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A ministry targeting young people around the world, sharing the Love of God in Word and Deed.

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“God loves it when you pass notes in class”

  It started with a note passed to me in church by Linda Deeming, “I am praying for you, call if you need anything”. The next thing I knew, we were at the Deeming’s house eating dinner, and they were looking at us saying, “So now that we’ve told you all about our trip to Ukraine…wanna go?” My husband had never felt the call to work as a missionary, on even a short-term assignment. Until now, his world travels had consisted of Arkansas. So you can imagine my shock and delight when he told me that he thought we should do this.

In a blink of an eye, January became July and we were saying goodbye to our daughters and headed to the airport. Three plane flights, a train, and a bus ride later, and we pulled into Camp Kosmos. Dozens of children were screaming and waving. They quickly surrounded the bus and rushed to be the first ones to greet us. This is the closest I have every felt to being a rock star.


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The Least of These ©2003 - 2012 Copyright - The Least of These All Rights Reserved.

  My husband and I were assigned to a team that would be traveling to a different camp about 25 minutes away. Camp Mama was a very different atmosphere. There were about 130 children there between the ages of 7 to 16, from 2 different Internots and 1 worker’s camp from Moscow. It was like pulling up to a house in a very bad neighborhood and part of you wished you had the wrong address. We spent 9 days total working with the children from Mama. Many of them quickly became loving and playful, some were a little reserved, and some wished we weren’t there at all. We experienced poisonous caterpillars, saw deadly spiders, and the joy of a roach in your dinner. We saw children with third degree burns, a form of leprosy, and children with no bandages or basic medicines. Many days were fulfilling, but some were admittedly overwhelming.

  One day early on, a fight broke out during one of our programs. Vitalik and our team quickly intervened and tried to restore order. During the chaos, I noticed a young girl in the middle of all of it. She was not one of the ones fighting. She was so busy reading Vitalik’s bible that she barely even noticed that there was anything going on at all. It was like a spotlight of God’s light on Satan’s dark stage. I had never before been so keenly aware of the presence of light and darkness.

   We had the opportunity to see children come out of their shells and view us as friends. Some wished that they could come home with us. Many of the children let us take their picture as they told us the story of how they ended up in the orphanage. At the end of each profile, we asked the children what they would like us to pray for them. To hear a translator tell you, “She wants God to bring her a family that actually wants her, doesn’t drink alcohol, and won’t beat her” was enough to make me realize why we were there.

There were also times of fun and encouragement. We were invited on a hike, played thumb wars, and the children put on a program one night around a bonfire. There was volleyball and soccer with the kids, crafts and lots of hugs, more thumb wars, and having the children teach us words in Russian while we taught them the same word in English. There was prayers, singing, and playing with the children on the beach.

Some days were everything that I had expected, while others were much more, both good and bad. In the end, it is the bugs and the tents that start your story, but the children and the work done there stay with you long after. You find the children in your sleep, daydreaming about them on the bus, and praying for them many times a day. You look at the clock on your computer and can instantly calculate what time it is in Ukraine right now and wonder what how they are doing. You will leave the children behind, but the emotional and spiritual gifts that they give you, you will carry forever. We went there to change their lives, but it was they who changed ours.  

Summer 2005