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Children at Risk
Archive 3

Thursday, February 24, 2005
Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2005 at 08:07

Peter found us on the web a while back and in his journey found out about the street kids.  Through our correspondence I have come to appreciate this courageous brother.  On his sabbatical this year, Senior Minister of NewSong Community Church (in Bromsgrove, England), Peter Billingham and David Watson, a member of the congregation have chosen to hike the Himalayan Mountains and raise $10,000 for the kids in Kherson, Ukraine.  Follow his journey with us.  Check out his web site in our "Resources".  Amazing!!!  Pray for this brother.



Wednesday, February 23
Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 at 15:09

...$1,250!  Thanks to my good friend and and Minister Bill Cook for organizing the event.  Bill and I were roomates in college and have kept in touch throughout the years.  He is active in supporting a Haitian mission work and has taken groups to that area.  Bill had invited five groups to participate in the concert and they all graciously accepted the offer to help raise funds for the street kids in Russia and Ukraine

Doug and Barb Chopson opened and closed the program with some great singing and a moving song at the closing of the program. 


Bob Crouch and Company entertained us with complete with an amplified washtub. Thanks to Walter Hart and John Petro.  Good music guys!  That washtub guy was a wildman!  He was having fun.

Then Jim Housel told a hillarious joke about a guy fishing for his jacket in an outhouse.  It seems someone saw him with th e fishing pole and asked what he was doing.  The guy says he dropped his jacket down the hole.  Okay...that made sense...but then he was asked, "You aren't going to wear it are you?"  He responds with, "Nope, but I just put a ham sandwich in the pocket".  Yikes!  Jim's jokes entertained along with his singing talent.

Roger Waltz then got up and showed us how he could make music on his saw using a violin bow. He told me later the new bow wasn't giving the kind of tune he hoped for.  However, you could tell the crowd loved the sweet sounds he produced. And it was all for the kids suffering in the streets of Russia and Ukraine.

Finally, it was Vern Staggs group, "Special Delivery" and their rendition of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot". It was great!  Cathy Staggs was a trooper, fighting bronchitus to belt out her rendition of the song. Thanks also to Sandy Flannagan and Kevin Angstman.  You guys were great!

Thanks to all of you for your help in this project.  Bill said that because of the poor weather there was only 40 people in his church that morning.  The concert brought out 70 of us, some, like me, had to literally drive through ice and snow to get there.  We all had a great time and tears were shed for "the forgetten ones" who are struggling to survive. 

Thanks to all of you, one of our projects will include shipping  of about 30 boxes of clothes and supplies to various centers in Ukraine and Russia

By the way...we debuted our new display that night also. And the good news is Bill Cook has already begun the process for a second benefit in June.  Thanks again to my friend for his help.


Now we are preparing for a benefit in Yypsilanti, MI on March 12th.  "Unleavened", a contemporary worship band will be setting up this project.  See our events for details.



Thursday, February 7, 2005
Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2005 at 05:55

...currently studying for their bachelors degrees and plan to go on for their masters.   Currently, they are exploring the possibility of moving to an area like Kherson, Ukraine to work in pastoral training and helping the street kids.  There is one more couple in Lincoln, Nebraska and a girl in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Brian & Becky Zylstra

John & Megin Schaaf

Tim & Kasey Berry

We are also planning a trip with "The Hands" and "The Purse", in August to Kherson, Ukraine.  Please pray for these couples and for Shepherd's Purse.  Most of all....keep praying for the kids we are trying to help.



Monday, February 7, 2005
Posted: Monday, February 07, 2005 at 08:12

With 30-70,000 street kids in St. Petersburg, Russia, the task is overwhelming.  We just linked up with "Project Hope" there.  They are working out of an old monastary with no electric or hot water.  Wow...but what a ministry they have.  Check out their site and the videos.  It will rip your heart out. The Father has a heart for these do we. Check them out in our "resources" at:

 Also, K-love Christian radio, is airing our short Shepherd's Purse blurb today (Monday).  They have stations all over the U.S., but you can catch them at:


God is hoping today!  We have another interview next week at WLNZ, my college here in Lansing, MI.  CNN is going to do a story on the street kids in Perm, Russia.  It will air soon.  I contacted them after my Russia trip last year and told them to get back over to Perm.  They just did...they actually interview Jered (one of the directors) in a hatch/sewer.  I have two benefit concerts coming up.  One gospel in Indiana and one contemporary worship with big screen slides in Ypsilanti, MI.  Oh...and I just e-mailed Casting Crownsm, again, and invited them on our May trip to Kherson.  Dream big eh!!


Hey...who sings that song.."My deliverer is coming..."  With the little kids singing at the beginning.  I heard it again this morning, on K-Love, and started crying...good grief.  I want to contact that artist and get a benefit concert together.  Can't stop dreaming...for our kids in the dark streets.


One more thing...I am now putting in at least 40 hours a week with this ministry and it is taking off like wildfire.  I am still teaching and speaking on weekends.  I love it!!!  It breaks my heart.  It gives me life.  However, we are praying for regular monthly supporters or underwriters or ????  So that I can became a full time staff and really take off.  Support is beginning to come in.  It has been coming in for our kids projects.  Would you pray about this?  Two people actually send us $1 a month.  That is all they can afford, but they send their seed for the kids. Please pray.


 Thursday, February 3, 2005
Posted: Thursday, February 03, 2005 at 15:52

We are planning a benefit concert in Yypsilanti, Michigan.  "Unleavened" is the group.  Should be great.

We are also looking at another benefit concert in Indiana at the church of a pastor friend. 

Atlanta Christian College sent us a  check for $461.20. This is from poor college students.  I spoke there in November and they made us mission of the month.  A yearbook staff just emailed and want to put us in their yearbook.

Another friend just said she would organize a dinner and silent auction.  We are working on that one.

An old college buddy is helping me to set up a weekly public access television program we could market locally and to other areas such as Atlanta and VA. Beach.

Jered, who works with street kids in Perm, Russia, is sending us some dolls handmade by street kids.  We will be offering these for special donations.  We will have pictures and details soon.

Delta Community Church not only bought us a huge Dell 3100cn color laser jet printer, but now they have an automatic duplexer for it too. Thanks guys!!!

We are getting ready to set up our next shipment of clothes as soon as we get word that the last load arrived.

Our Great Lakes Christian College team has volunteered to help with our newsletter and shipping.  We meet on a monthly basis to pray for Ukraine, the kids and make plans for these three couples to move there when they finish their Master's degrees. 

Hey...we need a person to run: cameras, lighting and audio for our television taping.  About 2 hours every two weeks is all.  The station has a short workshop, but our director will teach you the simple basics.  Good job for college interns. 

Please keep praying for us.  I am putting in at least 40 hours a week for Shepherd's Purse, plus continuing to teach three classes a semester at the college and speak on weekends.  Our prayer is that we get grants and monthly support this year and can get at least a part-time salary.  I love my work though!!!!

Pray for the kids...send us an email or comment here.



Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 10:48

Wow!  Last year God put these words on my heart..."Christmas in Kherson".  I thought it was my silly dreaming.  Two weeks ago -- it became an awesome God reality.

I walked the streets of Kherson, Ukraine.  Late at night, in the cold darkness, I climbed down a ladder into the muffled darkness of a sewer.  There I met a 16 year old prostitute, two young boys, a fifteen year old boy and two puppies.  The floor was littered with empty glue and beer containers.  They were settling in for the night. They were gracious...inviting us into...their home.

I met so many of these kids, as young as 3 years old. They are the forgotten.  Their government ignores them.  Their fathers have sex with them.  Their mother's cry and try to find work. Their hopes...well...they have none.

I met Nastya.  A sweet girl.  Since she was four...she has lived in the sewers avoiding beatings by an alcoholic mother.  Avoiding the pain of no father to hug her and read her stories.  Avoiding her own government who will imprison her.  I cried with Nastya.  I laughed with this sweet thirteen year old.  I took her orange pop and snacks.  I gave her a stuffed Tiger toy.  She loved it.

For a few minutes of my life -- I hugged a little girl, I held her hand and looked deep into her heart.  She hurts...but all others see is a wild kid who lives on the streets...who lives for the streets...who lives...for a bit longer.

Nastya was hit by a car.  Knocked unconcious. Broke her pelvis.  In a week or so...she will be released (from what?).  She will return home to a loving mommy and daddy and eat ice cream and cuddle up in front of the television.  Oh wait...I am thinking of an American girl.  Nastya -- she will go back home -- to the black sewers of Kherson, Ukraine.  Rats.  Damp darkeness.  Alone...hey...but its okay...she is used to that.

And I sit here crying...I can do nothing for her. I think she hoped I could.  I think I saw a glimmer of expectation when I gave her the Tiger toy.  When I hugged her tight...I think I could feel a child lost and hungry. 

No problem. It is over now.  I have returned to my warm home with all my stuff.  I am secure.  She is only a dream. 

Shepherd's Purse was able to bless so many kids. A computer for one kids ministry.  A medical trip for one kid.  Four heaters for a hospital where babies lay crying for love.  One thousand dollars for presents given to hundreds of street kids.  It was awesome.  So many smiles and hugs.

Yet, why am I filled with emotion and sadness?  One face haunts me.  One little girl represents thousands.  The forgotten ones.  Those we choose to ignore.  Those who may well die...before this cold winter is over.

Nastya...Anastastia...I am thinking of you...that is all I can do right now.

Please pray.  Please...someone...come up with an idea.

Christmas in Kherson -- it was so good.



A bit more news
Posted: Friday, January 07, 2005 at 07:44

Yes, I did make it okay.  This trip has exceeded my expectations.  We just finished the big Christmas program at the center and Shepherd's Purse bought all the kids a walkman, christian tape, big bag of candy, apple, and orange.  You should have heard the shouts of joy when they announced the walkmans.  These were Andrey and Galena's idea...yes, they have extra batteries.  Now we will have Christian music in the sewers of Kherson.

We have also bought: 4 heaters for the baby hospital, a computer for Alla Dobryanna's kids to learn at her center, $200 to send a boy from the shelter for tests and medicine...long story, and other things...more later.

I have met the assistant mayor and we went with her for a program at kids center.  And so she contacted the media and had me mentioned in the newspapers...the work michael wetzel is doing with Shepherd's Purse....this is all so bizare.  Andrey gave me certificate of appreciation at a service this morning. everywhere we go they introduce me and ask me to tell of our work. 

Tonight at midnight we will go back to the hatches again.  It was eery going down for the first time.  Dark at night...steamy feeling.  Even with a flashlight it was like a cave.  There was a 15 year old prostitute, two small dogs, two small boys, and an older boy.  They were very freindly.  Yes...I took pictures.  Another 15 year old prostitute we picked up on the street.  We drove her twenty minutes to her boyfriend's house and today she had a part in a play at the christmas service.  These kids are so innocent...sweet...yet street hardening...

Oh...sure...I met Nastya face-to-face.  I can't talk about it.  She is the sweetest.  She was blushing when we walked in.  She became hardened and a bit tougher when we talked to her about her mom and family. She loved her tiger.  She said, "I pray for Michael and Shirley every night before I go to sleep."  Wow.....enough.

I have had good meetings with Alla and her staff, and many others.  Right now I am on the computer in the center office, listening to Russian music, and my interpreter Yula is talking with Slavic (staff).  Can't get alone for a minute. Ah well. Its great.




Hello from Kherson, Ukraine
Posted: Friday, January 07, 2005 at 04:48

Yes...I made it safely to kherson and I only have a few minutes before we begin a Christmas service for the kids.  I cannot begin to tell you how God has touched my heart here.  We have visited the babies in the hospital,  the orphanages, the shelter,  and of course...Nastya in the hospital.  I cannot talk about my first meeting with this sweet little girl.  I begin to cry every time. I will tell you more later.

I have been introduced all over the city for my ministry, Shepherd's purse.  So far we have bought 200 walkmans, Christian tapes, 4 heaters for the baby hospital, medical trip for a little boy, a computer for Kherson Christian's children's work, and tons of candy.  I will tell you more later.

Please keep praying. Tonight we go back to the 12:30.  It is an eery and dark place at night.  But the children are there.

Love you all...especially my sweet Shirley.


The First Day of a New Year
Posted: Saturday, January 01, 2005 at 20:03

In two days we will be over the North Atlantic on our way to a new Christmas.  The Express is on the move and we will journey through the night to a place hungry for hope. Thanks to you...we have over $2,000 for presents.  I asked for $1,000.  God surprised me again.

It has been a hectic couple of months preparing for this trip...but today things finally slowed a bit.  Right now I am listening to "Chant" and feeling very introspective in the very heart of God.  It is coming clear to me that all these months of thinking about these hatches children...telling so many about them..and reading current reports from abroad is about to culminate in another look into their lives and their hearts.

It is in their hearts that I see Him.  This is a pilgrimage to the very heart of the Father.  No where else have I seen Him like this.  Not in my church.  Not in my times of quiet.  I am about to do penance for my past indifference to the crying of those who suffer in darkness.  It is difficult to hear their cries from this far away -- and I have distanced myself -- so far from them. 

In a few days I will touch the hand of a little girl whose home has been the sewers for almost 10 years of her life.  What will I see in her eyes?  Will I see condemnation?  Or will I see grace?

In a few days I will celebrate the birth of Him who sets the prisoners giving them light and hope...who feeds the hungry soul...who clothes us with His presence.  In a few days I will see Jesus.



Nastya in Hospital
Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 at 18:55

I have just received this e-mail from Alla in Kherson:

Hello Michael, Nastya was hit by a car yesterday. The driver drove away from the place of accident. She's in the Children's Regional Hospital in the Traumatic Surgery Department right now. She has broken her pelvis bone; she has concussion of the brain and a shock. The doctor said she would be staying in the hospital for about a month. When you come, I can take you to Nastya and you can talk to the doctors yourself if you want. Nastya came to our ministry yesterday morning. She was very aggressive, and rude to the teachers. She was under the glue addiction. She didn't stay long. The accident happened in the evening. I visited her in the hospital and asked if she had any idea why it has happened to her. She said that understands. Love in Christ,Alla


Please start praying.

In His Love,

Michael Wetzel-Director, Shepherd's Purse



Friday, December 3, 2004
Posted: Friday, December 03, 2004 at 16:56

Hello Everyone (this is going out to 120 of you),

God is strange sometimes.  We just went to see Polar Express.  A hopefilled journey of restoration.  All I could think about during the flick was the "hatches" kids.  I was choking back tears periodically throughout the journey.  I had the same experience sitting in the play, "Scrooge" at the Boarshead theatre the other day (free tickets on the radio).   I kept seeing the poor street children, and then the "lonely boy" in the Express and thinking of all the "real" children on the streets right this moment.   Here is the email I got from Galina (Kherson street kids ministry director):

Dear Shirley and Michael,
its Galina from Kherson, Ukraine. Just would like to let you know
that we arrived to Ukraine safely. But the situation here is very sad.
Please pray for our country!!! The Prime court is going to decide
something today.
I came back home and saw a great need in winter clothing and shoes for the children. There is another prayer request for you about Christmas presents for all the children in orphanages and our center for street children. Please pray for finances for these purposes!!! Thank you so much!!!
Love in Christ, Galina

Here is my heart in this matter.  Last Christmas I met street kids in Russia.  On Christmas day I was with them.  And back then God put on my heart, "Christmas in Kherson".  I never believed that I would be heading back this Christmas -- to Kherson, Ukraine

I am sure...this gives me chills...that God is going to blow me away this year.  Every time I think of visiting the hatches and spending four days with these forgotten ones...   God has not forgotten them.  On December 25th I will watch my sweet children and grandchildren open presents and feast on the holiday.  Outside in the dark and cold of this picture...there are thousands who will be shivering in the dark.  No presents.  No hot chocolate.  No mom and dad to love them.

...and here is what came to me on the Polar Express.  It is too late to collect hundreds of presents or ship tons of warm clothes.  I do have about two hundred pounds of coats and sweaters on a table in my garage right now.  I hope to ship them in the next week, but it will take up to six weeks.  

...and so, sitting in the movie, eating my hot pop corn and choking back tears, I decided that I need to take cash with me to Kherson in four weeks.  I am asking God for "at least" $1,000 in spontaneous Christmas spirit.  My hope is to take all of your gifts...100%...and buy small gifts for these children.  I want it to be a "big" surprise for Galina, Andrey, and their kids.  I know it is tight around Christmas...but...I just have to ask.   I will be your Father Frost and touch the heart of these kids with your gift. 

If you want to help, donate right now on our secure website, mail it right away, or e-mail me with your intent.  I could even take cash if I knew you were going to reimburse us in the months after Christmas.

If you can't problem.  A couple of our supporters send us $2 a month.  That is all they can afford...the encouragement to us is amazing.

So...go see the Polar Express...if you dare.  I pray God's heart in your heart this season. 

Love in the Spirit of this season,  

Michael Wetzel-Director, Shepherd's Purse.

P.S. I still need a printer...earmark that separately...newsletter is due out in a week.




Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2004 at 10:48

I am sitting here in my warm cozy office with a cup of hot coffee. Outside it is finally snowing.  Yes, I look forward to the first snow of the season.  There is a restful spirit about it. 

Yet -- I saw a picture of heavy snowfall in Moscow. They were socked with half their seasonal amount.  And now I am thinking of the street kids.  For me the snow is a blessing from God.  For them it is a time of survival. Where do kids learn to dress lightly and live outside on the streets?  Is this part of their training in school?  Have loving parents taught them how to do this? 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  I am thankful that some will survive.  I am thankful that God has shown us His heart for these children.  I am thankful for this first snow...yet...I am chilled.

In about five weeks my son and I will travel to Kherson for Christmas.  This would be a great time to make a donation to support the work of Shepherd's Purse.  A Christmas gift for the kids.  We are taking tents and supplies with us.  We are beginning our clothes shipments next week.  We are trying to get the word out.  Please pray.  And as you experience the beauty of these first snows -- thank God for revealing His heart to you.

Michael Wetzel-Director, Shepherd's Purse



Sunday, November 14, 2004
Posted: Sunday, November 14, 2004 at 06:03

A great trip to Atlanta produced many new contacts.  I spoke at Atlanta Christian College to a group of about 200 students.  Six have already contacted me about future trips.  I think the poor children in the streets touched their hearts as it does ours.

We met with our friends and directors: Jerry & Denise, Paul and Christie, and a great homechurch group.  We also finally met James and Paulette Fowler, some good friends of Father's Heart ministry and now ours

We spoke at the church where our good friends David and Nanci Hendrix pastor.  There we met Lana who is from Ukraine and is familiar with Andrey and Kherson Christian Church. 

God opened the doors for us to get the word out to many new people who I pray will become partners with us in reaching the hatches kids.  We also bought $250 worth of flannel graph materials for Andrey's ministry team.  They send out six teams to teach kids Bible lessons in the streets and since television, VCR, and much of our technology is unknown to the kids, these visual aids are great.  Imagine...a kid growing up without television. 

Yesterday the team arrived here in Lansing, Michigan and we are driving to the Detroit area this speak at the Monroe Christian Church.  Please pray for the coming week.  We have an hour of live television, a short radio interview, many meetings and speaking engagements.  Thursday we speak at Great Lakes Christian College.




Happy Birthday Nastya!
Posted: Monday, November 01, 2004 at 09:26

Hello Michael and Shirley!

I love you very much and pray for you. I'm so happy that you've sent me the birthday greetings from so many people. Thank you all for praying for me.

My mother gave me a lipstick, a mascara and 5 hrivnas ($1) as a birthday present. 


I'm looking forward to meeting you. Please, say hello to those people who wrote to me and thank you for praying for me. Thanks for the tiger.


Nastya  (She is the little girl on the homepage...leaning on a pipe in the sewer...her home...






I just found out that this Sunday is Nastya's Birthday. Nastya is the girl that has been on the streets since she was seven-years old.  We have gotten to know her since she was eleven. I am asking you for a favor. 


Nastya has no family that openly loves her.  She will not have the lavish birthday party that we are used to.  I am asking that you send a brief, one paragraph tops, note to wish Nastya a happy birthday.  Something meaningful...even a scripture...something personal...a prayer...a blessing.  E-mail it to me as quickly as possible at:   (Don't this email)


This is one way we can touch one child's life. By the way, Nastya had requested that we bring her a stuffed tiger toy at Christmas...we found one.



 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,




Please seriously consider sending a blessing.  We are praying Nastya grows up to be a strong worker and influence on the street kids.  We have told her this. 


Thanks everyone,

Michael Wetzel-Director, Shepherd's Purse


 Happy Birthday, Nastya!  There are many people in the United States who think of you often and pray to God that he would watch over and protect you.  We pray that as you grow older in age, you would also grow in your knowledge of the love God has for you! 

Happy Birthday!  Jamie, Julie, and Michael Wetzel  (Nastya this is my son Jamie, daughter-in-law Julie, and grandson Michael,  Michael Wetzel)

Dear Nastya,
On your Birthday and everyday I hope all is well for you and that you continue to shine above the rest by being such a smart and stronge young lady.  I send the following note of encouragement to you so please try to remember this and you will be just fine:
Dare to make your dreams come true
Dare to be a better you
Dare to choose kind words to say
Dare to walk the higher way
Dare to give a helping hand
Dare to make a better land
Dare to smile when skies are grey
Dare to share a brighter day
Happy Birthday!
Andrea  Huff  (Michigan)

Dear Nastya,

Happy birthday. When you get the chance, look in a mirror and realize, you are made in God's image.

Bill, Pam and Zion Cook (Indiana)


Dear Nastya,
 I just want you to know that there are people in the
world that care about and pray for you. I hope you
have a special 13th birthday and please know that the
Lord loves and cares about you.  (and so do we )

In Christ's Love, Mary Mommerency & family (Monroe, Michigan)


Dear Nastya,
Happy Birthday!  Wow!  You are 13, how exciting! I remember seeing you
last year on New Year's Eve, do you remember when a group of us came to
see you that day?  Jack gave you some black gloves.  I remember your
smiling face. You are growing up to be a young lady now and God has a
plan for you!  God loves you and cares about you as you grow up.  I hope
that you will continue to go and learn more about Him.
In America, people are praying for you!
Traci Steere
Holt Christian Church


 Dear Nastya,

This greeting comes to you to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
Just want you to know that there are Christian brothers and sisters
praying for you. Birthdays are special and you are special.  It's your day and it's a gift from God. This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.
May God bless you and keep you in His care. 
A brother in Christ,
Dave Foust   Coldwater, Michigan

Nastaya, Happy birthday! Thank you for the inspiration you provide so many people. 13 is a very important age for a young girl and I hope many positive changes occur in your life during the course of it. I pray about you and children in your situation all the time, and I know God will find a way to enrich your lives just as you have done for us.  Tiffany Cramer (Michigan)

Happy Birthday, Nastya!  We pray that God watch over you, and brings you blessings of true joy for your birthday and every day.  Happy Birthday!

Ken & Liz Eby  (Michigan)



I am from Monroe Christian Church in the United States of America.  I am a

few years older than you are.  We are always praying for you, as well as the

rest of your country.  We hope you will grow up to be a strong influence for

Christ to other kids in the Ukraine.  I hope you have a nice birthday.

Perhaps we will see you because we might come to the Ukraine.

Your American brother in Jesus,

Benjamin Savonen



Dear Nastya,

Happy birthday! I am the same age as you.  I go to Monroe Christian Church,

and I hear Michael Wetzel talk about you sometimes. My family may be coming

to Kherson sometime, and I might get to meet you. We are praying for you to

grow up and be an influence to others for Christ.

Your American sister in Christ,

Candace Savonen



Dear Nastaya,

Although we have never met, many of us at Monroe Christian Church feel as

though we do know you.  Michael Wetzel shares news about you with us

whenever he learns of it.  We have seen your picture too.  You look very

pretty and sweet. 


My name is Ann and I am a mother of 2 children named Benjamin and Candace.

Benjamin is a 15 year old boy.  Candace is a 12 year old girl who will be 13

on December 31.  So she is exactly 2 months younger than you.  We are hoping

to be able to meet you sometime.  We may come to visit Kherson in May.  We

will know for sure by January sometime.


We pray that you are growing closer to God through Jesus every day. We, too,

desire to know our best friend, Jesus Christ, more intimately every day.  He

is the one friend we can always count on and he loves us more than anyone

else does.  I love my children very, very much, and it is hard to imagine a

love stronger than that.  But Jesus's love is much stronger.


We hope you have a good birthday on October 31.  My birthday is just 2 days

before yours.  I wish I was turning the same age as you are on my birthday,

but I am much older.  I also wish I had the blessing of Jesus Christ in my

life at your age, but I did not take Jesus as my Savior until I was 22.

That's why I am so grateful that my children both know Christ and have been

Christians since they were each 10. Have a happy birthday, Nastaya!


Your friend in Christ,

Ann Savonen (Monroe, MI)



Dear Nastya,

  Have a very happy birthday.  We in America are thinking of you and praying for you.  We hope you have a very nice and happy day.

The Kalinowski Family in Michigan



Dear Nastya (from Michael and Shirley Wetzel),


We love you and are praying for you.  We hope you have a special birthday this Sunday.  I am praying that God makes it special for you somehow.  My way of making it special is to show you that people care about you.  These people that you have never met (several you  have), want you to know they do care about you.


I also have a birthday present for you.  We found your stuffed tiger toy.  I am sending a picture of him for you.  He sits by my chair all the time and watches me read the newspaper or watch television.  He seems to know he has a new girl who will take good care of him.  I think he is excited to meet you.  He says he will be coming to live with you soon. 


Please take care of yourself and we hope to see you at Christmas. 

Love from Michael and Shirley.and a big hug!


Dear Nastya,

         You do not know me, but I have been praying for you anyway. I hope you have a truly happy birthday this Sunday. I can envision God doing some special things in your life if you will just let Him. When you have time, and if you can, read Psalm 111 in the Bible sometime.

                                 Best wishes, from a friend you haven't met yet,

                                          Dr. Lloyd Knowles @

                                          Great Lakes Christian College in

                                          Lansing, Michigan   U.S.A.



Dorogaya Nastya,

Ya slyshal o tebe mnogo ot Michaela i ochen gorjus tem

chto Bog delaet v tvoyei jizni.

Bud blagoslovenna i znay u tebya est brat v


S dnem Rojdenya dorogaya Sestrichka!

Ya luoblu tebya vo Xriste!

Dilovar.  (Dilovar is a young Tajik Christian who is on fire for God)




January 1, 2005

I had this strange dream about someone leading me across a river in Laos.  I have never been to Laos.  I had to look it up on the map.  In the dream, as we neared the other shore, I could see the bodies of children floating in the river.  On the shore were children who were wounded and bleeding.   That was it...the dream.  Then I searched out the Internet and realized the Mekong river is right there...all my long term memory about the Vietnam war finally clicked in. I have no idea if a dream like this means anything, however I did find out that there is a huge problem with sex trafficking of kids from that area.

So, a couple from my church comes up to me and tells me they want to be missionaries in Taiwan or Laos...their home.  Taiwan is an island off the coast of Laos.  They ask if they can go on a trip with me because they have a heart for kids and want to see what we are doing. 

Then last night I get this phone call--from a woman in Taiwan.  She is all excited because she found our website and her heart is moved by the plight of these kids in the streets.   At first she asks me questions about the credibility of our organization.  She says that most organizations, she has encountered, were corrupted after awhile.  She simply wanted to know we were for real.  Then she tells me that China has the same type of street kid problem but they have a unique way of dealing with it.  They don't  They say it is Karma.  They say the child must have been a bad seed in a previous life and that this is their Karma.  She doesn't agree.  I don't either.

I tell her that in Russia and Ukraine, many people see the street kids as "bums" because they are involved in crime and prostitution.  So, the locals justify their lack of concern and point out that they can barely support their own families anyway.   However, not everyone is like that obviously.  Many people are greatly concerned and want to help some way.  Any way, she would like to travel with us on a trip and...

That is when I got on "Google Earth" and found Taiwan.  So far from Russia.  Wait!  I followed the trade route upstream (ocean) between Japan and mainland China...and guess what is just north?   This brings us back to Vladostok, Russia.  Just up the road (ocean) from Taiwan and Laos is where our freind from Holland, Michigan is working with the "Hatches Kids" of this remote Russian area.  Hm?   Maybe its time for us to "expand our boundaries".   Anyone want to help?




Three of our team members traveling to Kherson, Ukraine in  a few weeks organized a fund raiser for "Christmas in Kherson".  West Lansing invited team members up front to introduce us to the congregation.  Minister Ron Klepal introduced: Zinnia Artist, Ashley Saltsman, Jane Gordon, and myself.  Not pictured are team members Tim and Kasey Berry.  

The soup was great!  About 8 pots of of all kinds.  Our team cooked all day Saturday and into the night.

The West Lansing crew also enjoyed bread donated from Great Harvest Bread Company (thanks to my wife who works there). 


The dinner raised over $500 for for our teams trip January 2-10.


The Problem is Growing
Posted: Monday, November 28, 2005 at 07:32
ABC news just released this story and video...

Roe verses Pritzl
Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 at 08:55
Wow!!!  Traveling across coutry and internationally singing, these guys performed in Lansing, Michigan at the Visions Christian Nightclub.    Check out my
son's blog on this event.

Although our crowd, on this blustery night, was not a big one the spirit of the thing was great.  The guys were very relaxed and the crowd had a fun evening.  Their music was so good... 

And then half way I presented a brief video and talk about the reason for our concert...the kids living in the streets of Ukraine and Russia.  This is our purpose.  This is our heart.

Thanks again to these guys for their part in this ministry. 


More and more news...
Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 at 07:07
Wow! What a week.  Last Thursday I flew to Pennsylvania and heard Heidi and Rolland Baker. Sunday I presented a Shepherd's Purse update to the
Killbuck Christian Church in Killbuck, Ohio.  This church collected a van load of coats/sweaters, etc. for our drive this summer.  We also have several friends here that support on a regualar basis.  Sunday they collected nearly $1,000 for the kids in the streets.  Wow!!!

Then...yesterday Sergey Predit, president of Tavrisky Christian Institute (college) in Kherson, Ukraine, visited our home for supper.  He was traveling with Renee Flory from Chesaning, Michigan and Eugene from Romania.  Renee has been working as a public relations person for TCI in Kherson and is home on furlow.  Eugene is a great guy with a great sense of humor and works as a translator, builds websites, etc.

We had a great supper and an evenign filled with visions of helping the street kids and restoring families in Ukraine.  We prayed for Sergey, but he also prayed for us, "God expand their boundaries".

Sergey will meet with the president of Great Lakes Christian College and the president of Kentucky Christian College today.  Then they will travel to meetings throughout the south before returnig home the end of the month.


Blessing from Heidi Baker
Posted: Saturday, November 05, 2005 at 07:33
I just attended a conference, one day, in Harrisburg, PA.  My main reason for going was to hear speaker Heidi Baker.  Heidi and her husband Rolland are from California.  A few years back they heard about the thousands of children orphaned and starving in Mozambique, Africa.  Heidi's response to her husband was, "Lets go there." 

They could have ignored the cries of the children.  With her PHD Heidi could have lived comfortably in her California home with her sweet family.  Instead they heard the heart of God.

They moved to Mozambique and bought an abandoned, primitive orphanage.  Their lives have been threatened many times.  They began with a few, grew to hundreds and now have a family of over 3,000.  It might actually be 8,000 but I am not sure I heard right.

Recently, Heidi was put in the hospital with a rare staff infection that does not readily respond to antibiotics.  A Russian doctor told her she should make out her gravestone. Heidi refused to "go out this way".  She wanted to get back to her children in Mozambique.  In her room she began praying and worshiping Jesus. People all over the world were praying for this woman, me included. 

Nurses would come into her room at all hours...and ask Heidi to pray for them...because they could sense the presence of God.  Finally, the hospital told her that she had one chance and that was to fly from South Africa to America for a specialty treatment.  She did check out...and told them she was going to see a great doctor.

She flew to a conference engagement in Canada and could barely speak from the platform, yet she continued worship God.  Suddenly she felt her body become whole and began dancing around the stage in tears of joy (doctors have confirmed she is fine).

So...with this said...I heard her speak yesterdy was awesome...she has such a simple heart and God wants her back with the suffering children in Africa.  My secret desire in attending the conference was two-fold.  First, to hear her story.  Second, to get a blessing on my ministry from this great woman of faith.

As the evening session wore on...and I was loosing my second goal was fading, but that was okay. It had been a good day.  When  she ended her session at about 10:30 people were still crowded...packed up front as the worship band continued. I finally got up to leave, resolved that I was too tired.  Resolved that it had still been a good day.  I started to walk out with my sister-in-law and then stopped.  I couldn't bring myself to give up.  The crowd was so thick I couldn't even see Heidi up front.  Many staff were praying for many people.

Finally, I sat my briefcase down and made my way to the stage.  It was then that I could see they were slowly ushering Heidi off toward the back of the stage.  She was full of the joy of Jesus and was shaking hands and hugging and praying.  I then decided if I did not "press in" I would miss something great.  They crowd around her was clearing and I heard a staff say, "Heidi one more".  There was a man with a cane and she prayed for him.  And then as she was turning to leave I tapped her shoulder...held up one finger and smiling said, " more?"  I introduced myself and told her briefly my ministry.  I had given her a brochure in the hall earlier and told her we were working with the kids.  She said that was really great but we could not talk...simply quick greetings.

So,when I introduced myself again, she said something like, "Oh there you are..."  She put her arm around my shoulder, took my hand and dropped to her knees.  Pray poored out for several minutes.  I just soaked it up...things such as...I see a Father of many...she saw "acceleration" of ministry...she talked about the rythym of God...  Much more...

With a hug and smiles I quickly left the stage filled with blessing, with renewed encouragement.  I stood at the back of the auditorium for a few minutes looking at the scene up front.  Heidi slowly dissapearing...the hungry crowd.  I thought, "How did I get here?"  Not the conference...the ministry point.  The point of entering the heart of God. Somehow I could feel myself drifting to the other side of the world whild Rolland and Heidi traveled home. 

Yes, it was a good night.  Hard to sleep last night.  Woke up with a praise song...can't remember the name..."Mountains bow down..." we go.

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