Sunday, April 21, 2013

Service Projects & Life Skills

Aren't these faces adorable?  Every time I'm in the gypsy communities in Western Ukraine I meet these darling faces-- kids that we have a team regularly serving through the work of Orphan's Promise.

Mukachevo is one of the locations in Ukraine where OP is doing the greatest amount of practical ministry.  Primarily we are working with the Gypsy (Roma) people to bring education, programs and assistance to their communities.  We have an amazing team on the ground regularly working with the children teaching them Life Skills, Reading, writing and Ukrainian language skills they lack and providing lunches 3 times a week for hungry kids.

I was blessed to bring a team from my Kiev church's youth group. I serve as a youth leader for our gathering of young people called 'The City' (primarily ex-pat kids) and was honored to be a part of a group of about 30 youth spending their spring break serving in a variety of facets in west Ukraine. My group consisted of about 8 young people and we served in one of the gypsy communities were OP is working.  The kids did crafts, a lesson and games and then we went to another location and spoke with youth studying English in Mukachevo.

Having visited this community several times it was a privilege to get to see it through the eyes of these youth as they were faced with the poverty and the need and asking themselves the same hard questions I have often asked-- 'What can I do to help?'  

Our team with the English club
All our youth at the Uzhgorod Castle. We were all divided into various ministry projects throughout the week.

Tonight I'm headed back to Mukachevo again. (Oh the joys of being on a train for 14 hours!)  I'll be traveling with two co-workers to bring our Life Skills Training and Curriculum to the staff we have working in Mukachevo so that they will be able to have more resources as they work with their youth.

Our training in Kiev last week
We held a training just a week ago in Kiev for another group of volunteers and I'm continually amazed by the need for this material.  We've been doing training for nearly 7 years now and have trained close to 1,000 people to work with teens.  Each time we put the training and resources into the hands of people working with at risk orphans and youth we are overwhelmed with the response.  Gratitude. 
 Always gratitude for being given new information and new strategies for working with youth.  It is very humbling to be a part of this work and to know that even 7 years later it is still so needed.

Please pray for our team as we'll be training about 30 staff and local people in Mukachevo to use this curriculum!  And pray I can get some sleep on the train and arrive ready to teach!

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