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Children at Risk
Archive 4

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2005 at 19:50

"Michael it's Monday today. I spent a night in the hatches (sewers).  I couldn't sleep tonight. There were a lot of children tonight - 11. 3 girls and the rest were boys. Then I got out of there to sleep in an old abandoned car on the field. I left them because they were romping, sniffed glue and smoked. And I don't want to do that." (excerpt from a recent email from Nastya)


If you could pay two people to help these kids on the streets for one year, wouldn't that be exciting?  What if these workers could actively take food, clothe, teach and meet a myriad of other needs for some of the 6,000 street kids in Kherson, Ukraine?   What if they already had a strong track record and had proven they could do the job?  What would this be worth? 


We did it over the last year and we did it for $1,200.  For $50 each, per month, we paid two women to work full-time with the kids program at House of Hope (Andrey Revtov Kids Ministry).  It was a great year.  Kids were loved, cleaned up, fed, and taught that God cares for them despite the fact that no one else seems to.


The year is over.  There are no government grants.  There are no resources.  The work of these faithful women was a luxury for the House of Hope.  Now we have a choice.  In three weeks I am taking a team back to Kherson, Ukraine and I would love to see this work continue.  If.God is putting it on your heart to help.even with a small percentage of this goal ($1,200) then please let me know as soon as possible.  I would like to ask Andrey to bring these ladies into the room and congratulate them on their work.  I would like even more to say, "You know.there are people back in the States that feel your heart for these kids.  They want to help you continue your work", and then hand them a years salary.  This would be so cool!


So.let me know.  Email me or call and tell me you will help with this need.

(517) 775-9844


In this Hope,

Michael Wetzel

Shepherd's Purse Director


Voloshina Lena, 44 years old, widow, has two children. The son Aleksey 25 years old and daughter Valya 16 years old. God has called her to church in 1999. At once she began to do active ministry for the women. Since 2000 taught Bible lessons for the women. In 2002 Lena became to be a director of Sunday school. Today at this school more than 200 children study and 22 teachers is work there. In this service the gift of Lena as children's leader was showed.


In 2005, God called Lena to ministry in the children's centre " the House of Hope ". It became a new blessing for children and all employees of the centre. Lena is the assistant of the director of the centre. It is very difficult work. She communicates with the government, helps our children to receive documents and money help from the government. She visits boarding schools and sends them children... She helps to decide the problems between the parents and children. It is difficult psychologically work. But Lena does it perfectly.  I believe, that the ministry of Lena will help to change life of hundreds children in our region. Her vision and purpose - to create a system with the government, which will allow society to protect all children in streets of city.

Her service is important for all children. We ask you to help with search of the salary for Lena. The salary makes 50 dollars per one month. We shall give regular information of her service and prayer need. I believe that God really will bless our cooperation.



Ira Peregibenko, is 21 years old and single. She has been in church since 1998. In 2001 God called her to ministry for homeless children. We did not have a children's centre in that moment. But our team went to the streets of city, found children, fed them, had Bible lessons in streets of city and had Bible lessons in boarding schools. Ira spent a lot of time on the streets of city. She trained 60 children each week. In 2003 Ira became to be a worker of the children's centre " the House of Hope" She is the assistant of the administrator of the centre. Part of her job is buying and distributing clothes to children. Washing of old clothes. All disinfection of a rooms. Help in bathing children. Help in feeding of children. In other words, without Ira our centre would suffer.  She is a very good worker. When they come to the children's centre, she prays with the children, helps them to find clothes and wash up.  It is the really large care for many children. And despite of her young age for many children she is the careful mum. The purpose of her ministry is not much talking but much about loving the children. Her salary is 50 dollars per one month and we ask you to help us and to support Irina's ministry.


With God.

Pastor Dr. Andrey Revtov



Monday, April 11, 2005
Posted: Monday, April 11, 2005 at 07:54

Lately I have been busy packing and shipping nearly 30 boxes of clothes, buying up infant blood pressure cuffs and bottles of lice shampoo and setting up our group for the next trip to Kherson, Ukraine. For hours I have scoured the Internet searching for rooms and flights.  For hours I have sent out letters, newsletters and answered e-mails.  All this is good because Shepherd's Purse is growing. Galena got our first shipment of clothes and took a pic of the kids wearing some.


However.there is always one of these.lately I have been feeling flustered and found myself downing more donuts, pieces of pie and sweet stuff just to help me keep up the pace.  And then I have the television going in the background all the time - at least a lot.  And even though I was accomplishing much more, I was feeling that something was missing.  It was reminding me of the old corporate days when I worked in a large company.  Excessive sweets, heavy traffic, and long days were wearing me out.

And then.a few days ago I was showing some friends a video of the street kids.  Just music and faces.  Eyes pleading for some hope appeared and then faded away.  I had seen this video numerous times but once again I had trouble fighting back the tears.  There it was?the missing element.  Somehow in all my business I had lost touch with the Father's Heart for the children in the streets. Here are six kids taken in by a foster family who works with Alla's center.  They are holding gifts which include scarves hand knitted by my own sister and gloves donated by the Monroe Christian Sunday School kids.


Here I was busy about raising people's awareness and somehow my own had slipped away.  Somehow I had been distracted from the plight of the kids.  It is so easy to do that.  They are thousands of miles away.  I don't see them here in my world.  There is plenty to distract me from the heart of the Father and the eyes of the children.


So.the next day I was writing this teaching about the significance of 40 days in Biblical history.  I was going to tell them all the accounts of 40 days of suffering, fear, and sacrifice.  Like a flood story where it rained and rained and got so dark and quiet.  Or the story of Jesus Christ who spent 40 days with out food in a hot dessert and.


It was all interesting stuff, but the same old thing they had heard so many times before.  I mulled the 40 days over in my weak mind trying to find some sort of application and then I thought, "Hey.I wonder how many days it is until our trip?"  I started counting and was shocked to realize that from the day I presented this talk until the time our team would step onto the pavement of Kherson.was 40 days.  Yikes!!!


I came to the conclusion, after much struggling with the little guy on my shoulder that I wanted to spend the next 40 days looking for a breakthrough.  I decided, with great trepidation, that I would do several things.  I decided to give up: television, white flour and sugar.  I also decided to add more time with the Father's heart and walk everyday.

My purpose is simple.  I hope to clear my thinking and my system of distraction in order to cry more for the kids.   I am looking for a breakthrough.  My expectation is that this next trip is going to dwarf all others.  This last Christmas in Kherson was the dream of a lifetime for me.  Taking a couple of thousand dollars across the ocean and buying presents for kids who never get that at Christmas, was something I had only dreamed of doing most of my life.  I always thought it would be cool to put some poor family first at my Christmas.  We did that with your help.  We fed families who not only had no Christmas dinner or decorations but had not eaten in three days.  Their kids had gone to the do what needed to be they could eat.  We bought candy and presents for hundreds of sweet children.  The smiles and hugs.I can't describe it to you.


So, I thought, that was the climatic moment of this ministry, of my life.  I thought it surely can't get any better than that.  Yet, things our brewing for our next trip.  One team family decided to pay their own way on the trip and has decided to send a letter to friends and family raising money for the kids.  They told us yesterday that they have been floored by the response already.  When my daughter and our son-in-law found out that I was giving up certain items for 40 days, they were surprised because they had come to the conclusion to do the same sort of thing.before they knew about my venture. 


Someone donated little league baseball equipment for the kid's center.  Andrey Revtov said the kids have discovered they like that game, but they need the equipment.  So, we are taking a couple of dozen baseballs, gloves, helmets and bats.  We have told Andrey that Shepherd's Purse will sponsor a big picnic for 100-200 kids complete with hotdogs, food and an afternoon of baseball.  There is an empty field in front of the center where we will clear a makeshift ball diamond.


So, in the midst of visiting children living in sewers and holding babies who have been abandoned, we will see some semblance of a normal childhood afternoon.  I have high expectations for this next trip.  I think hearts are going to be touched.  I think hearts will be melted and I think for a moment in time our team will be overwhelmed with the Father's love for hundreds of children - which we may never see again until the next life.


And so.I have turned off the distractions.cut out the medications.and am beginning my walk.  I am walking quietly and expectantly into the heart. And in 40 days our team will step out of the vans onto streets plod by small wanderers and we will pray together.  And the journey will move forward.


You can help in this you know.  Just quiet your spirit and listen for instructions. 



Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 at 12:08

As you know Nastya is our poster child.  We are able to email her through Alla (Street Kids Ministry Director) in Kherson.  Here are some excerpts from her latest note to us:

I am living in the hatches. I was in the hopital but I escaped from there because I feel embarassed of the name of the hospital I was in. I live together with Sasha and Inna in the hatches. We beg for money and I sniff glue, just sniff it...

The situation at home with mom is bad. She has started drinking again. There's no food at home and very dirty. When I got out of the hospital, I visited school a couple of times. I come home from school and see my mom drunk. Uncle Roma kicks her and beats her up. Mom cries and I try to defend her. Roma doesn't hit me, he's afraid to because I went to the police against him. 


I will be happy to get another e-mail from you. Thank you for your prayers for me. If you want, you can bring me a skirt and a pair of shoes. I wanted my mom to buy these for me but she doesn't have money for that.

Good bye. I love you,

your Nastya


Here is a picture Alla sent along:   


Developing more foster programs is one of our key goals.  We hope to work with groups like this who find families willing to take in kids off the streets.  This will mean finding families here in America willing to support a family over there.  The average income is only $120 per month yet expenses are still very high there.  We praying for sponsors who will help with $40 per month (and consider supporting Shepherd's Purse in our work with this project). 


One hardy soul, Peter Billingham a minister in Bromsgrove, England is planning to hike the Himmalayan Mountains this month and raise $10,000 towards this goal.  

The other night they had a concert and raised $2,000.  They are up to $7,000 to date.  Pray for this guy's journey. 




Sunday, March 20, 2005
Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2005 at 19:30

This is a small congregation where I used to preach years ago.  One of my favorites.  This weekend was our second time back this year and we saw a lot of our good friends. For over one hundred years this small band has met in the old brick building and kept the faith alive.  Sweet people.   They actually collected $300 and a car load of clothes for the kids. 

I remember as a young pastor I told my youth we were having a giant Easter egg hunt.  They met at the building that evening excited about the adventure.  I broke them into teams and gave them clues that sent them scrambling all over the town.  What they didn't discover until the end was that it really was a "giant" Easter egg.  I had painted a huge rock to look like an Easter egg and placed it in the city park.  When they all got there we rewarded them with a big party. 

Now those kids are grown.  I saw one of those kids new baby this weekend.  This daughter of my longtime friends, Bernie and Linda Klinedinst, had made them grandparents again.  Wow!!! Another "kid" in that youth group is a well known preacher in Fort Wayne, IN.  They are all grown now and the cycle of life continues, yet there are still some faithful souls at the Three Oaks Church of Christ who couldn't hold back the tears when we told them about the kids living and dying in the sewers of Ukraine and Russia

Thanks friends!




Sunday, March 13, 2005
Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2005 at 09:56

Saturday night was filled with worship and power.  Thanks to the group "Unleavened" for putting together this benefit for the kids in the streets of Russia and Ukraine.

Many new people were introduced to the plight of the street kids and brand new relationships were born.

Thanks to Ken and Liz Eby for organizing the whole event. Ken and Liz lead worship at Monroe Christian Church once in awhile.  I have gotten to know this couple and their hearts for God.  A sweet spirit is evident in both of them.

Also, thanks to Bethesda Bible Church for host us in this event and to our sound board person who had a struggle with new equipment but pulled it all together for us in the end. 

And finally, thank you Father for setting this whole thing in motion.  We know it is because of your heart for the children that you are pouring in the resources to help them.  Help us to be faithful to this purpose.

Oh...and thanks for Shepherd's Hands interns, Tim and Kasey Berry, who traveled with us and help set up, got our supper, prayed during the concert, and kept me company on the late night ride home.  By the way, Shepherd's Hands are trying to raise support for their trip in August.  This is more than a typical mission trip.  These college couples are seeking God's direction about their place in the future of this whole ministry.  Please encourage them.  Please pray for them.  And...please...they are poor college students, consider donating some for their trip next summer.  Memo your checks to Shepherd's Purse with: Shepherd's Hands Mission



Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Posted: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 at 12:50 the streets of Russia and Ukraine.  It was a good visit and we were able to share the story of the "forgotten ones" living in the streets and the hatches.  Stev'e group seemed most moved by the abandoned babies.  By the time we got home Sunday night there was an email from Steve saying a group had already met and wanted to go on a Shepherd's Purse trip.  Wow!  We are looking at next March.

Steve's church meets in a downtown building the church owns.  If you look closely in the reflection you see the newspaper office across the street.  This is Steve's newspaper, which of course featured Shepherd's Purse arrival with a full story and picture on the front page.


We are looking forward to traveling to the streets of Ukraine next March with our special friends.

If you would like to help with our next trip, Shirley and I are trying to raise our trip cost.  Just mail it to Shepherd's Purse or donate here on PayPal.  We still need about $1,000 for our May trip.  Our group will be taking 500-700 lbs of supplies and working with the kids in Kherson



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