Summer / Autumn 2019
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
It doesn’t always take many words. Often there is more power in a hug, a smile or a friendly gesture than in many sentences. During the summer we were able to see this principle at work times. Friends from Germany and Luxembourg, who speak neither Ukrainian nor Russian, have made their way to Odessa and Petrovka to touch the hearts of our children, their families and our staff with the language of kindness. In the following newsletter we would like to share with you what we have experienced in the last months.
As every year, the three months of summer holidays were a very intense time. Due to lack of space in the schools some children from the day centers go to school in the afternoons, therefore some visit us only during the holidays and they are especially happy about that. To our great regret, the joy about the school-free time was saddened by the loss of family members in three families we work with. Two little girls lost their mother, two others their father and two orphans their grandmother, who was their only caregiver. Again and again we have to admit that death is part of life and that together it is much easier to go through times of sorrow.
Summer is also the time of many visits, excursions and of course of our Living Hope summer camps. Without any doubt we had two highlights during this time: The first was our family camp. Planning this for the second time we quickly had more than 100 registrations, because word had spread that this special family time had been a wonderful gift to each participant last year. Thank you for your donations and prayers which have helped more than 30 families to enjoy wonderful holidays at the Black Sea. Among others we could invite a mother with her two sons from Petrovka, who had all three never been to the sea before (although the village is only 60 km away from the beach). Also another family, where the father had died shortly before, could use these days to gather new strength, to come to rest and to find hope for the future.
Three days after the family camp our annual summer camp started with 141 participants. Our main topic during the week was how important it is to build our lives on a strong foundation so that we are steadfast even in storms and difficulties. In addition to Bible studies we had of course a great time doing handicrafts, playing theatre, swimming, sports and just being together.
In September the new school year started. We were able to help many children with school materials, bags and school clothes. All three day centers are well attended and also some new kids found their way to us. As every year two young Germans enrich our team as volunteers – Maryam from Rhineland and Daniel from Bavaria. Our 17-year-old daughter Rebekka started her studies as a nurse in Germany on the first of September. For us as a family, this also marks the beginning of a new phase in our lives. We are thankful that God has provided for a good host family in Luxembourg and that Rebekka is now part of an International Christian Church, which has supported our ministry here in Odessa for years and many friendships already exist.
For today we would like to end with a heartfelt thank you. We are encouraged through your visits, mails, phone calls, through your donations and prayers. Thank you for your kindness and generosity! May God bless you abundantly!
Slavik and Nicole with Rebekka and Sarah as well as the children, families and employees of Living Hope Odessa & Petrovka
Lebendige Hoffnung e.V.