A visit to Vinnitsa for Easter outreach - Esther Hoogenraad from the Netherlands

18 May, 2016 | Ukraine
OM International
Esther Hoogenraad lives in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She has been in Vinnitsa in 2013 and 2015. Esther really enjoyed the time with the team and felt that God put Ukraine in my heart. That’s why she choose to come back at Easter and help the team with the visits to the schools, orphanages and assist with the puppet shows. She shares about her experience with OM Ukraine's Vinnitsa team during Easter puppet outreach:


I visited Ukraine from April 23th till May 2nd. My journey started at Vinnitsa, it has not been the first time but the third. After my arrival at Kiev airport I was picked up by Vadim* and had a nice ride with the train to Vinnitsa. On Sunday (24/4) there was no program and Olya* took me to Krasne where a meeting with children had been organised. It was good to see how she told the children about faith, God, Jesus and the meaning of prayer in our life.

On Monday the 25th I was reunited with my friend Tanya* (OM Vinnitsa team leader) and the team of volunteers, which would be helping in the villages Zalivanshchino and Cherepashintsiz, where we played the puppet show.

OM Vinnitsa team comes here more often for Sunday school activities and to organise a summer camp. It was wonderful to become part of a team who can build up a puppet show including decoration and music/sound so fast and effective. The children really enjoyed it and it was my first performance without rehearsing, so I was glad it all went well. It felt really good to be back and I enjoyed my time very much. I am very thankful for the possibility to come back!! On Tuesday we went to the village Plyskiv, to show the Easter puppet show at an orphanage were the people really enjoyed the music, puppets and presents. One of the shows I remembered best because of the people I met, and the help the team could give after the puppet show by helping with the food we were serving.

The weather was wonderful and since having no program (on Wednesday morning I had free time) I enjoyed sitting outside till lunch. I was able to take time to reflect on the moments I have spent so far with the team and looking back at all my travels to Ukraine. In the afternoon we traveled to Merhilov Podolskiy near the Moldavian border were we presented the puppet show. It was wonderful travelling and I loved seeing the nature of Ukraine and the Moldavian mountains, which I really enjoyed. Thursday we traveled to Bolai, a place I remember from my visit in September 2015. The team organises Sunday school and a summer camp for the children. During the travel to Bolai, I showed the photos taken during the last days and promises before I go home, to give so the team can use them. Friday was my last day in Vinnitsa, and we travelled to the villiage Sitkovtsy were we performed the puppet show. As a present, I received an OM Ukraine t-shirt and the weather was nice so I could wear it. Looking back at a wonderful, blessed week where I learned a lot about sharing, giving and receiving a lot of faith and friendship.

My last days Saturday and Sunday I spent in Kaharlyk with Wayne (OM Ukraine Field Leader) and Olya Zschech and their loving, caring and wonderful friends. I thank everybody for your hospitality; friendship and taking care.

* Surname not included for Security reasons

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