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HFTN UKRAINE is a non-profit organization that has been helping the orphans of Ukraine since 2004. We get to know the kids from different orphanages in the Summer Bible Camps. Most of them receive Jesus as their Savior there and we don’t leave them after they get back to the orphanage. We visit them every weekend developing closer friendship. Our precious volunteers teach the kids English and reading, photography and computer skills, teach them how to cook, do puppet shows, dramas and arts and crafts projects along with the kids. They help orphans to get to know their loving Father and try to meet the individual needs of the kids. It can be possible due to the help of many wonderful people who have a heart for orphans and support our ministry. We go to 2 orphanages on a weekly basis and touch about 200 orphans. We do picnics, sport events and birthday parties. Every Christmas time we do Winter Camps right in the orphanages. It encourages kids to follow what they had learned in Summer Camps. The following summer we take the ones who have been trying to live a new life to the hiking trips to the mountains which is a great adventure and discipleship training for them. Our goal is to help orphans grow into good members of society, to become mature in faith and to add some joy to their childhood. We keep supporting them after they leave the orphanage. The Destiny Center for the orphan students is our facility where Alpha Course, English, photo and other classes as well as Bible lessons are held. Their personal needs are often met there: they can get some necessary dishware, clothing and some good advice. Some of the yesterday’s orphans have already become volunteers in our organization. Their lives had been changed through the Destiny Center ministry and they enjoy helping younger orphans because they know from their own experience how important is to be loved and to feel that there is somebody who cares. Together we help the orphans of today – the leaders of tomorrow.
Picnic at the backyard of KHCC
The next level in our relationships with former orphan girls - nowadays mothers: they feel comfortable enough to come to a picnic at the territory of the local protestant church.
For many years back in the times of Soviet Union, Orthodox church under supervision of communists had been doing propaganda in Ukraine and Russia against people who attend protestant churches. Many people still believe that non-Orthodox churches are sects and 'if you get there, they will hypnotise you into selling your apartment and giving them all the money'.Orphans, raised by the orphanage teachers with old regime mentality, are often particularly suspicious to believers. Step by step, from visits to the orphanages to our Alpha courses and hiking trips we work to destroy godless stereotypes in orphans' minds and teach them that church is a family.
So, 18 orphan parents and 25 children were courageous enough to come to the picnic at the backyard of Kharkiv Christian Church (KHCC) and to give their children to Sunday school teachers for one and a half hours. We started with light snacks, then played some games together in the beautiful Birch Grove. One of DC volunteers, Svetlana, an experienced coach and a world champion in tae-kwon-do, shared her testimony and led everybody in short praise and worship time. Then we had a discussion and prayer time in small groups, enjoyed the barbecue, and at the end the children got little gifts.
Iryna with her daughter
It took us about a month to prepare for the Christmas Party for moms-orphanage graduates with their children, but it was worth it. This time we did is together with Kharkiv Christian Church and it was great! 16 young mothers and 18 children (1-6 years old) got a tasty and nutritious meal, lots of fun and games, gifts and the most important - a Christmas story as a part of the message on why Christmas is a family holiday. Thanks to the donations of our Ukrainian friends the children got sweet gifts and bright Bibles for Children. The church presented the guests with interactive advent calendars and thanks to our Canadian donors we could buy the mothers nice body care cosmetics. The Sunday school teachers of Kharkiv Christian Church did 90-minute Christmas program for the children which allowed us to spend quality time with the mothers. For some of them such events become turning points - and that's exactly what we are praying for. One of the moms had been going to leave her children and their father and go to Poland and work and live there. After listening to the message and talking to our volunteers at the party she decided to stay with her children and their father.
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