Open Arms Update, July 2008

July 22, 2008


July 2008

A Day in the Life…
Since our official move to Sumy we, as Open Arms, have been continually blown away by the work God is allowing us to be a part of. It is an incredible honor to work with all of you as His hands and feet in the lives of so many in Ukraine. We have been focusing our efforts on finding long-term and tangible support that will help the orphans who struggle in their post-orphanage transition in life such as education and job training. As we work to walk alongside the many children no longer at the Pravda orphanage, we have also established weekly visits to the orphanage to continue our ministry there. Not only are we able to visit the 200 children of Pravda weekly, but this gives us an opportunity to connect with the “Shevchenko” family of Ivanivka, comprised of children no longer at the orphanage, as we work to help them succeed in their goals. Visits have also begun with the various children from Pravda who are now in prisons throughout Ukraine. No support exists for these orphans and the mistakes of their pasts in no way define the future God has in store for them. All this has been taking place as we solidified a simple apartment on the outskirts of the city that acts as our central location of ministry for the time being – with daily meals being provided for these desperate children and a location of refuge available for them.

The days are busy, the stories are heavy, and we know that trials await us as we work to help these forgotten children. We continue to trust God’s will in it all and look forward to more triumphs and trials to share with you all!


Roman Yeremenko

Roman is a rare kid – he is full of charisma and laughter despite the harsh realities of his life. He carries responsibility with grace and communicates his heart to those around him with love. He has 5 brothers and 1 sister – 2 brothers were adopted out of the country years ago. Now, his older brother faces prison and his sister gave into a life of prostitution. Roman refuses to live this same kind of life.

As a young child, his father would electrocute him and hang him from his neck for as long as his little body could handle it before death. His mother left when he was only 4 years old and has been in and out of the picture ever since – always leaving destruction behind her. At 6 years old, Roman’s dad’s life ended in a drunken rage. Roman and his siblings were then left to the cruel orphanage system.

During his time at the Pravda orphanage Roman dedicated himself to his schoolwork and made his way to a better orphanage in the city of Sumy. He recently finished his 9th grade education and we were blessed to be a part of his “graduation day”. We were the only family present on this occasion and it was clear he was proud to have us there. Since our move to Ukraine, Roman began to come to our apartment every day after school. We do all we can as a team to provide for his needs – physical, emotional and spiritual. Through this process he has become an integral part of our family and we are excited to help him in what lies ahead now that he is no longer in the orphanage.

Right now we are focusing our efforts on helping Roman find better schooling in the Sumy area. As of now, his orphanage has him set for a low-end trade school in the village where his mother now resides. It is an awful, dangerous village, and Roman would be forced to live in an environment that would put his very physical life in danger daily. His mother’s boyfriend is an abusive alcoholic who attempts to stab Roman and his brothers when he is drunk. Recently, Roman’s older brother Losha (who is currently at the same trade school) received a deep stab wound in his leg. Roman was there visiting his brother when this happened and was able to pull the knife out… they might not be so lucky in the future.

Our prayers for Roman, Losha, and the rest of the Yeremenkos is that God would give us wisdom and direction as we attempt to help these desperate children. God is clearly moving and providing a new way and life for these young boys as we work alongside them. Please join with us and pray that we can continue to provide the resources that will best help them. All prayers and support are greatly needed in this effort.  

The “Shevchenko” Family

Sergey Hutarev and Dusya Sityuk both graduated from Pravda in 2006, and together, they now have a beautiful 14-month-old daughter, Vala. These three (along with Dusya’s brother, Misha, and Sergey’s brother, Vova) live in the little village of Ivanivka, in sight of the Pravda orphanage where they spent the majority of their childhood growing up together. With almost no support and no example to look to of how to raise a healthy family, Sergey and Dusya, both only 19 years old, work hard to love each other and support themselves. Both have heart wrenching stories of absent parents and what they endured as young children. Dusya’s heart for people is uniquely beautiful, especially considering she didn’t grow up with anyone showing her consistent love in any form. She has a natural ability to pour out motherly love and care, not only to Vala, but also to many of the kids from Pravda who daily come to hang out at their house. Sergey’s love for Dusya and Vala is beyond words. He finds what work he can to provide for them and strives to be the loving father that he never had. Hard working and committed, they are currently saving to have gas and water installed in the little house they were fortunate to inherit from Dusya’s grandmother.

Open Arms has been truly blessed in our relationship with this precious family, even before they left the orphanage. They have always had a strong influence on the kids of Pravda, continuing since they graduated thanks to the close proximity of their home to the orphanage. God recently showed us how significant their salvation would be to these other kids – both those already graduated and those still at Pravda – because of this influence. Please join us in praying for God to allow us to continue to support, love them, and see God work mightily in their lives.

Thanks and Prayers

Thank you for all of your prayers and support as we minister in Ukraine.  We need you so much as we continue our ministry and follow where God leads us.  We have many needs and prayer requests that we wanted to share.  You are such a vital part of our ministry and we are so thankful for your help.

·         Pray that local churches/Christians would support, encourage, and join our ministry

·         Pray for the graduates who are on summer break right now, that God would protect them

·         Pray for God to give us His wisdom and guidance as we set up more boundaries and structure in our ministry

·         Pray for God to soften the hearts of the children we work with, that He would provide opportunities for the gospel to be shared, that He would give them faith and salvation

·         Pray for opportunities to network with already existing organizations in Ukraine that would help us develop a school and work program for the graduates

·         Pray for the children that are in prison, that we would learn how to best minister to their needs and that God would comfort them and draw them to Himself

·         Pray for our own spiritual encouragement and unity as a team

If you would like to become a part of Open Arms Ukraine through prayers, financial support, or would like to hold a fundraiser to help with the costs in running such a ministry, your help is greatly needed and appreciated. All checks should be made out to Open Arms Ukraine and mailed to P.O. Box 277, San Lorenzo, CA, 94580-0277. Also check out our blog for more pictures, video links and other updates from our ministry in Ukraine – Feel free to e-mail us with any questions you may have: With the body of Christ, great things are possible in His name.


PO Box 277 * San Lorenzo, CA 94580-0277 * (510)435-3625 * *

For other posts on this ministry, click here.

One Response to “Open Arms Update, July 2008”

  1. Teriffic work! Please tell us more about the orphans who are graduating out into nothing and what you do!
    David Cottrell

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