Ministry News

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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Challenger Youth Camp 2017

Challenger Youth Camp 2017

September 25, 2017

Several weeks after our Shpola Kids Camp, Hope Now USA was blessed to host another camp, but this time for high school teenagers, called Challenger Youth Camp.  Kompas Park welcomed the oldest orphans from Shpola orphanage, kids that had previously graduated from Shpola as well as many teens from local Cherkasy churches. Sometimes, teenagers can be pretty difficult to work with, but with the right approach and a positive attitude, our team of Ukrainian and American volunteers found it a joy!  You can check out all the fun we had by watching the attached video.

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Dreams Come True for kids from Shpola Orphanage

Dreams Come True for kids from Shpola Orphanage

August 09, 2017

For the past several years, volunteers from Hope Now have been coming to Shpola orphanage to spend a few days with the children, to get to know them and to bring God’s word to them. These visits have become very special to the orphans and to the volunteers alike. The leaders began to dream about how awesome it would be, to take the children outside of their everyday environment and bring them to Kompas Park, a top-notch Christian camp facility. Then they started talking about this idea together and it was clear that they all had the same desire. Of course, it is easier to reach a destination with others than by yourself. So, the planning the camp of our dreams began.

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Get well soon, Marina

Get well soon, Marina

May 19, 2017

"All that is here is the best of my life! I'm happy that I have so many friends who love and appreciate me and I them! The Lord does everything for me and I remember that! With God it is easier than in a past life!" -- Marina, age 17

A year ago, those thoughts would have never entered Marina's mind. She was a scared, defiant and self-conscious 16 year old, seeking attention from anyone who would give it. She told me "I really want friends, but I am unable to make any." 

Throughout her teen years, I saw how Marina was positioned as an outcast in

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Christian Education Updates

Christian Education Updates

May 08, 2017

As part of our Christian Education program, God has called me to use the connections I’ve made in Ukraine, to link orphans and their families to the local community. So, in addition to our Youth Group for Shpola Orphanage Graduates, I recently invited Sophia Christian School’s theatre group to Shpola Orphanage to get acquainted with the children and staff there. Together, the Shpola kids and Sophia School kids put together a great assembly!

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Update! New Windows Coming soon!

Update! New Windows Coming soon!

March 31, 2017

We had a great day today in Ukraine!  Last month, I introduced you to a widow named Valeria and her two young daughters who stay at Shpola Orphanage.  Today, Inna and I paid another visit to Valeria’s home in Lebedyn. 

This time Pastor Sasha from the local church came with us to measure the window that will soon be replaced. Initially, Valeria didn’t want anyone from the church to help her, as she is currently exploring other beliefs, and has gone away from...

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