20 Years!

Our God’s Hidden Treasures’ office picnic this year was extra special. Even though we had it at the end of October as opposed to the end of July like usual because of the pandemic, it didn’t matter, because we had something amazing to celebrate. It is the 20 year anniversary of taking Yura, Zhenya and Ruslan from the Boy’s House orphanage to their new home. 20 years ago Nita got permission to take them, a couple in the US made a donation to buy them a small house out in the village, and Nita found Ukrainian host parents for them. As far as we know this was the first time this was ever done in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government had labeled these boys “imbeciles” but Nita knew better. For 20 years these guys have repaired hundreds of wheelchairs, worked on repairs and remodeling in our office, and haved proved countless times the government got their diagnosis wrong. They are now self sufficient, doing their own budgets, taking care of their own house and two of them are now married with children. Nita got to stand up as their mom in the wedding.

Working with these guys every day is a constant reminder of how God can transform lives when his disciples are simply willing to listen and go where God sends them. I can’t imagine what their lives would look like had they been sent away to the adult institution like so many other orphans at that time in Ukraine. This is why we continue to reach out and minister to children at the orphanages. Whatever label the government might give them, God has labeled them children of God, and we want to share the hope and love of Jesus Christ with them.

God’s Hidden Treasures is blessed with an amazing staff. Each one has been gifted in different ways by our Lord, and it is a joy to see them use those gifts to help the forgotten people of Ukraine. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon together at a local restaurant celebrating this special ocasion.

Please keep our staff in your prayers as we continue to reach out to people in need during this pandemic. If daily infection rates reach 9,500 people per day, the President of Ukraine has warned there will be more lockdowns. The lockdowns are very hard on many people, including those that live in the villages who become completely isolated. We thank you for your prayers and support.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

https://www.godshiddentreasures.org/supportus

Picnic Home Visits

God’s Hidden Treasures has been hosting an annual summer picnic for people with disabilities for many years. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic we were not able to do a picnic this year. So we decided to bring the picnic to the people. We put togehter gift packets with food, fresh fruit, treats and other goodies to bring to every new family that has received a mobility aid from God’s Hidden Treasures this past year. Also, we delivered a special GHT letter to all of our families. That’s over a thousand letters delivered! We were thanksful to have many wonderful volunteers to help deliver those letters. Nita and our GHT staff personally delievered all the gift packets!

We were sure to wear masks and take all possible precautions and people were overjoyed to have visitors come into their homes bringing gifts. We praise God that we were able to be an encouragement to so many and while we all couldn’t gather together in one place, we were happy that we could do small gatherings at home.

Sometimes the smallest actions can make the biggest differences. We are so thankful for your actions to help support God’s Hidden Treasures so we can make a difference in the lives of people during this pandemic. Your prayers, your gifts, your encouragment makes a big difference to us. Thank you and God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

https://www.godshiddentreasures.org/supportus

GHT CAMP 2020

God’s Hidden Treasures Camp 2020

It finally happened! Just when it looked like we would not be able have any camps this year because of the coronavirus, God opened a window of opportunity for us to make it happen. The government reopened childrens camp in August and the rush was on to get a team of volunteers together and an amazing group of campers. Even better, we were the only group at the camp so we had the whole place to ourselves.

Things were a little different this year. We all had our temperatures measured before each meal, the pool and river were closed, no ice cream store, and yet we seemed to have more fun than ever.

Every morning we began our day with breakfast together, followed by morning worship, Bible study and crafts. After lunch we would play games, the moms would have tea and the kids would put on a talent show followed by a Bible skit for the moms.

After dinner we would have our evening worship, with Bible stories focused around our theme of redemption. I was lucky to have the chance to be in Bible study with Luba and our moms and dads who really loved hearing about God’s redemption. During the discussion it was asked, what happens if I feel like God can’t love me? We just happened to be talking that day about the Apostle Paul, who was on his way to arrest and persecute Christians when Jesus appeared to him and changed his life. If God could love and redeem Paul, if there is a place in his kingdom for an adulterer and murderer like King David, a denier and deserter like Peter, there is a place in His kingdom for you. No matter how unloveable we might feel, through faith in Jesus we are redeemed and become children of God and Christ’s righteousness becomes our own. This message was heard by each and every one of our campers, who learned just how deep and wide is the unending love of Jesus Christ.

Our volunteers!

This camp would not have been possible without this amazing group of volunteers, who poured out all the love in their hearts on these amazing campers. But this year we had three new volunteers.

Anton, Vova and Yura are three young men from the Boy’s House orpahnage in Bila Tserkva. They have been apart of our yearly summer VBS at the orphanage, and we see them every Friday as we visit the Boy’s House. But this was the first time they’ve joined us at camp. They were so excited that they were able to come, not as campers, but volunteers. They were so happy to help with all the crafts and Bible stories. They loved sharing their talent with all the moms and campers.

The highlight of camp was getting to sit next to these guys at every meal, listening to them tell us how thankful they were to be here and the fact that they got to come by themselves! They said at every meal that is was like they were in a restaurant. The three of them shed so many tears the final night at our campfire, they were so thankful to have so many new friends.

God is so faithful, we were blessed to be able to do this camp, I know it meant so much to every camper and parent who came. We praise God that we had good health all week long. We want to thank you for all of your prayers for this camp, and for our ministry to people in need, during this pandemic. God bless you.

The GHT team!

Fighting for the Future!

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Sadly for Ukraine, coming out of the Soviet Union with many old Soviet buildings, most of the country is not handicap accessible and there are no easy fixes to retrofit some of these old flats and buildings.  While I do believe Ukraine wants to change in a positive way for people with special needs, with the war ongoing in the East, it is not the top priority for most average Ukrainians. Even sadder, is that Ukraine can no longer blame the hand it was dealt, because new buildings continue to lack handicap accessibility, even when it is currently the law that all new construction should be accessible.  These photos are proof!

This summer Pastor Kostya and Sasha Chorney have again borrowed wheelchairs from God’s Hidden Treasures to go and test how accessible different areas of the city are for people who use wheelchairs.  In these photos, they are in a brand new area of town, where they’ve just put in a bunch of new stores, restaurants, and a government assistance building, and not one of them is accessible.  Every building has stairs in front with no ramp.  This is 2020, and Ukraine is not doing better, it is not building a brighter future for people with disablities.

I’m thankful to Kostya and Sasha and those with whom they are working to raise awareness and effect change in our city Bila Tserkva.  One of the ways they are trying to make a difference is bring awareness to handicap parking spaces.   There is a lack of caring and respect that people show when they park in handicap spaces as well as a lack of enforcement from police in ticketing people who do this.

At the one of the major grocery stores in town, I arrived with Sergei,  young man who works in our office and uses a wheelchair,  to find all the handicap parking spaces taken, the majority of which by people who did not have a legal right to park there.  After we did some filming on how handicap accessible the store and the area around it was, Sasha called the police to report people parking in the handicap spaces.  When the police showed up 30 minutes later, people quickly got out of those parking spaces.  The police wrote two tickets and gave close to 20 verbal warnings yet people continued to pull into the handicap parking spots with the cops right there.

With little handicap accessiblity in the major stores, and almost no handicap accessiblity in most apartment buildings and homes, you can see how challenging life can be for people in wheelchairs.  It is so easy to be isolated.  It is nearly impossible to be independent, and support yourself.  Just look what happened to one of these used wheelchairs after just two hours of checking the handicap accessibility in our city!

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Every person in a wheelchair, every person with special needs, is a treasure of infinite value to our loving God.  God’s Hidden Treasures is continuing to reach out and provide help to those who are isolated and struggling in Ukraine because of their disability.  We do this by providing mobility aids, by hosting camps for children with special needs, by our picnic in the park for the disabled, through our church,  by doing  dozens of home visits every month, make hundreds of phone calls, and so much more.

Obviously with the COVID-19 outbreak, we were not able to have our camps and picnics this summer.  We hope for a chance for camps in the fall.  Please be praying for God’s Hidden Treasures, and for activists like Kostya and Sasha, as we look to make a positive difference and fight for the future of people with special needs and disabilities in Ukraine.

Quarantine Ministry

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For over a month now, Ukraine has been on a national quarantine.  All non essential buinesses are closed, all public gatherings are banned, all public transportation is closed to non essential workers,  the rules for who is allowed out are getting more strict every week.  The majority of people who we help at God’s Hidden Treasures are in the highest risk group for the COVID-19 virus.

So how can we help people at risk, without putting them at even greater risk of catching this disease?  We have gotten creative at God’s Hidden Treasures.  All documents to receive mobility aids are submitted online and all contact is made by telephone.  Our office is closed during the week to our usual visitors,  however we are still delivering wheelchairs to people who are in urgent need of them.  We are still delivering food packets to poorer families and people who are shut in.  While the Boy’s House orpnagage is closed, we are Skyping with some of the orphans and doing our best to spread joy and hope in this challenging time.  Here is our staff at work during this challenging times.

 

We ask that you would be praying for all those effected by the pandemic in Ukraine and around the world, but especially the elderly shut-ins who live alone.  This week Lena and I loaded up our car to deliver food packets to elderly shut-ins.  We delivered a food packet to a woman who lives alone, no family to help her, she only gets visits from a social worker a few times a week if she is lucky, and the occasional help from her neighbors.  How do we walk the line of being and encouragement, bringing hope to the lonely without also putting them at unnecessary risk.  If a family member can come down and pick up the food packet they do, if not we will bring it to their door, and try to pray for them while wearing our masks and keeping our distance.

We share the good news, that we are never alone. God is our refuge and strength, our ever present help in times of trouble.  We have a savior in Jesus who knows all our hurts and understands loneliness, and gives us the hope of everlasting life through the cross.

This video I shared a few years back about remembering those who are lonely.  As this crisis has kept people at home, seperated loved ones, please watch and remember, even the smallest acts can bring the biggest joys into people’s lives.

So think about those that you can reach, through whatever means you can.  Share the love of Christ with others.   Please keep God’s Hidden Treasures, especially Tanya and the wheelchair team that bring mobility aids to people’s homes, as well Dr. Tamara and Nurse Olga, who are doing Skype therapy with their patients, and all the people with disabilities and special needs stuck at home, in your prayers.  

We appreciate all your prayers and ask for your continued support so that we can continue to minister to the people of Ukraine hardest hit by this pandemic.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

Night to Shine 2020

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On February 8th we hosted our third Night to Shine prom for people with special needs.  It was an amazing time where guests experienced an unforgettable night with limo rides, paparazzi, red carpet, food, dancing and more.  Just take a look at all of the fun.

Our guests enjoyed showing off their amazing talents!  We enjoyed hearing poetry, listening to different singers, and watching some awesome dance routines.

As always, the highlight of the night, was when every guest was named the king or queen of the ball, because that’s how God’s sees them each and every day.

As always, I share two or three stories with the Tim Tebow Foundation from different guests, parents and volunteers.  I thought I would share just a few of these with you.

Here is a heartwarming story from one our our Night to Shine volunteers.
Alyona Leonova is an amazing young woman, she has helped raise her two younger brothers after her mother passed away.  In 2018, she got married, her and her husband have a 15 month old daughter.  She helped recruit so many volunteers for our event.  She has cerebral palsy, but chose to be a buddy.  This is what she wrote about her experience.
“I was so lucky to be a volunteer for Night to Shine for the third time.  Of course, I’m not your average volunteer, because I myself use a wheelchair.  Those who don’t know me, say “she needs a volunteer herself.”  But for some trying to communicate with people with special needs can be intimidating, but it doesn’t scare me.  If I can do something good to help these special guests, I will.  If it means getting my whole family involved, inviting all my friends, acquaintances, or any person who cares to be a volunteer, I will do it with joy.
When you see how the eyes of these special guests shine joyfully like little children, when you dance with them, take selfies with them, your heart fills with love and you feel this unbelievable energy, like the Lord is giving His strength and Spirit  to everyone in the room. I wish there were more nights like this during the year.  I wish there were more events like this around the world.  I would want to volunteer at all of them, year after year.”

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This was written by Larissa, whose daughter Ira came to our Night to Shine for a second time.
“I’m so amazed how special my daughter was treated at this fairtytail ball.  It was fairytail we never wanted to end.  Last year, we came from far away to attend this dance. We did not know anybody.  I was so blessed to meet such wonderful people, now I have a whole new Night to Shine Family we look forward to seeing all year long.
What an amazing group of volunteers who clapped for our children like they were their favorite Hollywood stars.  The limo ride, red carpet, food and photo zone are things my daughter will never forget.  I’m thankful as a mom, that you gave us the opportunity to have some rest, and to look on our happy, beautiful children, whose eyes were shining with joy with smiles that wouln’t leave their faces.”

Night to Shine has been an incredible event that has brought joy and hope to many across the US, Ukraine and many different countries.  We are excited to be a part of this movement.  Please keep God’s Hidden Treasures in your prayers, as well as all our guests who came.  Thank you and God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

Christmas and New Year Celebrations!

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During the Christmas season in Ukraine we had the opportunity to visit around 300 homes bringing gifts and joy to families who received wheelchairs and mobility aids from us this year.  As always, we had many volunteers who dressed up as Father Frost and his grandaughter the Snowmaiden.

Below you can watch a video of what our visits look like, with our most experienced Father Frost, Pastor Kostya.

 

Christmas visits weren’t the only fun and joy we brought this winter.  We were blessed with the opporunity to take two Christmas trips to Kyiv with kids from the oprhanges, school for the deaf, and children from the Cerebral Palsy Center along with other kids with special needs.

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Our first trip was to the Aquapark in Kyiv.  Valeriy from our office took a group of boys from the orphanage and girls from the school for the deaf to this awesome waterpark as well as McDonalds in Kyiv.  Everyone had a blast!

Our second excursion was for younger children with special needs who are too young to attend our Night to Shine Ball next month.  We took a group of children to a chocolate store where they enjoyed a master class in chocolate making, followed by a trip to Sofisky Square, where Kyiv’s Christmas Tree is located, and of course, no trip to Kyiv is complete without a visit to McDonalds.

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Now if it were up to me, the kids would have made the chocolate, and I would get to be the judge who eats it all and declares a winner!  But each kid was able to make many different kinds of chocolate treats and got to take it all home!

Kyiv is a beautiful city, with so much history.  The church square we visited was that of Sophia’s Cathedral, which was founded in 1011AD.

The kids really enjoyed the view as well as a trip to McDonalds afterward.

Christmas is always an amazing time of ministry and outhreach for us at God’s Hidden Treasures.  While we love these special events, we also continue to deliver wheelchairs, visit stroke patients, hold our church services, and all the other year-round ministries of GHT.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support.  As always, if you’re interested in supporting GHT, you can find more information here.

https://www.godshiddentreasures.org/supportus

 

God bless,

Pastor Scott and GHT!

Ministry Van

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Whether it’s a wheelchair delivery, food packets, stroke rehabilitation, mobile medical clinic, visit to the orphanage, summer camp, Night to Shine prom, picking up volunteer teams from the airport, repairing homes for people in need, our summer picnic, or our Christmas visits, our van is essential to getting the job done.  The van helps us bring hope to the forgotten of Ukraine.  That is why we have begun a gofundme campaign for a new van.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/replace-old-blue-new-van-for-ght

To read more about why we are doing this campaign, please read on.

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Our current van has brought wheelchairs to different regions all over Ukraine.  For the 12 years we’ve had it (we bought it used), we’ve put over 250,000 miles on it doing ministry.  That is ten times around the world worth of ministry miles.  Sadly, a few times over the last few years, we’ve had to put some of our programs on pause as we are waiting for the van to be repaired.  The time has come to look for a new van. This is the van we’re dreaming about, to fit more wheelchairs and more people, to do more ministry!

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This larger van will help us be able to take more wheelchairs, especially on trips to new regions, where we are training new churches and charities to do what we do.  It will help us to pick up teams from the airport and take children with special needs to events, without having to always hire a van and driver.  This van will be used every day for amazing ministries.

Here are just a few videos to show how this van will be used.  The first is our wheelchair ministry.

 

 

 

The van also acts as Santa’s sleigh, here is a video of Pastor Kostya and Olga from our office visiting a lady who received a wheelchair from GHT.

 

 

 

 

Our van helps us to put on special events like Night to Shine, a prom for children with special needs sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.  As well as our annual summer camps for children with disabilities.

 

 

 

A new van will be a huge blessing for God’s Hidden Treasures and the people to whom we minister.  Please consider supporting our gofundme campaign!

The link to our gofundme campaign is here.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/replace-old-blue-new-van-for-ght

 

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

Celebrating Two Years!

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With joy and thanksgiving we celebrate two years of our “Church of Hope” or “Церква Надія” (Tserkva Nadeeya) in Ukrainian.  It is a celebration of two years of joining in worship, singing praise, preaching the good news that Jesus our savior has paid our ransom and given us the hope of eternal life by his glorious grace through faith. That’s right, two years of praying for one another, being there for each other, growing together in faith.  More importantly, it is two years of a handicap accessible church, a place where those who are often most forgotten, have a place to call their own, a place to hear of God’s unending love for them.

Young or old, male or female, wheelchair, walker or cane, it doesn’t matter, we all love to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, with a few fun hand motions to go along as well.  The Church of Hope is a place for everyone.

We ask you to join us in prayer that God would grow His church in Ukraine.  That those who need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, those who are isolated and alone, would hear about our Church of Hope and join us.  Please pray for wisdom for us as we consider buying land in Bila Tserkva, to build our own church building.  We thank you for all your support and prayers.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

Summer Recap v.2

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Summer is an amazing time for God’s Hidden Treasures. During the months of June and July we host a number of teams from the US, run two summer camps for children with special needs, a VBS at the local orphanage, and a picnic for people with disabilities.

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Impact from Southern California has been sending us mission teams for many years to help run a VBS for children at the Boy’s House orphanage.  We spent the week singing worship songs, playing games, doing crafts, teaching Bible stories and sharing Christ’s love with these children.

The weeks following camp we held our annual picnic in the park for people with disabilities.  Even though we had some rain that day, no one went home.  Everyone stuck around to enjoy the food, fellowship, worship, and of course, the talent show.

The last big event of summer was our summer camp for young adults with special needs.  Helping run this camp was a team of Ukrainian volunteers, many of whom were former campers along with three Americans from Iowa.  God worked powefully in this camp, bringing peace into the hearts of youth who have been through some serious hardships and traumas. The stories from some of our new campers truly broke our hearts.  Life hurts, but God heals, and we were amazed to see God’s power to mend hearts.

Along with these special events, we continued to deliver wheelchairs, rehabiliate stroke victims, visit people in their homes, bring food packets, give financial aid, and much more.  We even had a chance to repair the leaking roof of a women who lives alone in a single room with no gas or running water.  All these things are possible only through God and the support he provides through churches and individuals like you.  We want to thank you so much for all your prayers and for partnering with us in our mission to reach the forgotten in Ukraine.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures