Half the World Away…

I just wanted to take a minute to share a video I watched last night with a speaking club for English learners , a PSA that ran in the UK around Christmas time.  Maybe it ran in the USA too, but I wouldn’t know, I haven’t been around watching any commercials.

 

I think this is a powerful video, that reminds us that there are those among us, who feel half the world away and what a difference can be made when we reach out to show someone they are cared about.    James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  As Christians our heart is to help those who are in need. God’s Hidden Treasure’s ministry has always been focused on helping to forgotten in Ukraine.

This video was made to bring awareness that millions of elderly people haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbour or family member in over a month.  The follow up video to that first PSA really struck my heart.

In Ukraine, this is a serious problem for the elderly, as well as the disabled.  Imagine you’re in a wheelchair on the 8th floor an apartment building and your elevator is broken, they’ll have it fixed in month… you hope.  Even worse, maybe your wheelchair doesn’t fit on the elevator, or even if it did you still find a flight of stairs waiting for you at the bottom to reach the street.  This describes nearly every apartment building in Ukraine.

The video hit me because I know in winter time it is even worse for the elderly and disabled.  The streets and sidewalks are frozen over in ice, it takes me 10 minutes to walk a few hundred yards, hobbling like a penguin trying not to slip.  I think of all the people who are not able to get out of their apartment.  I think of the people who live alone with no one to help.

That is why I believe our caregiver ministry here with God’s Hidden Treasures is so important.  On staff we have Luba, who goes to homes of the elderly and disabled every week just to visit, pray and encourage.  There have been many suicides prevented because she was able to reach someone who was lonely and desperate.  We have Tonya and the prayer team who  visit people all over the city, praying for healing and that people would know the love of Christ.  We have Dr. Tamara and Nurse Olya, who visit stroke patients daily helping bring healing through rehabilitation.  Many of our other staff, Marina, Olya, Lilya, Valentina, Tanya and Ira take time to visit the orphanages with me, make home visits, calls to shut-ins and calls to congratulate people on their birthday and much more.

I know I’m blessed to have so many of you supporting me in prayer, please keep all of our staff in your prayers too as we seek to show people in Ukraine, they are loved by us, but more importantly by Christ who made them, and gave his life for them.  Also, there are many opportunities through your church and your community to reach out to those isolated and lonely.  Get involved! 🙂

staff photo

(Some of our staff at the office)

God bless,

Scott

 

 

 

 

A New Year!

12 days into the New Year and I already have so many amazing things to share about what we have been doing in 2016!  As many of you know, Christmas in Ukraine is celebrated on January 7th.  We hosted a Christmas party for children with special needs on the 5th of January.  We had an amazing time.

Our festivities began with a concert of Christmas songs, followed by fun games, a nice meal, a talent show, a Christmas drama, a Christmas message,  fun camp songs, and loads of entertainment.  You can even check out some of the video from our version of Master Chef Ukraine.  I’m sorry it’s not in English.

I know this day was very special for our kids from camp.  Many of them only get to see each other in the summer at our camp, so an extra meeting together to see old friends is a blessing.  The children recited poems, sang songs, danced and demonstrated all kinds of talent.  I had an amazing group of volunteers and the workers from our office did an amazing job preparing everything for this party.  For those who read my post about Vitaliy, his father did pass away the week before our Christmas party.  Vitaliy was able to come be a part of our Christmas celebration and I know it meant a lot to him to see all of his friends.  Please continue to pray for him as his mom is still very ill.

On the 11th of January we had a chance to take around 50 kids from the local Boy’s Orphanage for children with special needs to Kiev on an excursion.  We went to the Oceanarium and saw hundreds of types of fish, sharks, stingrays, turtles, piranha, and even a crocodile.  The kids absolutely loved it!

After the Oceanarium we went to McDonalds at the big mall in Kiev.  There they have a McDonalds on the first floor, and and another McDonalds on the third floor in the food court.  I took 30 kids to the food court with two of the teachers, and the other 20 went to the one on the first floor.  I can’t say enough about McDonalds, and how they treated the kids.  They gave every kid a free happy meal.  The children on the first floor, when the staff saw how big they were even gave them an extra Big Mac and large fry.  They all got balloons too!  The Happy Meal toys were all Peanuts characters, I was a little sad I didn’t get Snoopy 😦   (I guess I have to be satisfied with Woodstock)

I can’t tell you how amazing it was for these kids, for many of them it was the first time they have ever ridden on an escalator.  So taking the a group of 30 of them up the escalator was quite an adventure.  They were so amazed by it, and a little nervous too.  Then later when I took a big group of the kids to the restroom, it was their first time with the automatic sinks and hand dryers, and they were so intrigued.  I think they could have spent the whole day drying their hands and it would have been a blast for them. Also, some of the children tried their very first Cinnabon, and they absolutely loved it.

God has really blessed us tremendously so early in this new year.  Even tomorrow, we have a chance to visit another orphanage and bring some Christmas presents.  Thank you so much for your support of God’s Hidden Treasures.

God bless,

Pastor Scott