Bringing Joy and Good News to All People
(left) Andriy fixes an orphan’s bike at the Snowdrop Shelter. He is like a father to the kids there.
(mid) Igor loves the teen prisoners here in the Urals. He will buy gifts of chocolate and fruit, and share the love of Jesus.
(right) Pastor Urim visits sponsored families in Kosovo, delivering and cutting their firewood, and praying with them.
In our 39 years of marriage, I have learned a few things. I am not done learning of course, but one thing I have learned is that at Christmas time, when my wife carries shopping bags full of gifts into the house, I do not immediately shriek in horror and ask, “How much did you spend!?”
I already know that Paula spends a lot of time searching for just the right gift. She works hard to find those things the grandkids love for the best price possible. And of course, I love it when they open their presents and give me hugs and kisses, as if I deserve any of the credit.
The Mercy Projects staff in Ukraine knows how to shop on a budget as well. They work hard to find gifts for children that bring both joy and are of practical use. This year the main gift that children will receive is the fun but practical gift of School Supplies. We need 400 presents to share among orphans and the children in the Family Sponsorship program.
The Water Well project for the Snowdrop Shelter for orphans has already been funded! The Winter Camp and School Supplies are now the main need. The Good News however, is more than presents. We are actually equipping missionaries as they touch lives. With your help, the Good News will travel far and wide, touching the lives of orphans, foster kids, Muslims, atheists, widows, and Siberian prisoners.
I recently visited a family in a small town in eastern Ukraine. The father was blind. The mother was also visually impaired, but not as severe as the father. Their young daughter suffers from an eye disease as well. Lena invited her to attend classes at the Hearts of Love Center. The tiny two room apartment was so small we had to stand in the entrance. The family is new, they do not have any sponsors, and Grandma lives in the other room so as to help take care of everyone.
I felt saddened by their poor conditions, yet they felt joy and gladness. You see, Lena at Hearts of Love had not forgotten them. She brought us there to gather their information and to find sponsors. She visits them and has invited them to the center. They felt hope, joy and encouragement despite their circumstances. I realized that they have a reason to rejoice. Sponsorship is like Christmas all year long.
The Winter Christmas Camp
Each year we hold a special week long Christmas Camp for teenagers. It takes place the first week in January and always includes the Orthodox Christmas celebration on January 7th. Training young people to follow Christ at camp is life changing for them. Jesus comes alive in their hearts, the Bible becomes real to them, and counselors provide a tangible example for them to follow. Winter camps and celebrations will take place both outside Kyiv and in Konotop at Hearts of Love. This is an amazing investment in these young lives.
The Word Became Flesh
As we celebrate Christmas, we hope you will remember our many missionaries and co-workers traveling icy roads in remote regions.
Christmas is good news and we are grateful that you send us out to a world in need.
Widows and orphans, prisoners and the poor, rejoice because of your help.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Mercy Projects!