Open Arms Newsletter – Nov. ’08

November 21, 2008

OPEN ARMS

November 2008 

A Face of Open Arms

18-year-old Losha Yeremenko is a kid who simply loves to laugh, but behind the smile there are countless scars cutting deep after years of pain and abuse. Second born in a family of 6 sons, Losha quickly learned how ugly life can be. Electrocution in puddles of water was just one of the methods of abuse his alcoholic father would inflict on him and his brothers. At merely 7 years old, after his father’s death and his absent mother loss all parental rights, Losha and his brothers were left to the orphanage system. In his years at the orphanage, Losha watched two of his younger brothers get adopted, while he received twisted forms of punishment, such as being taken on more than one occasion to be drugged and “treated” at a mental hospital. The loses and pains of this time are hardly mentionable for Losha.

After finishing the orphanage, Losha was sent to trade school in the village where his mother still lives. His alcoholic step-father there has made countless attempts to end Losha’s life, even succeeding in getting a knife stuck in Losha’s leg only months ago. His schooling was one of the worst we have seen and his very situation put his life in danger. With this reality Losha made the decision to try for change by transferring to Sumy. We fought with him in the process, as multiple schools initially accept him only to kick him out simply because he is an orphan. Finally, God cleared the way for Losha to enter an upper division trade school in Sumy. This is far better schooling than anything he has received and it allows our team to work much more closely in Losha’s life. Now, Losha is praised by his teacher as one of her hardest workers, he gets up at 6:30am to make it to school on time each day, and no one is threatening his life.

It is continually surprising to watch as he opens his heart through years of relationship. The countless pains he has endured have made Losha one of the strongest kids we know. He is unashamedly loyal to those he holds dear and a protector at the core. In the midst of his strong, silent spirit resides a tenderness that is a rare gift to those he shares it with. We are completely honored to have him as a gift from God in our ministry and we look forward to the ways God will move in his beautiful heart.

Winter Needs

With Christmas fast approaching and the frosty weather settles in on Sumy, Open Arms is working hard to meet needs on various ends of our ministry. We are currently asking for support in two areas: first, our ministry in the Sambir juvenile prison, and second, in our Sumy ministry with the Pravda graduates. Please consider joining us this Christmas to help bless these kids in the following ways.

Our prison ministry in Sambir involves working with a juvenile prison of around 200 boys. We have recently received official government approval for Open Arms to bring programs to the prison. This gives us the incredible opportunity to bring the message of God’s grace, forgiveness and love to these boys whose lonely hearts are so in need comfort. For Christmas we’re looking to bring 200 watches (plastic or fabric, no metal) as gifts to the boys there. A simple gift can do so much to bless and encourage these children. If you are interested in donating one or more watches, please let us know! Watch donations can either be mailed to Open Arms or brought to one of two drop locations. In northern California: 17049 Via Flores, San Lorenzo, CA 94580. In southern California: 10637 Ashworth St., Bellflower, CA 90706.
 

Working to take care of the physical needs the Pravda grads in Sumy is a much more difficult task in winter than in summer. With temperatures already dropping to the 30s and snow soon on its way, keeping the kids warm in sufficient winter clothing requires a bigger budget than other times of the year. And trying to bless these kids with a Christmas gift adds to the financial need. This is where you can come in! Sponsoring a child, for either winter clothes or a Christmas gift, can be such a blessing, both to you and to the kids! To give you an idea of the costs to purchase these items in Ukraine, here are some gifts and their suggested donations:

Jacket: $40-50.                           Shoes: $30-35.               

Pants: $25-30.                             Christmas gift: $25-30.

Beanie and Gloves: $20.              Long-sleeve Shirt: $15.      

Warm Socks (5 pair): $10.

Any size donation is gladly welcomed! Donations can be sent to Open Arms (with “winter clothes” or “Christmas gift” in the memo line) to help us support and love these kids this winter. If you would like your gift to go purchase something specific, please note it with your donation.

Prayer Needs

Thank you to all of our faithful prayer supporters. We fully believe in the power of prayer and we know God has heard your prayers. Please continue to remember us and our ministry in your prayers. Here are some ways you can be praying of us specifically:

·          Things to continue going well at Losha’s school

·          Winter clothes for the kids

·          Our orphanage ministry

·          Our prison ministry: that we would be able to get funds so we can do ministry once a month with a team of Ukrainians from the church

·          For our kids, Sasha and Ivan, in prison that their spirits would not be broken and that they would come to know the Lord

·          Our watch drive for the prison

·          Summer camp at the orphanage (This is a really huge opportunity for us. It has been our dream since the beginning. Please be praying for direction and for people at home to be listening to God about how to help.) 

Again, we would like to thank you all for your support. We are so thankful that God has given you to us! And we look forward to sharing with you soon how God is answering our prayers. We have some very exciting things coming up and know God is moving in big ways.

P.O. Box 277 * San Lorenzo, CA 94580-0277 * PH (510) 276-1239 * E-Mail: openarmsministry@gmail.com

dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but in ACTION and in TRUTH. 1 john 3:18

 

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