Ministry News

My First Kompas Park Youth Camp!

My First Kompas Park Youth Camp!

August 31, 2018

Spending a week as part of Youth Camp at Kompas Park was truly a blessing! The leaders were upbeat, dynamic and passionate about the children and sharing the Word. It takes a lot of energy and patience to lead a Youth Camp, and these folks never slowed down, lost focus or stopped smiling.  Their genuine affection and deep concern for the children was apparent in every aspect of the week. The entire program – from morning skits to afternoon games to evening talks and prayers – was both entertaining and effective in conveying the true meaning of Christmas.

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Coming back to Kompas Park

Coming back to Kompas Park

August 14, 2018

Danny and I had the opportunity to go back to Kompas Park Youth Camp in Ukraine this summer, and it was an encouraging week for many reasons. Both of us have volunteered at camp multiple times over the years (this was Danny’s 12th year!), and we praise God that He’s allowed us to be a part of this ministry over the years. There is something truly relaxing and peacefully familiar about driving through Khreschatyk Village into Kompas Park.

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Created to love like Jesus, but I’m still learning how

Created to love like Jesus, but I’m still learning how

July 27, 2018

I was thrilled to return to Ukraine again this summer to serve at Hope Now’s Kid’s Camp. I wanted a break from my normal routine and to be with my Ukrainian friends again. I desired to be in a different culture and to see the children I’ve gotten to know over the years. I was excited about the normalcy of going to Ukraine again in the summer. But I wasn’t necessarily ready for conviction…


So often I fail at loving people the way Christ calls me to. I am quickly thrown off by my own selfish desires, focusing on my own agenda rather than the needs and wants of others. Truthfully, as Christ followers, we should be constantly in a state of loving others. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to dislike people who are different from us rather than love them. But Jesus told us to literally love our enemies (which is way easier in theory than in practice, but yet I am called to do this). He modeled what real love looks like; He is love. If I’m honest, I fail every day at loving people like Jesus did.

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Great Reasons to Give to Charity

Great Reasons to Give to Charity

May 22, 2018

Today, this simple verb is treated with a degree of tension that is often quite palpable. We live in an age of self-identification where knowledge of your personal story and self-awareness are perceived as strong character traits. Modern themes about being your own self, saving for retirement and looking after Number 1 resonate throughout social media as though our ancestors never really knew what was important. 

Hidden within the disturbing meme is the emerging truth of who we are becoming as humans while the fabric of society wears thin.

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How did you spend your Spring Break?

How did you spend your Spring Break?

April 20, 2018

When Cyndee asked me to join the team going to Shpola Orphanage to teach at English Language Week, I have to admit I didn’t feel the same kind of excitement I usually have leading up to trips to Ukraine. Maybe it was the thought of being away from my life in the states during Spring Break, or maybe it was the idea of staying at the orphanage for a whole WEEK without the possibility of a shower and comfortable bed, or maybe it was a bit of dread for what I expected to be a tiresome week only to be met with a stressful week at work on my return to Atlanta. Whatever the reason, my heart was not in a very humble place as I boarded the plane to Kiev. Thankfully, God showed himself to be much bigger and wiser than any of my selfish thoughts and worries.

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Easter Saturday - a journey through Smila

Easter Saturday - a journey through Smila

March 31, 2018

Ukraine has suffered a very harsh winter this year which has affected many of the roads to and from the various towns and villages that we frequent. It seems that a combination of poor engineering, heavy trucks and corrupt local mayors have combined into the perfect storm of pothole purgatory.

So, when Cyndee was invited to speak at a Saturday morning conference for budding young Christians who had signed up as leaders for upcoming summer camps, I wished her well. The event was to be held in Lebedyn, about 20 minutes past Shpola...

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Sneakers needed!  Send a pair to an Orphan in need!

Sneakers needed! Send a pair to an Orphan in need!

February 22, 2018

I remember last May, when my mom and I had just completed the first week of camp for the summer: Shpola Orphanage Kids Camp. After a wonderful week of being with the children, hearing their stories, and building relationships, we realized that one physical item they were in dire need of was decent shoes. Already being in Ukraine, we quickly realized that our only option to solve this problem for upcoming camps was to buy shoes in Ukraine. Initially, we were happy about this fact -- Ukrainian shoes would be much cheaper than ones bought in the USA, and then we wouldn't have to lug them all the way across the world with our already limited luggage space. 

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Is this trip going to be a bust?

Is this trip going to be a bust?

February 01, 2018

I admit, visiting Ukraine in winter can be a bit tricky.  Certainly, it is not for anyone unaccustomed to dealing with ice and snow and as a native Minnesotan, I like to think I can handle harsh winter weather.  Plus, last January’s trip was full of snowy fun and navigating the roads was not a problem.  So far, it’s been a different story in 2018.  

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Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?

January 11, 2018

Every year, members of our family dutifully write up a detailed list of gift hints designed to make Christmas shopping productive, easy and usually amusing…  it’s a sort of grown up version of writing a letter to Santa, except for family members.  All of whom usually comply, except me.

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College Visits for Teen Orphans in Limbo

College Visits for Teen Orphans in Limbo

November 20, 2017

In Ukraine, after the 9th grade, children living in orphanages age-out or “graduate” and hopefully move onto a new institutional setting.  We say hopefully, because education beyond age 16 is not mandatory, and many kids without a support system or even the most basic help simply disappear into a street life of gangs, prostitution, drugs or worse.  Recently, we discussed the disturbing situation of orphans in Ukraine

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Teachers Link at Christian Ethics Training

Teachers Link at Christian Ethics Training

October 25, 2017

“Today, if money was no object, and you didn’t have to figure out how to achieve it, what would be your biggest dream for your ministry?”  My husband asked me that question a couple of years ago, and I brazenly blurted out “For Shpola Orphanage to become a first-class Christian school.”

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Back to School

Back to School

October 06, 2017

For a child at Shpola Orphanage in Ukraine, “Back to School” is very different.  It’s NOT the familiar waxy smell of crayons, freshly sharpened pencils and a cool new backpack.

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