Wednesday, March 31, 2010

HOPE AND DIGNITY FOR SENIORS








WHAT AN AMAZING DAY

We told the seniors we would be out for the entire day to:
Prepare them a meal fit for kings and queens.
Bring some surprises.
Play chess and checkers.
Do hand massages.


Then they told us they would be doing a performance for us - and did they ever! THERE WERE SEVERAL WAITING FOR US IN THE YARD WHEN WE ARRIVED....ALL DRESSED UP. EVERY SENIOR DRESSED IN THEIR FINEST FOR THIS DAY.

We had songs, speeches, poems, jokes, accordion music, dances, wooden spoon concert on and on. We have NEVER SEEN SO MANY SMILES....

Today the team delivered a "ton" of wonderful things to them. Each senior received a beautiful hand made afghan from our sister church in Barrie - Cederview. The women worked hard to make slippers and afghans for them. We also has asked each senior what their wish list was. With that list, we sent the team into the market and collected their wishes. What a joy! We brought shoe repair material, hair cutting tools, art supplies, videos, classical music, socks, slippers and on and on! We put the items in beautiful "tjmax" bags brought from my visit with my sister.

video

Saturday, March 27, 2010

HOW CAN THIS BE?

MOSCOW AIRPORT

You will likely remember the story of Elizabeth, the woman from Nigeria that was stranded at the Moscow airport for almost two years. Her story is a terrible one and we are just thankful that the United Nations finally found her family and was able to prove her identity. As a result she was returned to her home country of Nigeria.

During our many visits with Elizabeth at the airport transit zone in Moscow over about a years time - we were made aware of another individual who had been there even longer than Elizabeth - a man from India. We don't know his name, don't know his story - he was always so silent. But we prayed that the United Nations would soon get him out as well.

TODAY, we were just there - at the transit zone in Moscow on a layover from Kiev as we were returning to Kyrgyzstan. The layover was for about 4 hours. We decided to take a walk to the end of the upper level walkway in the secured zone and WERE SHOCKED AT WHAT WE FOUND. THERE HE WAS. ITEMS ON THE FLOOR, SLEEPING ON OLD BLANKETS, left by other passengers seeing his plight, piles of plaid plastic bags, filled with assortments of items left by passengers hoping to ease his pain and suffering. But he is STILL THERE. We know so little - what to do, how to help? This is a devastating story - but then WHAT IS THE STORY? HE HAS LOST HOPE - CARES NOT TO TALK TO ANYONE. HE IS ALONE, IMAGINE HOW ALONE....AMID THE HUSTLE OF THOUSANDS. HOW CAN THIS BE?

PLEASE PRAY FOR A RESOLUTION HERE - we left him money for food, but what is money when you are trapped like a caged animal. HOW CAN THIS BE?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

THE LAST THREE DAYS


COMPLETING OUR TIME IN UKRAINE AND NOW BACK TO KYRGYZSTAN

We are now packing and getting ready to head for Kyrgyzstan tomorrow. However we want to summarize our last three days:

1. Completed a two day training for the Kiev region leadership in areas of child abuse and neglect.
2. Completed a two day training with the leadership from Father's House - a Christian Family Type Orphanage.
3. Completed a one day training with the local church leadership from here in Petrovskie.
4. Will meet tomorrow with the Deputy Director of Children's Services - to determine next steps in helping however we can in growing and strengthening the adoption processes here in Ukraine.
5. Catch a plane around 2pm on Friday - fly through Moscow and end up in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Saturday at 5:30 am.

THEN THE TEAM ARRIVES AT 5:30 AM ON SUNDAY! STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS OF WHAT IS AHEAD.

THE LAMB TEAM

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DO YOU HEAR THE CHIDREN ?

video

TEAM ARRIVES ON SUNDAY

We are often reminded of the urgency of the work we feel passionate about. The faces remind us again and again. This short 4 minute video is one such reminder. Each face has a story and each picture represents a moment we pray brought some hope and dignity to the lives of the children.

Our team arrives on Sunday - coming to serve and bless those they meet. Our on the ground team - Jayne and David are there waiting for us to return tomorrow. We work together to serve and to "stop for the one in front of us." Please know we thank each and everyone of you for helping us - praying for us and being in contact with us with encouragement. We cannot tell you how much this means.

The LAMb Team

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WINDING DOWN IN UKRAINE - GEARING UP FOR KYRGYZSTAN

A RECAP OF SOME OF THE RECENT UKRAINE ACTIVITES AND A QUICK LOOK AT WHAT IS TO COME:

UKRAINE
1. Completed 6 different training events - reaching over 150 people in total.
2. Completed final plans for the first ever conference for Ukrainian families who have adopted. Unfortunately now we are turning down couples from across Ukraine - we have 86 couples registered and confirmed. Speakers will include Operation Blessing director - Terri Meusen; our team member - Jayne Schooler; and several national adoptive parents. In addition, Lynn a I will be presenting a workshop for parents. This conference is being sponsored by our organization, Christian Broadcasting Network, and Father's House.
3. Worked with our team to prepare for some exciting new ministry opportunities in the future.

KYRGYZSTAN - coming up..
1.Team from our home church arrives on Sunday and we will be very active.
2.Sharing and ministering to many - including the homeless, seniors, children in orphanages and even in a prison or two with men who are there with sentences of capital punishment.
3.Continued strengthening of Mercy Foundation and in their work with the children of Central Asia.

STAY TUNED - WE ARE VERY BLESSED TO HAVE YOU CARE ABOUT OUR WORK.

THE LAMB TEAM

Sunday, March 21, 2010

THE TRAINING CONTINUES












As Ruby and I both continue training this week here in Ukraine, there are many faces that remind us of why we do training. Training is a catalyst for change. Training provides opportunities for participants to exercise critical thinking skills. Training provides the skills and knowledge needed to "Make A Difference". Much of the training we do is in 'training trainers' .... empowering nationals to carry on the work .... multiplication of the abilities of nationals to influence a child welfare system seeking best practice.

These are just some of the faces that remind us, that anchor us, in our "visit" to widows and orphans.[ James 1:27 ]

May God bless you abundantly as you continue to support us with your prayers and resources.

Friday, March 19, 2010

WHO SAID SERVING WAS BORING?

DEVELOPING TRAINERS AND KNOWING THE IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCE - We have often taught about the opportunity to influence when you are doing training. One of the most powerful tools for influence is modeling "best practice." Here you can see the response to a powerful question? "What hats might a trainer need to wear to influence?" LOOK AT THE ANSWER THIS GROUP CAME UP WITH...

Lynn is "influencing" through his sailor hat....maybe a "graduation" hat. We are not quite sure what it is.
Influence is beginning to happen. Might these two trainers do co-leading and model what Lynn is teaching?
Or shall these two trainers build the foundation for knowledge and help families and children to see what a "star" they really are?
Or perhaps, help families deal with their "ills" and encourage them to shine like a diamond in the sky!
No matter what the influence might encourage, ultimately these trainers will go out into the villages, cities and share with families that they are the key to their children's success. They will be the GATEKEEPERS OF TOMORROW!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

WHEN THE PAST MAKES CLEAR THE FUTURE

The beauty of the village - with the winter in spring still on the ground. Abandoned, but history galore. This masterpiece could speak volumns. The group of professionals - just one more ready to make a difference!

UKRAINE TRAINING EVENTS AND MORE

The beauty of Ukraine stretches far into the villages. One such reminder is this abandoned religious monument. It stands tall in this village as a reminder of days past. We conducted training here with over 20 leaders, who appreciated hearing about child welfare practices and how they can integrate new with the old.

One touching story was from a senior worker and her young staff, asking/begging us to come to her village and bring training to her village families. She claimed child abuse and reckless marriages are a severe problem for them. Her question, “do you have any training on just good parenting”, or “any training on building a strong marriage?”

We discussed possibilities and other persons who will be coming to Ukraine in the(30 people waiting for some “tools.”) How could we refuse?

Our stay was quite pleasant in the hotel. It is the first time we have actually stayed in a hotel in Ukraine, all these years we have accepted accommodations in homes, apartments, orphanages or such.

The training venue here was conducted in a government building where people go to seek a job. The building was bustling all day long during the training. Unemployment in Ukraine is high and the young people coming here to this site seeking a job only reminded us of the “hope and dignity” having work brings a person. We continue to pray for every opportunity to strengthen this fine country – we offer what we have been “groomed” for all these years. Training. We know from personal experience in our own lives with family and friends, you can offer all the training and humanitarian help you have and it is still up to the individual to take hold of their situation and make a difference. We cannot make choices for them.

This group of leaders will leave the training site with new information – and the next step is up to them. Our project continues to be – KEEPING CHILDREN OUT OF THE ORPHANAGES…THESE LEADERS ARE THE GATEKEEPERS.


Every Child Ukraine is our partner in this – they have a strong presence here and have done some amazing work. We are honored to be a little link in the bigger picture.

Working together to determine the family with strength, the family who will be good for a child.

Our work continues here in Ukraine. We have additional training with the new trainers, then two more leadership groups and finally working with Father’s House staff through their own transition.

FATHER’S HOUSE is a quality Christian organization which serves children and families in the Kiev area. They have developed family type foster homes, a rehabilitation center, a mother/child program, a summer camp program for children at risk, and are continually working on additional ideas and projects which will serve children as Christ has called all of us to do.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TRAINING EVENTS IN UKRAINE - MORE TO COME








Leadership group from training event with Every Child - Gatekeeping Project.





Working on a project during training.






Dutch team who brought their ideas and suggestions to Ukraine for us to consider how we might partner and work together.



GATEKEEPING PROJECT WITH EVERY CHILD - NGO
We ended the training event today for the leadership from around the Kiev region. We had 23 directors and deputy directors representing many different areas of children and family services. This training was to strengthen their partnership in working to KEEP CHILDREN OUT OF THE ORPHANAGES!

Tomorrow Ruby starts coaching a trainer working with social workers and Lynn will be working with the staff from Father's House - making some critical decisions on how to proceed with the strengthening of the team. This organization is well respected in their work with children and families. Father's House staff are very influencial in the decision making areas of children's services in Ukraine. We are honored to be working with them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT

WOUNDED CHILDREN HEALING HOMES



Dear Friends,

I cannot tell you how often we meet with parents, caregivers, children and others who are in deep pain on how to deal with the trauma that a child has experienced. Just last night, I had a worker begging me to help this mother of a nine year old girl that had been raped by her father. She pleaded for something to say to the mother, what to do to help her to help her child.

We don't have all the answers - but we do have a resource available that would be a tool to give out. This is the book that our team member (Jayne Schooler) wrote - Wounded Children Healing Homes. It is a powerful book that WILL HELP. Please help us get it translated into Russian and published for the Russian speaking world. We will be giving it away free of charge and we know it will be a blessing to many hurting families, parents and children. WE CAN GET IT TRANSLATED AND PUBLISHED - ABOUT 1500 COPIES FOR $5,250. THIS IS A LOT OF MONEY, AND WE NEED YOUR HELP. This is a special request on behalf of those who are hurting - please consider helping us get this published and into the hands of so many. We believe it will Make A Difference. The trauma to children here is so overwhelming.

Friday, March 12, 2010

THE YEARS OF PREPARING FOR TODAY

TRAINING REGIONAL DIRECTORS WHO ARE IN CHARGE OF ADOPTION IN UKRAINE
Deputy Minister of Ministry of Family, Youth and Sport - Ludmilla Volenetz.






Ending ceremony.










Regional director presenting group work.








31 participants.










ALL regions of Ukraine represented!

UKRAINE - SENIOR ADOPTION LEADERSHIP FROM ACROSS UKRAINE


There is such a story leading up to this three days of training these exceptional leaders..however I will tell only part of the story now.

The Institute for Human Services in Ohio is a leader in the field of child welfare. They have poured years and years into researching, writing and developing best practice strategies, materials and training tools for the field. One such project brought about a standardized training course called Adoption Assessor. It is legally required of ALL adoption assessors in the state of Ohio - to be certified in this training course BEFORE they can work with families wanting to adopt. In addition, the course has been adopted in different US states and provinces in Canada as well. It is an awesome course, preparing assessors to work with children and families; both birth and adoptive.

We have completed several rounds of this material in Ukraine and now - for the first time have been able to sit with the SENIOR leadership and review the highlights of this course. They were in awe - and their comments were to prove such awe.

"I have never had training like this before."
"How do we get this to our specialists?"
"You have challenged me so much in my thinking!"

Once again - BELIEVING THAT TRAINING IS A CATALYST TO CHANGE. Thank you Institute for Human Services for believing with us!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

UKRAINE and KYRGYZSTAN - LEADERSHIP TRAINING

LOOKING FOR THE FRUIT....

I(Ruby)just completed three days of training with come exceptional leaders here in Ukraine - all the directors of adoption from each region of Ukraine. We were asked to complete this training by the Deputy Minister of Family,Youth and Sport. She came and helped give certificates to the group on the last day, sharing with them how she hoped for implementation of their new learning about adoption. We are excited about the possibilities.


Lynn completes his three days of training with the leadership of Mercy Foundation in Kyrgyzstan today, already reporting success and excitement from the different leaders attending. Mercy Foundation continues to be a growing and developing organization, which has started four Christian schools, two orphanages, and now the International University of Central Asia. They are truly leaders in the field of education in the region of Chui in Kyrgyzstan.

Finally, Lynn completed the assessment needs for training for Father's House in Ukraine at the end of 2009 and once he gets to Ukraine will begin a series of training for the management staff of this fine organization. Father's House is a well respected family type orphanage. It has several families living throughout the complex - with up to 8 children in each family. In addition, it works to provide transition to children who would otherwise potentially end up in orphanages or on the street. With many different programs, this Christian organization leads the way for effective change and presentation of new ideas for working with children and families for Ukraine. The leadership is received into circles of influence with respect and recognition for their good work.

Stay tuned for more.... our work in Ukraine will be intensive in training and then we will be heading back to Kyrgyzstan on the 26th of March.

Thanks for your support.
The LAMb Team

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NEWS UPDATE

JESSICA'S DOOR. WE HAVE A DONOR FOR "JESSICA'S FAMILY" DOOR.

Watch the blog for updates on the changes in this family home. Remember, it is ONE family, ONE child, ONE senior and JUST ONE AT A TIME.

THANK YOU DEAR DONOR!

The LAMb Team

Monday, March 8, 2010

Door Man or Woman





I went to see "Jessica's" family yesterday. Considering their circumstances they are doing better, attempting to improve their surroundings. The mother had painted one room but ran out of paint and plaster to repair the walls.

Try to imagine living in a small apartment with no water, no heat and four small children. When I asked about the availability of gas, thinking about purchasing a stove, I was told the city turned off the gas to the entire building. I asked about the availablity of water, seeing a closed off pipe in a corner, I was told the city turned off the water. Apparently none of the tenants had been able to pay their bills so the city shut them down.

We introduced ourselves to this family a year ago and since then have provided some clothing, food and toys. We have watched their progress - they are trying.

We would like to start to help them in some tangible ways. The first would be to replace their front door - if you call what hangs there as a door - broken, patched, rotten wood.

When the team gets here at the end of March we are planning a clean/paint makeover and the purchase of new sheets and blankets. After that perhaps we can get the water connected and something more than a single rusty hotplate for cooking.

But for now, the door is an immediate need. I took a friend, who is a local contractor, to estimate replacing the door - he figured about $250. I know from his past work with us that amount will not include his labor, so add another $50.

I think that's a bargain ... a new front door and frame installed for $300. Is there someone who would like to be a 'Door Man or Door Woman' for this family? If so please hit the donate now button, follow the prompts and we will have the funds within a week.

Thanks from "Jessica's" family.

P.S. They are lovingly named "Jessica's" family after a social worker from Cleveland who first visited them.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

AIRBOUND again.





Ruby hit the road again early this morning, leaving here about 3am, hitching a ride to the airport in Bishkek, a flight to Moscow and then on to Kiev Ukraine where she will be training this week.

I remained here in Tokmok where I will implementing the initial trainings in Staff Development for Mercy Foundation. I will catch up to Ruby in Ukraine next weekend and we will be involved with training for two weeks before returning here on the 26th

Tomorrow is Woman's day here, a national holiday. Today at church it was a wonderful celebration for all women.

Spring has arrived here, temperatures in the mid sixties and sunny. I wandered around the old airport site this afternoon and took a few 'snaps'. The camera really doesn't do justice to the magnificence of the mountains..... always snow capped as you face south.

This awesome natural beauty lies in stark contrast to the conditions many children and families face here. James is clear in his description of "undefiled religion" and we are grateful to all of you who have helped us with encouragement, prayer and resources. Together our 'visit' will be much more than just a visit. Lives are changed - forever. Thank You.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

UKRAINE AND KYRGYZSTAN HOME AWAY FROM HOME

KYRGYZSTAN - Little Mylena, the newest addition to "Jessica's Family." What about a makeover for their home? Hey, team consider this! We took them a load of food today, all the family members were there. This family is really trying! Babushka selling us items to take to "Jessica's Family."

Beautiful little children at Orlovka orphanage kindergarden. Just so precious.








Sights from the market - as we went to gather some supplies for our team who is coming in next week.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS...

UKRAINE -I leave for Ukraine tomorrow and Lynn will be joining me in about one week. We will return here on the 25th. In Ukraine we have some exciting work - working with our team on the ground there - helping to activate and lead others to reach their full potential and to provide ideas. We will be actively working to "keep the gates closed" to the placment of children in orphanages. Our days will be crammed full of training and work with the locals.

Our team in Ukraine is strong and getting ready to take over the full responsibility for the work - we will continue to be their support system, encourager and team builder. We thank each and everyone of you for the help you have offered for this work.

Remember we are preparing to offer the first EVER adoption conference in April in Ukraine. We still need donors for this event - still hoping to raise another $2,500. This is a major event, as there will be over 150 parents coming together to CELEBRATE ADOPTION! Praise God for these families.

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