The "sinfulness" Pandemic winter camp for orphans

15 Feb, 2016 | Ukraine
OM International
Children going through Fun Testing for infection of the sin virus during the introduction to the evangelistic winter camp in an orphanage in the Odessa province.
In Ukraine there are 80 000 orphans. Ukraine is the country in the world with the most orphans according to statistics. The life expectance for an orphan boy graduating from an orphanage is 26 years and for girls it is 23 years… The social problems that lead to so many children orphaned include - alcoholism, drug abuse, HIV/Aids (Ukraine is number 1 in all of Europe and Asia in terms of HIV/AIDS infection). http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/life-expectancy-of-orphans.

In the Odessa province, where one of OM’s teams works, there are 4160 children living in 24 orphanages. 861 are orphans. The rest have either been abandoned or removed from parental care, living with the hope that their parents will come and get them… living with disappointment after disappointment, as parents promise to come and never do.

These facts are devastating. That’s why OM Ukraine's Odessa team travelled to three orphanages to present evangelistic winter camps, from the 13 to 17th of January. The local partner organisation, “The Heritage Foundation” has been working with orphanages for nine years and with OM for four years. Little by little relationships was built with social services. At first it was just one orphanage, but now after four years, the OM team is able to work with 18 orphanages. After the war started in the east of the Ukraine, social budgets was liquidated to fund the army. The desperate need in the orphanages caused them to open their doors to Christian workers they previously did not allow.  Thus the team suddenly had access to 18 orphanages in the Odessa province - all desperate for help. During August 2014, the OM Teenstreet event “RAG” (Raise And Give) raised some money for the Odessa team. That money has helped 16 churches, to reach out to orphanages monthly, with their own volunteers. It has also helped to fund summer camps for 800 of these children. It is encouraging to see, how some of the smallest children have started to pray or memorise Scripture.

In January, for the second year in a row, orphanages in the Odessa province received groups of volunteers. This year, two foreigners joined us for this campaign. The theme of the camp was “Pandemic”. Even though the awful doctor "Furunkul" and his assistent Miss "Dia Rea" claimed that there is no illness, the children were all in agreement that this virus, called "Sinfulness" is a condition that needs to be 'cured'.  We were blessed to be able to, through this theatrical presentation, explain how the blood of Christ washes us white as snow. 

Despite some conflicts in the orphanages, power outages, illness in our teams and a huge snow storm, forcing one team to leave a day early in order to get back to Odessa safely - we were able to spend this very special time with the children. One of our international participants spent time making wooden bird houses with 12 of the boys. He later shared the immense joy he experienced in teaching the kids some skills and seeing the smiles on their faces. 

Oksana*, a participant, said: “I really liked the camp very much. It left me with many different good ‘impressions’ and everyone was filled with a wonderfully good mood. Much pleasure was derived from what we saw! For myself I keep many important things and am trying to accept God”

It is unfortunately a rare thing for these children to have an adult giving them positive attention, listening to what they have to say. Our Odessa team is working towards raising up as many mentors for orphans in our province as we can. They are oganising training for volunteers, who are interested in becoming a mentor, during February and March 2016 together with an organization called “One Hope”.

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