You probably remember, that when the war started on February 24, 2022, the orphanage was ordered to release all of the children and send them “home” to their guardians. This was due to the fact that nearby military targets had been bombed and therefore the government needed to rehouse those affected residents. They needed to use the orphanage to house displaced families, so the children were sent “home” and became scattered all around various small villages in the area. Many of the kids were sent back to the very people who caused them to be taken to an orphanage in the first place. Some went to poor relatives, who can barely afford to feed themselves, let alone additional children. Our team has continued to do everything in our power to maintain contact with the children, and to help them survive by making regular visits to check on them and to bring them food and essentials.
Amazingly enough, some of our sponsored kids had handwritten letters ready to give to our team when we recently arrived to bring food bags to them. Can you imagine that these precious children, who even in the midst of a war, decided to sit down and write a letter to their American sponsor? So, just to give you a little smile for the day, we’ve decided to include some of these letters here for your reading pleasure:
“Hi. I’m already 14 and that means I can soon get an internal passport (like an ID card.) My family stayed here in Ukraine because we didn’t want to leave. We love our country. I pray every day for this war to end. My mom and I go to work. We work in people’s gardens. When we finish with this work, we will get more work picking strawberries and raspberries. Since the war started, my family started spending more time together than before, which is great, I think. I also found some good friends, who believe in God and read the Bible. And how are you? What’s new with you? Praying for you and for our Ukraine. With love, Anya”
“Hello, soon I will be 13. I spend a lot of my time with my family. We all stayed in Ukraine because it’s a good country. I found a lot of friends. We hang out every day, play soccer, play water games, and do other stuff. I pray every day for this war to end, because I want to go back to school and see my friends, my teachers, and caregivers. My mom and my sister go to work. They do the gardening and pick strawberries and raspberries for people. And how are you? What’s new? I’m praying for you and for peace in Ukraine. I hope to get a letter from you soon. With love, Dima”
“Dear sponsors, thank you very much for everything you’re doing for us. Thank you for helping us in such a hard situation. I’m doing ok. My life is somewhat normal. I study online. Yesterday, I had to write an online test, which was a success. Grade 9 is good here. I’m going to have summer break soon. I especially want to thank Lena and Inna for bringing food and for visiting us. Love, Yura.”
“Hello my dear sponsors. How are you? I miss everyone, my teachers, my friends and really want to see them all. I really want this war to finally end, so that we could go back to school. And then I hope everything will be fine. I can hear the jets flying quite often. All these days of war I’ve been staying home and helping my mom. We have chickens, ducks, goats, and lambs. I get up very early in the morning, go outside and take the goat outside. My mom milks it and then I take it to the pasture. Will we have camp this year?”
Hi! I’m staying at my grandpa’s at the moment. When the weather got warmer, we started to go fishing. My brothers and I play soccer together and ride bikes. I’m really thankful that you pray for me and remember me. I usually help my grandpa, but also play games sometimes. Also, I have news! I have a new baby brother. His name is Valeri. Could you teach me a few more Korean words in your next letter? I wish I could meet you one day. Stay safe. Sasha.” “I’ve stayed at my grandpa’s since February. And I’m going to spend my summer break at grandpa’s too. We play outside, help grandpa, go fishing and play games. Then, I fixed the bike and we started riding it to the river to get water for watering the crops. From Zhenya.” “I’m spending my summer break well. I go fishing every day. Even in the war. Love, Nazar.”
“My dear sponsors, This is Artem S. writing. I’m doing great. I really like the present that I received from you. Especially I liked the hammock and the cap. My sisters, brothers and friends also loved the hammock. This summer I’m going to go to Cherkasy to study there to be a carpenter. My cousin will go there too. My uncle Dmytro and aunt Lena will be helping me. My cousin has doubts about my choice of career. He thinks I should become an electrician, which I used to want to do, but I don’t really like this now. Recently, my little brother fell of the roof and mom took him to the hospital in Cherkasy. I hope he’s going to be ok. His arm was swollen. Generally speaking, I’m fine. I found part-time and pretty easy job. The salary isn’t good, but I’m glad to have it. I moved to our summer kitchen. Now I can finally get enough sleep. Wish you all the best. And hope you’re both well.”
Because of the war, at the moment our efforts for our Orphan Sponsorship Program are largely one-way; meaning we focus on bringing food and other essentials out to the children, as opposed to encouraging letter writing back and forth from sponsor to child. But occasionally, our kids surprise us and have a letter for their sponsor already prepared and we are glad to receive these and bring them back to the States. Unfortunately, due to the shockingly high cost of diesel, compounded by the danger our team members put themselves in with every delivery, we are not able to bring many individual sponsor gifts or presents to the children at this time. However, we must continue to ask for your invaluable financial and prayer support, which helps us minister to all the orphanage kids displaced by the war, whether they have a sponsor or not. Thank you for your faithful support for our children. It’s wonderful to hear that they are praying for their sponsors too!