to watch two of our own get engaged!! It was an exciting day and we could not be happier for Sasha and Melissa.

In the midst of all the excitement we ended up with lice. Thank you mayonnaise, essential oils, and plastic bags for helping us get rid of it. Please pray that we were able to get rid of it completely. It’s hard to kill it all without a washing machine or shower.image

Expectations are a funny thing. We dream and plan and try, but find ourselves waiting more than we anticipated. We were thinking that tomorrow would be a “Big Day” kids outreach event in Ivanivka. Our church was coming with a team to help run games, a Bible lesson and all kinds of fun. But we ran into some road blocks with needing more official documents and permission than we thought. So we are talking with the Sumy church and working towards it happening later this summer. For now, we keep working on our house and establishing ourselves as residents of Ivanivka. As we sat on the floor of our veranda, with dust and construction and chaos in the rest of the house, gaping holes to fill where the new windows got put in, and layers upon layers of wallpaper waiting to be stripped and refinished, we felt like God has us in this time reminding us to trust that His timing is always perfect. We thought for sure we’d have more formal ministry running by now, but it seems like God wants us to wait, to keep preparing our home, to show the people of Ivanivka that we’re here to stay. We’re wanting to do things the right way and to build trustworthy relationships. Even though it will take longer, we will jump through the hoops that we need to so that Village Ministry can reach it’s full potential. Please continue to pray with us as we dream and plan and wait on God.

IMG_9905Please be praying for us in this next week. The heat is getting to us, we are tired, we had lice. All sneaky little ways we feel that Satan is trying to slowly tear us down. We are so grateful for all of your continued support and prayers. We truly could not do this without you.