Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 at 18:52
Andrey Revtov, Galina Kulyeshova, and Irina Lakiza, are coming to the U.S. Here is their tentative schedule:
November 5 -- I will be speaking at Atlanta Christian College
November 5 -- Speaking with "Father's Heart Ministry" group
November 7-- I will be speaking at the WestPoint Vineyard in West Point, Georgia
November 13 -- Andrey and the girls flying to Lansing, Michigan
November 14 -- The group will be speaking at the Monroe Christian Church south of Detroit
November 18 -- Andrey speaking at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, Michigan
November 20 -- Speaking to Ukraine groups in Detroit, Michigan
We will also be setting up numerous other meetings with friends and interested people, television appearance, and other meetings.
Please pray that these meetings are productive; touching the hearts of the listeners for the kids in the streets.
Also: Shirley and I spoke at the Killbuck Valley Christian Church, OH this last weekend. A great bunch of people and a beautiful area. Joe Milazzo is the minister and his people were stirred by the plight of the kids. They are already thinking of ways to help.
Good friends of ours, Fred and Janet Briggs, had contacted their daughter Linda and son-in-law Frank Figaroa who are members at Killbuck. Thanks Fred, for your referral. Anyone else have a contact for us?
Left to right: Joe and Liz Milazzo (Minister), Linda and Frank Figaroa.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 at 08:52
We just found out that this Sunday Nastya will be 13-years old. Nastya is the girl on our homepage leaning on the pipe in her sewer home (since she was 7).
Our friend, Alla Dobriyanna in Kherson, wrote this:
Alla Dobriyanna wrote this:
Nastya's birthday is October, 31. She will turn 13. Right now she works at a dump. She looks for the metal things and takes it to special traiding offices where they pay money for the metal. Last time when she visited the ministry was October, 21. She told me about her job, she was very helping in the ministry and then dissapeared. Yes, please, do write her a letter, she will get very happy. Nastya is changing, getting older. Keep praying for her.
We're waiting for you at Christmas! Look forward to meeting you face to face.
Thank you for your prayers. Only through our powerful God we are able to meet each other.
Love in Christ,
Also, when I asked Nastya what she would like us to bring her for Christmas. She said a stuffed tiger toy. We found one! It is going to be her birthday present now.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 at 10:05
Thanks for praying!
Andrey, Galena, and Irina (Andrey's children's ministry directors), will be in Atlanta in just a few weeks. Shirley and I are flying down and have multiple meetings set up for them. Then we will be flying them to Michigan...for more meetings and speaking engagements.
Pray that these meetings will raise awareness and funds for the plight of the hatches kids.
Monday, October 11,2004
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2004 at 09:53
Yesterday, at age 52, Christopher Reeves passed from his brave life to the next. When I checked my home page this morning I was saddened by the passing of a super man. Christopher was not only the star of the Superman series for a brief stint, he was also the star of on of our favorite movies, "Somewhere in Time". He and Jane Seymour showed us that love could transcend time itself.
Sure it was sappy. Sure it was a box office flop at first, but later it became the most requested HBO flick to date. Why was that? I think its because we all want the perfect love and even time can't box that in. Christopher suffered a horse riding accident as a result of making this cute movie that touched our hearts. He was afraid of horses, but eventually he overcame that fear. Maybe he should have kept that fear. However, his courage since the accident has inspired all of us that have a shread of heart left.
Fifty-two years old. He vowed he would walk again. He kept up his courage. I am hoping...that he is now running with the horses. This life can be cruel. This is not the picnic to come...this is a battle field. Christopher suffered and hoped for the best. God bless you Christopher.
Nastaya, and millions of other orphans around the world are also hoping for the best. They wish for...hope for...a couple of people that will love them like in the movies. For most of these kids, it will not come. For some, the hope keeps them alive.
I am 52 years old this year also and I am wondering what I have done with my life to date. Yes, I have a wonderful wife and family. Yes, I can walk freely. However, this old platitude keeps prodding me on..."Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."
At one point this year I was driving to church early one Sunday morning. I had a car problem so I could only drive 52 miles per hour. I then realized I was traveling on highway 52 and was about to hit the 52 mile from home mark. Then it happened, at that mark, I was passing the Chelsea proving grounds (for automotive testing). I realized I was 52 and that God had been molding me for such a time as this. One life...would soon be past...only what's done for the heart of Christ will last.
I say goodbye to a good guy. Goodbye Christopher. You were a good guy. I continue...at age 52...to reach out to the orphans and the street kids who struggle to keep hope...that one day someone will love them with a miraculous love.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 at 09:01
Andrey Revtov, Galena (director of the street kids ministry) and Irina (co-worker), all plan to fly to the U.S. the first of November. Problem is that with the fear of terrorist activity around our elections, Andrey's embassy is being very cautious about who they let travel. Please pray they are accepted.
Andrey is scheduled to speak at Atlanta Christian College, Great Lakes Christian College (Lansing, MI) and various other meetings. We need to get the word out about the street kids.
Love's Bridge shared this: Dear Michael Wetzel,
Greetings from Perm and welcome to our 25th update!
In June two of the young people who lived in our shelter "A Step Towards Home", Denis and Oleg, graduated from their professional school (similar to community college) and received their diplomas! Now they're looking for work so they can start living independently.
One of our social workers, Irina, has some more good news about Denis: "Last autumn I came across the address where Denis' father used to live. As it turned out his aunt was living there. She used to take care of Denis when he was little, but she hadn't heard from or seen him for 7 years! Denis started visiting her, and quickly became friends with his cousin who's six years older than him. Last autumn Denis started living with his aunt full time. For the first time in many years he celebrated Christmas and New Year's with his family. Though he used substances a few times, this year he successfully finished his studies, and spent time in a clinic to cure his desire for substances. It's wonderful that he's living with family again!"
The rest of the kids were also well occupied this summer. They went on several rafting trips down the river "Silva". Vlad and Slava liked it there so much that they went back in August, while some of the other kids went down to the Black Sea. After traveling in a van for three days, diving into the ocean was a great feeling! Natasha and her small child also went with them.
Our ACT center graduates regularly visit us to let us know how they're doing or ask for assistance. Here's a story from one of these teenagers, told by our ACT teacher, Natalie: "Sasha successfully completed our ACT course, chose a professional school, and gathered the documents needed to start studies in September. Then her step-father (and sole caretaker) died unexpectedly. Sasha was left alone with her younger brother. Right after the tragic event she came to our center for help. We contacted her relatives and her Aunt agreed to take her and her brother in. So she'll be able to study after all, with the added responsibility of looking after her younger brother."
As the new school year started the kids in our shelter resumed studies on September 1st, and a new group of underprivileged teenagers started the ACT course on September 8th. Some of the kids in the shelter have also been learning to cook; they are starting to make many of their meals themselves! We also took a new boy into the shelter. His name is Ivan and he's 13 years old. He's been living on the streets and sniffing substances for a year now, but after lots of care and attention from the caretakers at our day center he decided to quit sniffing and move into our shelter. He originally ran away from home because he couldn't get along with his foster family. We plan to help him restore relations with his relatives, once he gets over his addiction to substances.
One of our biggest concerns right now is providing a place where underprivileged teenagers can gain some work experience in an environment where their problems are understood. Over the last two years we have secured commitments from several Perm businesses to hire underprivileged teenagers (over 16 years old). This has worked out for some of our graduates, but for others it is more difficult because the managers in these businesses aren't adapted to working with individuals from such a difficult background. We have several ideas for combating this problem; the first one is souvenir production. Some of our teachers are currently learning how to make certain Russian souvenirs, after which they will set aside certain days to produce souvenirs with whichever teenagers are interested. The souvenirs will be sold and the proceeds divided between the individuals who produced them. We have other ideas as well, and will be developing them over the next few months.
Thank you for your continued support!
Your Love's Bridge team
Fact box: Confused about Russian names?
There's a story in this update about a girl named Sasha. You may be thinking "I thought Sasha was a boy's name." Well, it's both. Like "Bob" is short for "Robert", "Sasha" is short for Alexander (a male name), and also short for Alexandra (a female name). Generally we tend to call kids and friends by their shortened names. Here are some other alternative names, with their complete counterparts:
- Zheyna (male or female) is short for Yevgeny or Yevgenya
- Katya is short for Ekaterina
- Vova is short for Vladimir
- Kolya is short for Nikolai
- Nastya is short for Anastasia
- Vanya is short for Ivan
- Masha is short for Maria
Friday, September 17, 2004
Posted: Friday, September 17, 2004 at 07:20
How easy it is for me to lose sight of the kids hiding in the hatches. I go about my daily business of house painting, fence building, movie going and forget so easily. Hundreds of little children are sleeping in sewers. I see a small 6 year old girl and think, "How can this be that girls and boys this age are living alone on the streets of Russia and Ukraine".
Every once in a while I put on the video of the kids and it all comes back to me. There they are--on the other side of the earth--dirty, sniffing glue to survive, begging, hungry and lost.
I can't wait to get over to Kherson in a few months. Yet, I am a bit apprehensive about going, wondering if it will be overwhelming. I just want to keep them in the forefront of my mind and in my prayers. With your help, we hope to get the word out. Please don't forget them.
Posted: Monday, September 13, 2004 at 08:07
We just received word from All Dobriyana of Kherson Christian that:
Last Friday I took Nastya to hospital where they treat infectious diseases. The skin on her shin got inflamed. She will be staying in the hospital for two weeks. I read you leter for her. Your attention and love are very important for her. She just shines when she receives a note from you. Here's what she's replying to you....
"I'm praying for you that you'll able to come to visit me. I would like for you to bring me a big tiger toy".
Please pray for this little girl.
Monday, September 6,2004
Posted: Monday, September 06, 2004 at 19:18
By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem----September 5......Just days away from the third anniversary of the 9/11 Islamic terror attacks against the US, Islamic terrorism has again lifted its ugly, barbaric face. Wails of mourning echoed through the streets of a Russian town this morning as a duty officer at the North Ossetian health ministry said that over 350 Russian civilians, mostly young children, had been murdered. More than 540 people were wounded. Medical officials said 423 people remained hospitalized, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
How many children must die? Yes, these innocents made the international news. Yes, we are grieving. This horrid act was committed by evil minds seeking their own freedom at the expese of others.
Yet, thousands of innocents are still aimlessly wandering the streets and dying of tuberculosis, syphillis, starvation and freezing to death in their sleep.
Shepherd's Purse has about 600 pounds of clothes, coats and boots for the kids of Kherson, Ukraine. Right now we need shipping money to get them there before winter. If you donate here online, 100% of your donation is going for this purpose. Or you can mail it to us.
Please, get the word out, lets do our small part to stop the tragedy.
Thursday, August 6, 2004
Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 21:10
Recently I sent a letter to Nastaya.
Here was her response today:
Hello Michael and Shirley,
I love you very much, please, come sooner, I'm waiting for you.
Alla told me about you. We live badly now again. Mom has started drinking and yelling again. My mom is pregnant with the 5th child. The father-in-law beats her up all the time.
Send me the picture of me that is on the Internet.
Best wishes on the Holiday of the Christ's Transfiguration. Alla has invite me to the worship service. I'll go and will sing songs and won't leave untill the service ends.
Looking forward to your reply.
It breaks our heart. Please pray.
We plan to visit this Christmas (January 7 in Ukraine). "Christmas in Kherson" is now a reality. We will take tents to Andrey for kids camp and work with hundreds of kids. Best of all...we hope to finally meet Nastaya face-to-face.
If you would like to help out with this trip...hit our donate button. It is perfectly safe and goes directly to our account.
And please continue to pray.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 10:39
Great news! My son Jamie, (an associate minister at Meridian Christian), are flying to Kherson, Ukraine for their Christmas (January 6th). We found cheap fares and decided to take the tents over ourselves as a nice Christmas present for Andrey's ministry.
More news will be coming on this event. I will need to raise about $500 towards this trip. Please pray about this.
Monday, August 23, 2004
Posted: Monday, August 23, 2004 at 09:34
Yesterday Shirley and I visited Jamie and Julie's (son and daughter-in-law) church, Meridian Christian. Got a chance to talk with Eric Sherman for a few minutes and heard more about his visit to Kherson last year. He told us that when he was filming in the hatches they felt dark and dank. There are pipes carrying hot water and pipes for sewage. The kids put blankets on the hot water pipes to sleep on (to stay warm), but they have to be careful not to get burnt. Several hatches were very cramped space wise...others are a bit more open.
When they met Nastaya she was still sleeping around 2 p.m. Most of the kids are out and about at night and sleep from about 4-5 a.m. till? Nastaya woke up and was perky pretty quick. Eric says she seems sharp. She was looking at one of their cameras and picking up the mechanics real quick...taking pictures.
She told them she pays protection to a local restaurant owner. Somehow that works I guess. We are still praying for her and all the others. We hope to meet her someday and just sent her a letter via Alla Dobriyana who works at the Kherson Christian Church center for the kids. She knows Nastaya well and said it would be a great idea for us to write Nastaya.
The latest news is that my son, Jamie, and I are looking into spending Christmas in Kherson. Their Christmas is after our New Year. I have had this dream of "Christmas in Kherson" for awhile. We discovered some real reasonable fares that time of year and are thinking that instead of spending $400-500 to ship our tents...we may just take them. That way we will get to work with the kids at Christmas and take a nice gift for them. Please pray about this.
Check out this link. It is a Ukraine travel site. It has all kinds of good stuff on it about traveling there. Even some good webcams. It is funny...check out the Kiev south train station...all you see is the tops of some trees move slightly.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 at 09:06
The kids living on the streets are as young as 3 years old. Officials in Moscow estimate there are as many as 50,000 children living on the streets of the Russian capital, begging, stealing and sometimes selling themselves to get by. Most estimates are running higher. The weakened economy has incited many families to sell, abandon, or abuse their children, which they can no longer afford. Many children simply run away.Vladimir is about an hour north of Moscow and was host to a week long camp sponsored by Legacy. This ministry of arts was begun in memory of singer Rich Mullins.
Eric and Andrea Sherman, Paradox Productions, were invited by Legacy to present a week long camp on video production for a group of orphans in Vladimir. Check out their site. The pictures are professional. The diary is moving.
We hope, that as funds become available, Paradox Productions will be able to help us produce a promotional video of the street kids plight. Our goal is to go to Kherson, Ukraine in the spring of 2005 to work with the kids and bring back a video.
Please consider supporting Shepherd's Purse on a monthly basis. Even a small amount would be an encouragement for us to expand our work of promoting awareness and raising supplies for the street kids. Please pray.
Monday, August 9, 2004
Posted: Monday, August 09, 2004 at 09:27
Andrey Revtov is coming to Atlanta, Georgia the first couple of weeks in November for some meetings and conferences. Shirley and I hope to go down and set up a couple of meetings with him in the hopes of introducing his ministry to more people.
We are still in the process of setting up our tents to ship and finding sleeping bags. This is an interesting learning experience for me. In America we are used to instant results. I just assume I can go out and buy tents one day, ship them the next, and Andrey will have them within a week. Wow...patience!
Even contacting our people in Russia and the Ukraine who work with the kids takes time...more time than I am used to giving. I am realizing we need to fill in the gaps with praying for the kids...sitting quiet and sensing the heart of God for them.
If you have been thinking of going to Kherson with us next spring, now is the time to let us know. We are getting ready to raise our support for the trip so we can hopefully find good ticket deals by January...before rates go up. Right now there is a range of $900-$1,700. The rates seem higher in the summer. Cheaper in the spring.
Keep praying for the kids...they haven't stopped living on the streets. They are still without moms and dads.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 at 21:09
We have purchased 12 tents marked half price. Enough for 50-60 kids. Thank you all for your generosity. We still need to ship them and it appears we have that cost covered too. Then last Sunday the kid's church presented me with a surprise. They had an art auction and raised $342.75 towards sleeping bags. Now we are looking for those.
Russian Orphans in U.S.
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2004 at 16:50
This was a great story posted on my son's website. Marquette is where we lived for almost 10 years.
Attempted Communist Takeover
Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2004 at 07:37
Andrey Revtov, who works with the hatches kids in Kherson, has told us of how the Mafia has been trying to recruit kids to work for them. He also told us about the resurgence of communist sympathies among some. It is not that they want the old regime with its harsh government, but they remember that all had food, jobs and homes.
Right now the door is open for us to plant seeds in the hearts of these young children. What will our world look like in 15 years.
I just read a news article from Kherson about an attempted revolt. Read it for yourself...and pray...and help us.
Just one isolated child in a dark world can make a difference.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 at 19:25
It looks as if we have our 12 tents!!! I will send an update this next week...and a newsletter. Please continue to send your report though...we still need shipping money, newsletter supplies, and are still trying to raise monthly support for Shepherd's Purse staff of one.
I will announce our next project next week. We are either going to get sleeping bags...which the kids could use on the camping trips and then keep...or Kwell lotion in bulk.
Thanks everyone for your generosity!
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 at 21:25
Tomorrow I leave for Illinois to speak at a men's conference. There are Bible College professors and preachers speaking several times a day for two days. I will be sharing Shepherd's Purse on Friday afternoon and have a display for both days.
On Sunday I will present Shepherd's Purse at a church in Lansing, Michigan.
The good news is we have people committed to buying seven of the twelve tents so far. We are still hoping to get our twelve soon.
I was re-reading my e-mails from Alla in Kherson. She works with the street kids at Kherson Christian Church and knows Nastaya well. There was an excerpt about her suspecting Nastaya might have syphilis. When she tried to gently suggest that Nastaya should go to a doctor, Nastaya changed the subject. Nastaya is about 12 years old now. I pray she makes it to adulthood. And I pray she becomes an influence in the lives of many other street kids. Alla told me it would be a good thing for me to send Nastaya a letter of encouragement. I will be working on that next week.
And there are upward of 4 million of these kids. What can we do? Just one tent? Just one prayer?
Tuesday, July 6, 2004
Posted: Tuesday, July 06, 2004 at 11:13
We have just found a deal on tents. Our goal is to send 10-12 tents to Andrey as soon as possible and we just found some family style tents marked down half price. $100-down to-$50.
They look something like this style:
Here is Andrey's latest e-mail:
We had remarkable time - children's christian camp by the sea. 93 men (from them 75 children) were together during 10 days. All these days we had Bible study (two times per day). Morning service and evening service. A lot of games, a good meal and bed for children - believe it very much for children.
More than 30 children pray a repentance in last day. Everyone want to attend church and children's centre.
If we will be have tents, we can have another one camp.
Thursday, July 1, 2004
Posted: Thursday, July 01, 2004 at 09:33
We have received a donation on line for $500 and are using it to buy tents for Andrey Revtov. Each summer his group takes 50-60 of the 6,000 kids in Kherson camping at the Black Sea.
The kids are cleaned up, removed from the street environm ent, and given some needed nurturing. Cabins can be expensive so Andrey is praying for tents. This way they can not only cut the cost but take the kids more often.
I am trying to contact companies right now for donation or discount. If you can, please donate towards this project now.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Posted: Monday, June 28, 2004 at 09:40
Be sure to read the CNN report. I have been wondering exactly how many kids are on the streets in Russia and the Ukraine. This report says 2-4 million in Russia alone. This does not include Ukraine.
This weekend we presented Shepherd's Purse to the Monroe Christian Church south of Detroit, Michigan. We told them all about the "hatches" kids and various ministries dealing with the problem.
We are working on our next edition of the newsletter. If you have any good stories, "paragraph length", please share them. Right now I am trying to get someone to donate Kwell and tents to Andrey Revtov's ministry in Kherson. They can get rid of the lice with a turpentine? (or something) wash, but of course this burns and the kids won't do it. Something needs to be done though.
We are also trying to develop a base of monthly support for Shepherd's Purse. It is slow. Since I am a college instructor I have lots of flexibility to add this work to my schedule. We are hoping that support will enable us to get off the ground with this work. Our greatest needs right now are printing costs.
We still haven't heard from Oprah (I feel like David Letterman). He kept trying to get her on his show as a joke and kept telling people he had not heard from her yet. I guess I really don't expect to hear from her...yet...several people out of the blue...and more recently...suggested we contact her. We will see.
Watch for our next newsletter. Please comment on this website. Pray for the kids they are on the streets as we talk.