Dear Friends,

The Ukrainian government has extended the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic once again, until August 31 (originally it was May 1, then end of June, then July 31st). Roller coaster ride….


Now, in speaking with orphanage directors with which we work (our national staff member Sveta Baranova has been in touch constantly with them) , we understand that their hands are tied, and the government will NOT allow the orphans to come to our August Bible Camp. We must reschedule.
For example, the current government restrictions would mean that for our four leaders who come from Belarus to serve at the camp (Liza, Vadim, Lousha & Alina), and Laura from Latvia, upon arrival they would have to quarantine for 14 days before they could even join us. That’s impossible for them to get off from work or school for an additional 14 days! Plus, the expense of hotel, meals, for and extra 14 days? Just one of the repercussions we’re navigating.
This is a difficult situation for everyone – us, the orphanage staff, and especially for the orphans…our hands are tied, but we must pray and plan given the circumstances we’ve been handed. By all means, number one priority must be that we want our staff, and these precious children to be safe and healthy!
Plus, we’ve learned that the government mandates has virtually shutdown ALL camps for orphans ALL summer. It’s been a very difficult time for the orphans, psychologically, with no place to go, left to stare at the four walls of a bleak orphanage, or worse yet, many are sent to relatives to stay (isn’t that why many of them are in the orphanages in the first place because it’s not safe at home???).
As you have read, we have already set up two contingency plans, a Plan B and a Plan C if you will, actually with the help and at the suggestion of Yanna Titunik, Orphanage Director of Snovsk Village Orphanage, Ukraine, and with Yuri our contact in Truskovyets who negotiates with the potential camp locations for us there.
Of course, ALL totally understand our dilemma, that our hands are tied, and are they are FULLY cooperating. Plan B places us into late October at the fall break for school, and Plan C is scheduled for December.
We have already been able through Yuri to reserve the space for October, and to address with them conversations about December if it’s needed.
Funds for camp have been set aside. Through our August 10 deadline, we were able to raise about 70% of what we raised last year THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED! One ‘silver lining’ God may be providing is the opportunity to continue to raise orphan sponsorships to make up the difference. We haven’t decided how to approach that yet. We’re still sorting through everything.
We do know that it flips our usual schedule somewhat (what hasn’t been ‘flipped’ in our lives due to this unprecedented situation!) and we will ‘Launch’ our monthly orphanage outreaches and our new season of ‘Fresh Start’ in September as originally planned (more on that as we make the necessary plans).
Understand that one of the greatest challenges we have is ministering in three different countries where there are very different situations and approaches to this crisis – Ukraine, Belarus and Latvia. For example, Ukraine has tried to be very strict since March, while seeing the numbers continue to be troubling, while Belarussian President Lukashenko in the beginning of the pandemic called it a hoax, and later, once he acknowledged that there was a pandemic, simply advised Belarussians to ‘drink more vodka and go to the saunas and the disease will be killed.”
So this is the path we’re on….it’s not what we had hoped for, but what can we do except trust that nothing takes God by surprise and as we look to Him, we will eventually see that, whichever plan we may realize, if it’s our Plan B or Plan C or Plan D, it will be God’s Plan A and we will fully understand why!
This first one is one of our daily Bible camp memory verses:
Proverbs 3:5,6 – Trust in and rely confidently on the LORD with all your heart, And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].”
Romans 8:28 – “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
With Kindest Regards, Greg