East Bound and Down

 

This month, Nita Hanson, Kostya Kisilenko (a preacher from Bila Tserkva) and I went to Kramatorsk for a meeting about manufacturing children’s wheelchairs in Ukraine.  For many years Nita has dreamed about having a wheelchair designed just for Ukraine.  This wheelchair would help bless many children and families in the whole former Soviet Union, who all have similar infrastructure challenges for people in wheelchairs.

God keeps putting pieces in place, we have a business man, Valleery Ivanovich who owns a factory in Kramatorsk, which was one of the manufacturing capitals of Ukraine before the conflict.

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There are many talented workers and engineers looking for work in this city.  We have the Rotary Club very interested in doing a project in Ukraine and is currently seeking a grant.  After our meeting with Valleery, we have laid out what steps we need to take, before we can begin.  Please be praying that God would continue to open the doors and bring the right people and organizations together to make this a reality.

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On Wednesday, Kostya, Nita and I were blessed to visit Nikita.  Nikita is one of the children we invited from the East of Ukraine to our summer camp last year.  He is such an amazing young boy who brings joy and smiles to everyone.  Nita encouraged him to aim high, because he can accomplish anything and to keep practicing his English so he can communicate with her and all the campers this summer.  We were excited to invite him to camp again.  Nikita had an operation shortly after our camp to help with his walking, and he is working hard on his rehabilitation.  Please keep Nikita, all our campers and our camp this summer in your prayers.

Another purpose for our trip was to organize a seminar in June for victims of trauma.  Dr. Jim Witty, whom Nita has known for a long time, is an expert on helping victims of psychological trauma.  He travels around the world to places in crisis teaching and equipping local churches, chaplains, and others how to help victims who have experienced major traumas.  He founded Care Corps International, and went to train people in the midst of the Bosnian conflict.  Since then he has held seminars in N. Ireland, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Columbia, Chechnya, the Republic of Georgia, Jordan, Gaza and Israel.  In his seminar, he teaches how many different types of people, such as soldiers who’ve experienced war and suffer from PTSD, orphans who’ve been abandoned, people who have experienced life changing medical trauma like a stroke or amputation.  As you know, with the war in Ukraine, there is a very big need to equip people to help those who have suffered these experiences.  This June we are planning a three day seminar in Bila Tserkva, followed by another three day seminar in Kramatorsk.  Please pray that many chaplains, pastors, social workers, psychologist and others who work with people who’ve experienced trauma, will be able to attend.  Our hope is that through this training, God will work powerfully to bring healing to people who are suffering in Ukraine.

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Here is a photo of Dr. Jim Witty teaching in Uganda

Nita, Kostya and I had a chance to see first hand the extent of the damage from this war.  There is nothing like seeing the destruction and ruins with your own eyes, and being shown the city by those who lived through its occupation  You can take a better look in this video.

Finally, continue to pray that God would bring peace to Ukraine and end this war.  While most of the world has moved on, this war continues and has had a devastating effect on these cities.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and support.

God’s Hidden Treasures

Heartwarming Stories

27747821_792464517609137_460978627296422851_oThe day after our Night to Shine Prom for people with special needs, the Tim Tebow Foundation asked us to share two heartwarming stories, one from a guest, and one from a volunteer.  There were many heartwarming stories. It was so amazing to see how many new friends were made.  I talked to so many mothers who said their children were overwhelmed with positive emotions; joy, happiness, excitement, none of them wanted to go home.

But one story that touched me was of a young lady Masha Klipach.   She had been writing to me and one of our other staff members Sergei for weeks about how excited she was for this event.  She kept writing paragraphs about how it is her dream to walk down a red carpet, and to attend a ball  and to wear a dress.  Even better she gets to do it without mom!  She is one of the most encouraging people I have ever met, she loves to talk with people and at Night to Shine it was no different.  From the time she sat down in the hair and make-up chair, she was telling everyone how she always watched on TV people getting hair and makeup done, and now she gets to do it, and it was a dream come true to have hair and makeup stylists work on her.  It made all the ladies who were helping out with hair and makeup feel pretty special.

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Masha having her makeup done )

The whole night on the red carpet, she was so thrilled to have everyone clapping and cheering for her, she was clapping the whole way down the red carpet back for everyone.  The opportunity to receive a tiara really capped off the whole night for her, while being able to dance the night away and sing was just icing on the cake.  She even shared a poem with everyone during the night, I know this night made her feel special, and she was able to do something that made her dreams come true.

The day after our party, she wrote us again on Facebook.  I wanted to share her words translated from Ukrainian.  “I really liked everything. Everything was cool, It was my dream to go to a ball without mom to have fun, and that my mom wouldn’t disturb me. I dreamed about an enchanting show with cameras and limousines, a cool MC and DJ with lights and music, it was a surprise, everything was at the highest level. I really liked everything, Especially how the MC hugged me at the talent show like I was a star. I liked everything and my dreams came true: I had my hair done, I had my makeup done  and I was without mom. And I also met a girl I know, we use to live near each other, she used to come over and we went for a walk very often. And then I moved and we stopped meeting. And yesterday I met her and squeaked with joy. This prom reunites people. I liked it so much, I am sorry it didn’t last longer!”

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Masha’s hug with our MC!
 I also asked one of our volunteers from the night, Hanna Kovtun who has also served as one of our interpreters at camp to write about her feelings from the night.

“Every girl in this world has dreamed to be a princess at least for a day, the same as any boy has wanted to become a king. There is nothing better than to witness the miracle of somebody’s dream coming true. And in one glorious night, almost a hundred people’s dreams were fulfilled at the Night to Shine party. While being there I could feel that strong accumulation of happiness which I believe can make the Earth rotate. It was the most memorable night of all my volunteering experience. All those little beautiful girls and young boys I have known for a long time became such gorgeous ladies and handsome gentlemen that it was breathtaking to be around them. I was a buddy to the most gentle and funny boy in the world who was dancing on his wheelchair non-stop. What an amazing night it was!”

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Hanna and Bogdan at the photo-zone!

Every guest received a buddy, and it was so neat to see how they became instant friends.  The buddies really helped make the night special for all of our guests.  I know every volunteer and every guest have a heartwarming story to share, but I hope these help brighten your day.  God is good, and His joy filled the hearts of everyone at Night to Shine.  Please pray the Lord blesses us again to be able to do this amazing event next year with the Tim Tebow Foundation.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

Night To Shine!

On Friday February 9th, God’s Hidden Treasures hosted Night To Shine a prom for people with special needs sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.  This is a worldwide movement celebrating God’s love for people with special needs with over 90,000 guests honored in 16 countries.  We were so privileged to bring this celebration to Ukraine and it was a fantastic night of joy, dancing, food, singing, and so much more.  The best part, was at the end of the night, every guest was named the king or queen of the ball and given a special crown or tiara.

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The night began with hair and makeup.  Lillia from our office did an amazing job organizing different hair stylists from around the city to come and do free makeovers for all our female guests.  One of our guests Masha Klipach spent the whole time in the makeup chair sharing that it had been her dream to have her hair and makeup done for a red carpet event.  It brought smiles to all the volunteers.  Following hair and makeup everyone took a limo ride to the cafe where our event was held.

 

 

At our location there was a red carpet, with fans and paparazzi waiting for the arrival of our guests.  Every guest was partnered with a buddy for the night.  We had  amazing volunteers who helped make the night extra special.  Each guest went down the red carpet to cheers and applause.  From there we opened with prayer and kicked off our night of festivities.  There was a big dance floor, and a huge buffet table that the guests were free to visit all night long!  Throughout the night of dancing, we would take some breaks where many of our guests shared their talent by singing songs, reciting poems or even playing an instrument.

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The celebration climaxed with the crowning ceremony.  Romans 8 tells us we are God’s children, and because we are His children, we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.  It was my privilege to announce that they were all kings and queens of the prom because that is how God sees each and every one of them.  As they received their crowns, confetti dropped from above which capped off a night none of these guests will forget.

I am amazed at how God worked through this event.  His love for all people shined. That love was made known to every person who walked through those doors.  New friends were made, old friends were reunited.  An event like this would not have been possible without a lot of help.  God’s Hidden Treasures staff put in countless hours organizing and preparing for this prom.  We had a volunteer chef with a huge group of kitchen volunteers from local churches who helped make all the food.  We had volunteers helping kids in and out of the limos and in and out of the event hall. We had over 75 volunteers who signed up to be buddies for our guests.  These were some of our former campers, who also help with our summer camps, others were volunteers from local churches as well as volunteers from the Red Cross Ukraine.  In all, we had over 120 volunteers.  For them, I am so grateful.

There is so much more to say about this event.  I look forward to sharing more stories from the kids and volunteers themselves.  Please check out our Facebook page to see even more of the photos!

Our first Night to Shine prom for people with special needs in Bila Tserkva Ukraine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow…

Posted by God's Hidden Treasures on Saturday, February 10, 2018

Night to Shine is Coming!!

God's Hidden Treasures Church of Hope Social Media Post

Hey everyone, this Friday we will host Night to Shine, a prom for people with special needs.    All the preparations are coming together, and the excitement is through the roof.  I’ve been listening to our guests for months talk about what suits and dresses they’re going to where, what colors they are picking.  They are ready for Night to Shine.  We are so excited to work with the Tim Tebow Foundation to bring this event to Ukraine.

Please, be praying for all of our honored guests, as well as all the volunteers who will make this night possible.  I can’t wait to see what God is going to do through this event, to demonstrate His love for people with special needs.

 

 

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Christmas is always a special time here at God’s Hidden Treasures.  We take on the big endeavor of visiting every person new to our organization that year.  All year we have been giving out wheelchairs and mobility aids. Our doctor and nurse have been visiting new stroke patients.  We have new families who have come to our summer camps.   Well now we have a chance to see them again while bringing some joy into their homes for Christmas.  We visit over 200 families during this time of year.  I had the pleasure of being Father Frost on Tuesday December 26th, and we visited 20 homes that day.

 

On these visits, Father Frost and his grandaughter, Snegurochka (the Snowmaiden) enter the home with a bag of gifts.  We greet them with a song or a Christmas verse.  Then we tell them they have to work for their gifts.  If they want their present they have to sing a Christmas song or recite a verse from a Christmas poem.  This is a Ukrainian tradition, most children have memorized verses to recite for the holiday.  If they can’t remember any, we just invite them to sing along with us.

Many of the visits are times of great joy, with lots of smiles and laughs. Other visits can be very hard, we have many people living in very difficult situations with no family to help them.  We have to wait for neighbors to come to open up their apartment and let us in, because they can’t get out of bed themselves.  These people love the opportunity to talk with someone.

IMG_20171228_131025 It takes our staff as wells as many volunteers to make these visits happen.  Above is Valeera one of our staff members and Nastya one of our volunteers getting ready to go out to make visits.

We also visited the Boy’s House Orphanage in Bila Tserkva.  Here we sang songs, and enjoyed sharing the Christmas story along with crafts of Jesus’ birth.  We look forward to a trip with the kids from the orphanage to Kiev early next month after Christmas in Ukraine (January 7th)

 

We at God’s Hidden Treasures want to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We thank you for all your prayers and support.  Please be praying for Nita as she begins a speaking tour in California in January, as well as for all the remaining people we will be visiting this week.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

Kidlandia

Yesterday, we took children with special needs from Bila Tserkva to Kidlandia in Kiev.  It is a small town for children where they can try their hand at different professions in the city.  Our kids were firefighters, police officers, dentists, pizza chefs and many other professions for one day.

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The kids had a wonderful time going around the city and trying many different jobs while earning Kidlandia dollars which they could spend at the Kidlandia Toy Store.  Even better, a parent came with each kid and got to enjoy watching their children enjoy the town.

We would like to thank the Friends From Norway charity who helped sponsor this Christmas trip for the children.  We look forward to another trip in January with the children from the Boy’s Orphanage.  We also would like to thank McDonald’s who gave free Happy Meals to all the kids that were thoroughly enjoyed on the bus ride home.

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The man on the right side with the grey briefcase in his hand is Valeera Guk.  He is  is our newest staff member, he helped lead the excursion and along with the other volunteers helped get the kids in and out of the bus.   Many of you already know his wife Marina, who has been working for us for many years.

This is a busy time of year for God’s Hidden Treasures, we have begun our Father Frost annual Christmas visits to each new family.  I look forward to sharing the photos with you on our next blog post.

God bless and Merry Christmas to all,

God’s Hidden Treasures

 

 

Church of Hope!

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October 29th, 2017 marked a very special day for God’s Hidden Treasures.  It was the first worship service at our very own Church of Hope.  Our goal has always been that a wheelchair, walker, or any aid given to a person or family, would be just the first step in our being involved in their lives.  Having a church where we can continue to minister to and disciple these families is a dream come true.

It was so great to see many families who attend our summer camps for children.  Following the service we had fellowship time with tea and a cake commemorating our first service and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

During the service we sang worship songs in Russian and Ukrainian,  heard some Bible lessons as well as a sermon from the text of Matthew 14 with Jesus walking on water.  Following the sermon we joined in the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer and held an offering to raise support for food packets for families in need.

Please be praying for our church.  We are the Church of Hope.  God’s Hidden Treasures has been bringing hope to the forgotten of Ukraine for over 20 years and now we will bring hope every Sunday through preaching Jesus Christ, who died for our sins on the cross, and gave his life so that we might have life eternal.  In him we have hope that can overcome anything we face in this world.

Our second service was held the following Sunday, on the 5th of November.  Here is Nita sharing a message about building your life on the rock, Jesus Christ.

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Pray for all the families who will be attending, especially during winter as it become much harder for the moms to get their children out of the house and around the city. Pray for our driver who is picking up people in wheelchairs throughout the city, that they would be safe every Sunday.

We also have another important prayer request for Masha.  Her and her son Sasha have attended every one of our camps.  She has recently had two operations on her back and needs a third operation to remove painful gallstones.   She is delaying the operation because she cannot afford it.  Please pray that the Lord will provide for her and Sasha and if you are interested in helping contact me at ukrainepastor@gmail.com

Here are some photos of Masha and Sasha at camp.  Thank you for your prayers!

God’s Hidden Treasures

 

Weekly Ministry

It is always exciting to share the big things God is doing, the doors he is opening, and how he accomplishes what we could have never hoped or imagined.  Nita and I spent August sharing all about “the big three”, our plan for a village for orphans, manufacturing wheelchairs for children, and planting a church for the disabled.  But today I just want to share about the stuff that is happening every day with God’s Hidden Treasures.

First, there are orphanage visits.  Whether it is the Baby House, Voloshka, or the Boy’s House, it is amazing to visit these kids, teach the Bible, sing songs, play games, or just simply hold them.  Marina, Olga, Luba, Tonya and me all make visits to these orphanages.

Along with our orphan ministry, our wheelchair delivery team visits homes every week to give out free mobility aids.  Tuesday, we visited a home of a man who had a stroke two months ago.  We walk into the apartment and found the man lying on the floor, on a blanket, no mattress, his wife says he spends most of the day on the floor because he kept falling off the couch and hurting himself.  He has been home for over a month and has not been doing any sort of rehabilitation.  We signed him up for our free stroke rehabilitation program, so now Dr. Tamara will visit him regularly and help teach him exercises so he can begin to retrain his paralyzed muscles.  When we gave him the wheelchair, and helped get him into it, his face lit up, he was so happy to be mobile and just be off the floor.  This was just one of five visits our wheelchair team made on just that Tuesday.  They are out at least 3 days a week visiting multiple homes.

This is just a small picture of the ministry happening every day, because it doesn’t even include, Tonya and the prayer team who go out visiting homes every week, Luba and her visitation to shut-ins, and so much more that is happening.  I am so amazed by the wonderful team of Ukrainians God has blessed us with, and ask for your prayers, for every one of our staff members, and the ministry they are doing every day.

God bless,

Scott Yount

Night to Shine

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God’s Hidden Treasures Church of Hope is proud to be an official host church for Night to Shine sponsored by the @TimTebowFoundation on February 9, 2018!  Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older.  To learn more and see the more than 450 churches that are already part of this worldwide movement, visit http://www.timtebowfoundation.org #NightToShine

Nita and I have both been in the US speaking at different churches in August, so we haven’t posted much here on the blog.  But I’m very excited to announce that we have been sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, to host Night to Shine in Ukraine.  I saw Tim Tebow on the Tonight Show speaking about Night to Shine, and dancing with a young girl with special needs and thought it would be amazing to host this event in Ukraine.  We applied and have been approved.  Praise the Lord!  And keep the event in your prayers.  Check out the official video from last year!

The Village: A Dream 21 Years in the Making

This has been a historic week for God’s Hidden Treasures and here’s why!

21 years ago God gave Nita Hanson a dream to build a village for orphans in Ukraine.

https://www.godshiddentreasures.org/the-village-dream

 

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Over the years she has built strong relationships with local mayors, pastors, the orphanage directors and even signed a 50 year lease on land to build the village. However, the time to begin building never came. Over the last 21 years our wheelchair ministry has grown from 3 wheelchairs brought in on a Delta flight to large containers bringing 300-500 wheelchairs ever year.  Each one is personally delivered and fitted to the recipient, offered with a Bible and prayer.  So many of our most meaningful relationships began with a mobility aid personally given.

While this ministry and others multiplied and thrived, the village dream had been simmering for over 20 years until God’s timing was right. Little did we know just how much God was working behind the scenes preparing a very important meeting last week. Last year, Kurt and Cindy Petrich who are planning on coming to Ukraine as full time missionaries were introduced by a friend of Nita’s to the personal adviser of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.  The advisor, Nickolai Kubela has been charged with reforming the orphanage system in Ukraine.

 

This led to a meeting in Kiev last month with Nita, Kurt, Cindy, and Nickolai.  Nickolai shared his vision for orphanage reform in Ukraine and Nita shared the dream of the village.  The adviser was intrigued by Nita’s dream, but was leaning toward a similar plan of his own.

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The first meeting (left to right, Kurt, Nikolai, Cindy, Nita)

 Nikolai asked for another meeting, and asked if Nita could gather some Pastors from the Bila Tserkva area and some local mayors, to discuss the idea of reform a little further.  Nita in just a week was able to gather, the mayor of Fursy, the Kiev Region, three orphanage directors and two pastors.

This time the meeting was held at the President Poroshenko’s Office building.  The adviser again shared his vision and plan for the orphanages, point by point.  But during the meeting, the mayors and orphanage directors all shared about the dream for the village, and how Nita has been in Ukraine so long helping people, and she keeps her promises, Nita really didn’t need to open her mouth to share about her dream for the village.  Nita showed that in our region, all the pieces are already in place, to do something about the orphans in our region.  The local government, churches, orphanage directors, are all willing to do something.  Nita wants this village to be an example, that all other regions in Ukraine can follow, getting orphans into small homes, with adopted parents who have been educated in how to care for children with special needs.

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Meeting #2

Well, a week after the meeting, Nita received this email from Nikolai, the President’s adviser in Kiev.

“Hi, dear friends, Nita, Kurt and Cyndi,

 

Thank you so much for the wonderful time we have spent together. We (in Kiev) are ready to go forward together with you. Think please about the pilot project being in the region you take care of.  At the meetings, we realized that there is an amazing potential in your region and that all resources are already in place, i.e., your organization, the churches and the authorities are ready for these changes.

Meanwhile any project should be started with the assessment of the communities, children and family’s critical needs. Together we can define the priorities for your region, take the first steps in reforming the child care system and create a successful model for the rest of regions all over the Ukraine.”

 

Nita’s own words

“To say this is amazing doesn’t come near to telling the immensity of all of this.  To think that God’s Hidden Treasures is going to be used as the pilot project for Ukraine’s reform of the orphan system is beyond my capability to comprehend.  God has been orchestrating all of this these past 21 years since He gave me the dream to build a Village.  And He has steadfastly been putting all the pieces, including governments, in place.  I am rejoicing and more than humbled to be allowed to be a part of this.  So many people have faithfully prayed over the years for the Village to be built.  Wow!!!  I have found myself praying the words that King David wrote in Psalm 8 throughout the day:

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
 The moon and the stars, which you have ordained,
 What is man that You are mindful of him,
 And the son of man that You visit him?”
Love and blessings to all of you, Nita
Please be praying for God’s Hidden Treasures, as we are working with the Mayor’s, Pastors, Orphanage Directors  putting the final plan together to give to Nikolai the President’s adviser.  For the next few weeks there will be lots of meetings, and much to do, but it is all very exciting to see what God is doing.  Thank you for your prayers!