Reunion time

When we think of school reunions we think of high school or college reunions. We get an invitation, pay to be able to go because it is usually a dinner and we get all dressed up to go. We look forward to seeing old friends and those we didn’t consider friends. And we look forward to seeing how everyone has changed or not changed. Continue reading

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Shopping at the meat market 2

Last post I told you about a meat market in Zhytomer. It was very different. One thing I didn’t tell you is that there was no refrigeration in this market at all. Now if it was winter that would be no problem but when it is summer it gets quite hot in Ukraine. Continue reading

Shopping at the meat market 1

Shopping over seas can be a great adventure or maybe not. In this blog and the next one I’m going to introduce you to a meat market in Zhytomer Ukraine. This was a huge place that was a full block square. It had a lot of open doors so you could go in from almost anywhere. I want to tell you that as far as I know I have never eaten any meat from this meat market. I say that because when you are invited somewhere else to eat you can’t be sure where they purchased their product.  I don’t know what this is but it was for sale at the meat market. Continue reading

Pro life ministry 2

Last week I introduced you to Hope Ministries. This week I am going to share a lot of what the girls learn while living in the village. One of the first things they learn is how to love and take care of their baby. They are very grateful for this as most of them don’t remember having parents. They learn how to plant and take care of a garden. Everyone in Ukraine has a kitchen garden. If they don’t have any land they plant in pots on their porches. It is very important to them so they can eat what they raise.

The first mother and baby to live in the house
The first mother and baby to live in the house

In the village there is a lot of land to plant and take care of a big garden. They are taught how to raise and take care of the different vegetables they plant. The ministry bought the original seeds and from that time on it is up to the girls to have enough to plant the next year. The girls can bring their kids outside and watch them play while they plant and weed and take care of the garden. There is also a root cellar to store the vegetables in during the winter.

But of course a garden is not all you need. It helps to have meat to eat. So Svetlana has a farm where they raise pigs and goats. The goats serve two purposes. They milk the goats for milk to drink and then of course slaughter them for eating. Pork is the main meat over in Ukraine so the pigs are also quite important.

Learning to handle goats
Learning to handle goats

The house they live in is so much nicer than what they are used to. It has four bedrooms and when completely full has two girls to a room with their babies. It also has running water but no toilet facilities. They have an outhouse and if they need to shower they can go to Svetlana’s house.

Another mother
Another mother
Another mother
Another mother

The vision doesn’t end there. Svetlana would like to buy more land or more houses in the village. But the houses that have been abandoned need a lot of work or need to be torn down and a new place built. The vision is for each girl who finishes the program to become the head of another house to train girls with new babies. The girls are excited to be a part of this program. It teaches them so much and they don’t have to go back on the streets.

Wanting to buy this to build another house for more girls.
Wanting to buy this to build another house for more girls.

This ministry is very near and dear to our hearts. We have learned to love Svetlana and Marina but also the girls and their babies. We are thankful for people with a vision and this is truly another God given vision to help his people.

Marlee saying goodbye after a visit.
Marlee saying goodbye after a visit.

Loving to help people,
Jan

Pro Life ministry 1

When we lived in Ukraine there was a ministry we worked closely with other than the Widow’s House. It was called Angelina and is now called Hope. It was one of the two ministries that was pro life. This ministry had a unique approach.

First of all I must tell you that children raised in an orphanage never learn life skills. They go to school and learn reading a writing and stuff like that but they are never taught how to make a bed or cook a meal or do the dishes. Absolutely nothing practical to live outside the orphanage. At age eighteen they have to leave the orphanage. They are not prepared to live at all. So a lot of the girls turn to prostitution mostly for food and a roof over their head. Continue reading

Difference in schools

As I drive in my home town I look at the schools. It seems like we are trying to make our schools more beautiful. As you drive by the newer schools they are so inviting. It is not like that in Russia. When we were there we visited many schools and they all, and I do mean all, look alike. I wondered how the children learned because they looked so dingy. When we went to Ukraine I discovered all the schools there looked just like the schools in Russia. Continue reading

Summer camp Ukraine style

When we lived overseas we wore many different hats and did many different things. When we lived in the village we decided to have a summer camp for the children of the village. Now in the former Soviet Union camps are a very big thing. It isn’t camp as we think of camp here in the states. It is more like a day camp. It is a place where the children come, have fun and learn about Jesus’ saving power. We were friends with a group from One Mission Society who were ministering in Kiev. We contacted them and asked them if they would come and hold a camp for the kids in our village. Continue reading