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

Summer Camp Vol. 1

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That’s right!  It is June, so we kicked off our first camp of this summer.  25 children along with 25 moms/dads/grandmas joined an incredible team of 7 from the Sending Place in California, along with some of the GHT staff for an amazing week of camp.  Every day we joined in worship, Bible studies, crafts, games and so much more.  Each child and parent experienced the love of Christ every day.

One of the things that makes this camp special, is we invite some of the children from Eastern Ukraine.  This is the third year we’ve had a group from Kramatorsk and the surrounding area.  It has been a wonderful experience getting to know these children and their families and build relationships with them.  They look forward to camp all year long.

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Grace with Misha, Vika, Masha and Nikita, all children from Kramatorsk

Another reason this year was extra special, is for the first time we invited two students from the school for the deaf to join our camp.

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Albina, Diana along with their teacher Oksana came to our camp for the first time.  Although three way interpretation of going from English to Ukrainian, to Ukrainian Sign Language was a challenge, it was so beautiful to watch.  God truly worked to show his love to these wonderful young girls.

We continue to pray for more opportunities to do ministry with the children from the school for the deaf in Bila Tserkva.

 

God is truly amazing.  He has been faithful every year at camp, and this year was no different.  The best part is, it’s just the beginning, we look forward to our camp with the Boy’s House orphanage next week, followed by our picnic and our camp for the older youth.

Please keep God’s Hidden Treasures and all our ministry this summer in your prayers.  Thank you and God bless,

GHT

New Opportunities!

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Last month we held our second Night to Shine prom for people with special needs.  Our hope was this year’s event would be even bigger.  We had 75 guests last year, and this year we had 90!  We were excited to have many new attendees.  One child who was too young for last year’s ball, cried when he saw all the photos online and he couldn’t be there.  This year, when he received his invitation, he was smiling from ear to ear.  The night was full of good food, red carpets, limo rides, dancing, talent, and so much more.

The best part of our evening, is when every guest was crowned the king or queen of the ball, because that is how God sees them each and every day.  Through Christ we are all heirs to God’s kingdom.  The crowning ceremony involved a big confetti drop and lots of smiles and hugs!

Probably, the most exciting story from our Night to Shine event involved a group who came for the first time.  As we looked to invite more people this year we reached out to the school for the hearing impaired in Bila Tserva.  Ten students from the school joined us at our ball.  They had an amazing time and they told us  it was a night like none other.  Following the ball we visited the school, to find out that it really wasn’t a school, but more of an orphanage/boarding school for children with hearing impairments.  Many of the kids live at the school year round, some get to go be with their families on weekends, some only during the summer, some don’t have families to visit.

Since in January we had the opporunity to take children from the Boy’s Oprhanage to the waterpark in Kiev, we thought why don’t we take the kids from the deaf orphanage on a trip as well.

We had a blast at the waterpark.  We enjoyed many different water slides, but nothing topped our one hour game of tag in the wave pool with the kids.  It was the first time at the waterpark for these children, and their eyes lit up seeing all the slides and pools and decorations.  When they got home, they were writing on Facebook, that it was a day like none other!  Of course, no trip to Kiev would by complete without stopping at McDonald’s!

We’ve been so blessed to get to know these children.  I look forward to spending more time with them.  We’re even hoping for the possiblity of doind a VBS in the summer with some of these kids.  We’re always excited to see God opening new doors for ministry.  Please be praying for these children, for God continued blessing on our outreach, and for all the ministry of God’s Hidden Treasures.

God bless,

GHT

Winter events!

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The last few winters we’ve been blessed by gifts from the Friends of Norway organization, to plan trips to Kiev for children from the orphanages as well as kids with special needs who attend our camp.  This year we took these two groups on a joint excursion to a chocolate masterclass and indoor water park.

Lviv Master’s Chocolate did a free masterclass for 10 of our kids from camp.  They were able to cut their own shapes of chocolate and decorate them.  They even were able to take home their delicious chocolates in a basket made of chocolate!  Every child enjoyed making chocolates just as much as they did eating them!  After we finished they even offered every guest a free cup of hot cocoa.

Following the masterclass we went to the water park with children from the Boy’s House Orphanage.  It has been a very snowy winter this year, so nothing quite like swimming and water slides in the middle of winter.

We were thankful to have some wonderful volunteers who helped carry the children in wheelchairs in and out of the bus as well as helping out with swimming at the water park.  Time flew by but everyone really enjoyed it.  Of course no trip to Kiev would be complete unless we went to McDonald’s!

Ukrainians love McDonald’s and our kids really enjoyed their Happy Meals and Big Mac’s.  We were so happy to organize this Christmas/New Year trip for the youth.  Lillia, Valeriy and Sergei from our office did a wonderful job organizing this outing.  God has blessed us tremendously to do special like this the last few winters.

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We look forward to all the amazing things God has in store for us this year.  Please keep God’s Hidden Treasures in your prayers.  We are just a week away from our Night to Shine celebration.  Please pray for Nita as she travels in the US and speaks at different churches.  Thank you for all your support.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

 

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at God’s Hidden Treasures!  As many of you know, it is a Christmas tradition for our office here in Ukraine to go and visit all the new people who received mobility aids from our organization the past year.  Through our wheelchair distributions and stroke ministry we know many shut-ins throughout Bila Tserkva and the surrounding villages.  A visit from Father Frost and the Snow Maiden is just the thing to spread Christmas cheer and the joy of Christ.

Lillia and Ira from our office put in countless hours on the phone organizing these visits.  Vadim our driver maps out the best course each day to visit all the homes in one region of the city.  Of course, along with our staff, we have many volunteers who play the role of Father Frost and the Snowmaiden.  Often they visit around 20 homes in one day.  We are so thankful to have so many wonderful people willing to bring joy to others.   Many of the visits are full of joy and smiles, others filled with tears and being an ear to hear about their life problems.  Whatever the situation in a home, our volunteers do a wonderful job spreading joy.

Father Frost never comes empty handed.  To every home he brought a gift bag of sweets and a letter of Christmas greetings from God’s Hidden Treasures.  Of course in Ukraine, Father Frost never just hands over presents, they have to earn it by singing a carol, or reciting a poem.  If they’re a little too shy or can’t remember any, then we all sing together.  Every person we visited was so thankful.  Many times they commented how wonderful it is to have an organization that doesn’t forget about people like us.  People can often feel forgotten and alone, but what great hope we find in scripture, that God remembers His people.

Psalm 115:12 “The LORD remembers us and will bless us:”

Merry Christmas one more time from all of us here at God’s Hidden Treasures!