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!

 

 

Fall Fun!

One of the reasons we personally deliver wheelchairs to peoples’ homes, is so we can see their living situations and needs.  If family or friends came to pick up the wheelchairs for them, we might never get to meet and develop a relationship with those we want to help and we wouldn’t know what’s going on in the home, or how we can help.  Sometimes we encounter needs so great, we pray, ‘Lord what can we do to help here.’  Last winter Tonya visited a home to pray for a lady who lives alone, no family or friends to help.  She walks around with a walker, and her home had severe needs.  The walls were falling apart and so thin, it was freezing in winter.  She can’t afford the electricity to run an electric heater.  We prayed about what we can do, we visited this home with one of the American teams who came this summer and we put together a plan.

 

This fall, after our crazy busy summer, our staff and some workers put up ply board to strengthen her walls, as well as painted to make it look much nicer.  We even had some money leftover so they redid the window frames as well.  After they finished, you can see the difference!

 

Her house looks much better now and we know it will be a huge blessing for her this winter.  We are so thankful for those who gave donations so we can help in a situation like this.  Also we are thankful for staff members like Tonya, Valeriy and Alexei who are so wonderful at projects like this.

This fall we are busy delivering wheelchairs. vising stroke patients, and doing prayer ministry.  We are visiting the orphanages again after summer break,  and we continue to worship together at the Church of Hope.

 

Here are some photos from the Valoshka orphanage, you can try to guess who has more fun, Scott or the kids.

 

This week Nita had a chance to visit with students at the University of Akron who are currently working on improving the stroller wheelchairs used by parents here in Ukraine.  .

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Please keep this team in your prayers, we’re very excited about what they’re working on.  In other exciting news, our chef Olga gave birth to a healthy baby boy in August and Alyona Leonov (Stuzhnaya), one of our volunteers and former campers gave birth to a healthy baby girl!  Praise the Lord!  Thank you for all your prayers and support.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures

Summer News!

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What a summer!  It’s only early July and so much has already happened.  Summers are always jammed packed with ministry here at God’s Hidden Treasures but this summer has been something special.

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At the beginning of June we were blessed to have Dr. Jim Witty, come to Ukraine to teach a seminar on helping people who’ve experienced psychological trauma.  Jim founded Care Corps. International and has traveled to many countries in the midst of war and conflict to teach local religious leaders how to minister and help people with PTSD.

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Dr. Witty was accompanied by Dr. Ted Hole and Doug Bradley.  They taught two seminars.  One in our city Bila Tserkva and one in the city of Kramatorsk in Eastern Ukraine.  Our staff, local pastors, psychologists, and other lay people involved with care ministry attended the conference.  They were blessed with Biblical teaching on the ministry of presence, and how to care for people with Christ’s love.  We look forward to working with Dr. Witty and Care Corps. Int. again in the future.

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In the middle of June a team from The Sending Place in Northern California arrived for our first summer camp for children with special needs.  We had an amazing team of 9 people who gave their whole hearts to the children of Ukraine for the week long camp.  God worked powerfully through the testimonies of this team, sharing how God was faithful even in very difficult times.  Every child and mom learned about Christ’s love for them.

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On the final night of camp Nita shared a message that God knows and loves each an every one of us.  Every camper received a medal and each mom received a certificate from their child.  As always, it was a very heartwarming and emotional night.  The kids and moms will never forget this team.

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At the start of July we had another wonderful team of seven people from IMPACT  arrive for out VBS at the Boy’s House orphanage.  The boys enjoyed a week of Bible studies, worship songs, games, crafts and so much more.  Each child heard about Christ’s love for them.  Each member of this team used their own unique gifts to love and minister to these boys.  It was so neat to see how much they connected with these youth, at the end of the week nobody wanted to leave.

 

In the morning they ministered to the boys and in the afternoon they spent their time ministering to people in their homes with our wheelchair, stroke rehabilitation and vistitation ministries.  This team from Impact has been a tremendous blessing.

Summer is far from over.  We still have another team coming this week for our second camp.  Our picnic is Wednesday July 11th.  We need your prayers!  Rain has been forecast for Wednesday.  Please pray that God would hold the rain off and that everyone would have a beautiful day to enjoy in the park.

We thank you so much for your prayers.

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures!

Mobile Medical Clinic

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On Tuesday, God’s Hidden Treasures hosted a mobile medical clinic in the local village of Cherkas.  Our Doctor Tamara and Nurse Olya visited with many local patients who came in for free checkups.  For many of the elderly in the villages, it is very hard to get to the city to see a doctor.  Having the opportunity to be examined, receive basic medical care, and get basic prescriptions is a huge blessing for people living in the village.  Olga and Tamara both helped instruct many diabetics on properly checking their blood sugars, using their insulin and managing their diets.  They also instruct the village social worker on how to use glucometers and help patients with diabetes.

 

God’s Hidden Treasures hosts one or two mobile medical clinics every month in different villages around Bila Tserkva.  Along with our medical staff, Tonya and Liliya also came to pray with patients who were interested, and offer free Bibles and children’s Bibles for people to take.  Both of these ladies have huge hearts and do a fantastic job ministering to  people who’ve dealt with many hurts in their life.  God works powerfully through this ministry in the village.

 

At the same time as the mobile medical clinic, our van drove around for two wheelchair distributions in the village, and our newest staff member Valeeriy, visited 3 homes to pray and encourage people who have received mobile aids from us in the past.  Our hope is to stay involved in the lives of every patient we help.  Many of those who attended the mobile medical clinic had come the last time we were in this village.  I heard many people thanking Dr. Tamara and Nurse Olya, and how much they were helped by their last visit.  Ministry like this is happening year round at God’s Hidden Treasures.  Please keep all of our staff and the people they minister to in your prayers.

Currently we have a very urgent prayer request.  Our staff member Ruslan,  who is one of our wheelchair mechanics and one of the three boys Nita adopted from the Boy’s House Orphange, his son Roma has been and in the hospital in Kiev for over two weeks.  He has some internal bleeding, but the doctors still have not found out what is the cause.  Please pray for wisdom for the doctors that they would be able to find out what the problem is and find a treatment.  It has been very hard on Ruslan, as his son and wife have been at the hospital in Kiev for over 2 weeks.  Please pray for Roma, who has been in a lot of discomfort with weeks of IV’s and different treatments.  Pray for the mother Olya, who has been having to live in the hospital for over two weeks now.  We will send out more information once we know more from the doctors.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and support.  Here are some photos of Roma.

 

God bless,

God’s Hidden Treasures.

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