This morning we went to the special needs school in Borislav to have Bible school. To our surprise, there were only about 12 kids there. It’s understandable though; first of all, it was a rainy day and not the best conditions for parents to bring their kids out, and second of all, transportation in Ukraine is not always the easiest thing to arrange and it was probably difficult for many parents to get their kids here for just a couple of hours. One girl, Olya, came to us immediately and began telling the Bible stories from last year—she remembered them very well! She told us that she takes a taxi to come here by herself every day. Another boy, Maksym, was here with his father; we suspect he may be autistic but his father is very attentive to him and obviously very loving. Throughout the Bible school, he was allowing Maksym to rotate stations on his own, but never staying far behind. He was always smiling at him; I am happy to see that some of the stigmas surrounding special needs children are beginning, slowly, to dissolve. The school had a nice setup; while we were there they were replacing floors and doing various other renovations to improve the appearance of the school, and the dining room where we held crafts and lessons was decorated with a jungle theme. Nadya said that when people talk about the director of the school, they only say nice things. It seems they are trying to make it as enjoyable as possible to attend school here. We made friendship bracelets in crafts, and we had so few kids that each one was able to make two or three to keep or give to a friend. At the end of our time there, we made S’mores with the kids and they loved it! Marshmallows are not available here in Ukraine, so it is quite a novelty for them to make S’mores.
After working at the school, we traveled to Stebnik to have another Bible school there. Apparently word spread that we were coming, because they were waiting on us to arrive! I recognized many kids from last year who came to our Bible school. It was at the same building, but we did everything outside so many more kids walked up and joined in throughout the rotations. Altogether I believe we had about 70 kids. We had the same schedule as we did at the special school, but no S’mores—I can’t imagine doing S’mores with this many kids! I was happy that many of the kids remembered Americans coming last year, and one was even wearing a shirt that he had received as a prize during our Bible school last year. While these kids were not as well behaved as the ones at the special needs school, I made sure to mention at devotion the things Roman told me about the area last year. Many kids in this area have problems with drug use; the area is crime laden and is sort of a halfway point where released prisoners are brought. Many of these kids may not have parents, or if they do, they may only have one parent or may not have a great home life. I just pray that there will be a break for them soon, that those here will continue to work with them and show them God’s love and mercy.
Tonight we went to Bogdan and Oksana’s house for tea and dessert; we enjoyed a delicious cake that Oksana made and were able to fellowship with this wonderful family. Demetryk entertained us with a little guitar playing and the recitation of a poem. A year ago, Demetryk was in the orphanage we visited on Monday; it is amazing to think that the team only met Demetryk last year, and now this year he is happy in a home with a great family. God works miracles for sure.
|Above: Maksym and his father at the special needs school.|
|Two boys, above, helping each other with their friendship bracelets in Stebnik. The one on the right is wearing a shirt given out as a prize last year at VBS.|
|Demetryk and Oksana|