Village Life 2018

By | Open Arms Lately, Uncategorized, Village Ministry | No Comments

We’re here! We landed in Ukraine on Saturday night and made it home in time to ring in 2018 from our little village home. It’s always an adjustment being back in Ukraine (10 hour time difference, outhouse instead of toilet, no kitchen…) but we’re excited to be here! God has already been affirming us in our being back. We decided to move back with very little in the bank account, but trusting that God would continue to provide. And then on January 2nd, we were notified that received a very generous donation from a special donor – such an encouragement to start off 2018! Thank you again!

You may have seen on social media that we were able to go visit and bring gifts to Vika and Tolik in the hospital/shelter that they were in near us. There were four other little kids staying there, probably all from the same type of situation the Tolik and Vika are in. We came with an entourage – Dusya and her two kids, Vala and Andre, as well as Vasya who was visiting from Sumy. Dusya, Vasya and Sasha all grew up in the orphanage and it was neat to see them all loving on these kids. All 3 of them were eager to go to the store and buy cookies, candies, dolls, trucks, and other treats, not just forTolik and Vika, but for these kids. They excitedly told them that Ded Moroz (their Santa Claus) had dropped it off for their New Years presents. The kids were so excited for some outside interaction and little gifts. Plus the kids were just adorable so it was fun for all of us.

As for Tolik and Vika, they’re doing ok, though understandably having a hard time with it all. Tolik in the short time that we had there, brought up multiple times how bad things are with their mom. It was heartbreakingly hard to watch him visibly struggle through it all. While it will be better for them in the long run, it’s pretty sad, lonely, and scary right now. We’re waiting for a call from them to hear an update as they should now be in Sumy at a more long-term shelter. It’s not exactly an orphanage, but a place where neglected, abused, and/or orphaned kids generally stay up to 9 months before being moved back into their homes or a more traditional orphanage. Our sweet friend, Ira, will hopefully be able to visit them even sooner than we will. Please keep them in your prayers as this is such a hard transition for them both. We will keep you posted as we are able to get updates and visit them when we’re in Sumy.



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We have been behind on updates lately, but we wanted to pause today and say THANK YOU!! When we sent out our request for help with our plumbing for our village house, you guys blew us away with your generosity! We ended up raising over $3000! You are all amazing and we cannot thank you enough. Not just for this specific need that you fulfilled, but in your monthly, one-time, and special need giving. Thank you for your prayers, for your encouragement of us and of our work, and all of the ways you guys make Open Arms what it is. It may just seem like words, but we truly could not do this without each and every one of you.

As we all enjoy this season of family, holidays, shopping, and feasting, we pray that you are all blessed for the ways that you bless us and our kids. And as you shop, for all of you Amazon shoppers, if you didn’t know already, please shop instead. Support us when you shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #StartWithaSmile at and Amazon donates to Open Arms UkraineAll your shopping looks exactly the same an normal Amazon, but by shopping on AmazonSmile and selecting us as your non-profit, 0.5% of your shopping purchases is donated to OAU! amazonsmile


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.


By | Fundraisers, Uncategorized, Village Ministry | No Comments

image Moving to the village has had a slower start than we first anticipated. We of course understand now that it will take time to build the trust of the people of Ivanivka and that is what we have slowly but surely been doing. We have thought for some time how we would like to somehow get involved with helping the school that most of the kids of the village attend. Dusya’s daughter, Vala, is there and we have been able to go to her classroom before to bring sweets for her class. But we have been thinking and praying about more involvement. Yesterday we received word that they need some new windows before winter arrives. They need three big ones for of the classrooms, which happens to be Vala’s class. We really would like to help and think this could be a great opportunity to be more involved. It will cost about $450 total for all 3 windows. If you would like to be involved and donate you can click the button below. Thank you so much in advance!

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.




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A group from church has been going to a village right outside of Sumy for many years. Korshachin is a very poor village and many of the kids come from very bad homes. It is often said that village kids are worse off than if they were in the orphanage. These kids look forward to the time when church members come to love on them. Ukrainian Christians have their own Thanksgiving they celebrate and it just so happens that in Korshachin this year they will be going on our actual Thanksgiving. They are going to bring a celebration not only to the kids but also their families. We would really like to support them by helping them buy food and whatever else they may need. It is amazing the smiles they leave on the kids faces when they go. Please consider helping in anyway you can. Thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

10344397_927791577272314_48749131207735478_oThis is Ira with a group of the youngest kids. They are so precious!!!


By | from the heart of Anika Bachle, Uncategorized | No Comments

If you’re going to be anywhere in the southern California area this weekend, then this is for you! This Saturday, August 15th, from 5:00-7:00pm we will be hosting the 2nd Annual Taste of Ukraine fundraiser dinner! Last year we held this event and had so much fun with those of you who came that we decided to make it an annual event!

If you’d like to join us, please let us know you’ll be there by purchasing a $10 ticket through PayPal with the button below. If you can’t make it and would like to make a donation you can feel free to use the same button. 🙂 Tickets will also be sold at the door, but please shoot us an email to let us know how many people will be joining us.

If you’re still on the fence, here’s a bit of what you can expect to enjoy…

1097a9a2c36039e027e663759b61f5e99fa0a154262bffc8f80900a84ca2e446 Read More


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The mission of Open Arms Ukraine is to help the orphaned, abused, and neglected youth of Ukraine by providing physical, emotional, and spiritual support through Christ’s love. After 7 years living in Sumy in full time ministry, our American team is taking a sabbatical. Our team, as well as our board, feel it is important for a time of rest, reevaluation, and asking God to show us specifically where and how He wants us to continue to serve in our ministry.

Our Ukrainian team will continue to serve in Sumy for the time being. Our orphanage, post-orphanage, family and village ministries will all continue thanks to our local church and Ukrainian team members. Starting mid-June, Sasha will also be on a well-deserved break in the USA till the end of August. That makes Ira as our one-woman team, and we are so thankful for what God is doing in and through her to continue the ministry of OAU this summer! Please be in prayer for our sweet Ira as she serves her heart out in these next few months. We are excited for you to hopefully get to know her a little better as she shares updates over the next few month.

Though things are slowing down a bit for the summer, your continued donations are appreciated as ministry does continue. If you have any questions or would like more info please feel free to contact us at
Please be in prayer for our team in this time as we rest, seek God, serve, and wait for His further direction in this ministry. We are so thankful for your continued prayer and support and we can’t wait to keep sharing what God does.


By | from the heart of Chelsea Rollins, Graduate Ministry, Open Arms Lately, Uncategorized | No Comments

These last couple of weeks have been packed with so many different things. Here are a couple highlights from the major things we have had going on…


Many of you probably remember Slavik. We shared his story about a year ago and asked for your prayers and support. Last summer he was arrested for stealing and has since been on house arrest. It has been a long year for him as he has had numerous court hearings and had to face many of the people he stole from. Recently we attended his final court hearing. It was extremely nerve racking for all of us as we sat and waited to hear whether or not he would be taken to prison. We prayed with him and were able to have numerous conversations with him about how he wants his life to look in the future. We are so excited to share with you that the Lord had mercy on Slavik and he was only sentenced to parole. THANK YOU so much for all of your prayers!

*As I sat here writing this Slavik came in and noticed that I was writing about him. I told him that I was updating everyone who has been praying for him and he wanted me to say that he is incredibly grateful for everyone who has been praying and for everyone that donated to pay for his lawyer. We thank God that He has granted Slavik a second chance and continue to pray that Slavik will choose to live his life for the Lord.


Another highlight from the last couple of weeks is that we had camp for our post-orphanage kids. The theme was God’s Eternal Kingdom and our pastor did an amazing job sharing the truth. We challenged them to really think about their view of God and how they are choosing to live their lives. Kids were honest in their responses and a handful of them had really good conversations with some of the leaders.

To be completely honest, due to a variety of circumstances, camp was rather different and more difficult this time. However, we are grateful for the moments that we saw God moving in their hearts.

Thank you again to those who sponsored kids for camp! We couldn’t have done it without you!





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We are always blown away by the support that pours in to help send kids to camps! It took a matter of days to get every kid sponsored for this year’s spring camp and thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.

Nonetheless, THANK YOU! Thank you for caring about God’s children in Ukraine, for giving of your finances, and for your continual support as we share God’s love with these broken kids.

Here’s how you can be a part of what is happening:

Camp plans are in full affect with less than a week left and if you were hoping to sponsor or still want to be a part of all the goodness you are in luck! Every little bit makes a huge difference in helping bring extra special fun to camp – from a bonfire with s’mores to new camp equipment! So, you can continue to give by clicking the link below!

Also, PRAY! Prayer is huge as our team prepares for a weekend of ministry. From sickness to discouragement, Satan always tries to get in the way, but our God is big and your prayers mean more than words can say!

We are so grateful for all the support, love and encouragement! Be on the lookout for pictures and stories all that unfolds!