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Six strangers from around the U.S. came together to attend the Heart for Orphans 2015 Vision Trip. Little did each of them know the impact the trip would have on their hearts forever! They played with children in orphanages, treated teens to their very first pizza, took a whole group of orphans out on a boat, and even went bowling with our teens from our Transition Homes! Those are activities we Americans take for granted, but for many of the orphans we serve in Ukraine, it was a first. The team came back with new friends and hearts forever changed. They even flew to Williamsburg to speak at our fundraising event, Hands Touching Hearts Across the Water in October. Here is the account from one of the team members, Gerry McGorman:
I was delighted and honored to join Nancy on the 2015 Vision Trip to Ukraine. I have been involved as a donor and helped fund-raise for some large charities before, but this was my first time seeing how one small organization can make a huge impact on the lives of people and communities in another part of the world.
The foundation stone of the good work being done is the local people on the ground in Ukraine spreading hope and love in a place that needs it more today than ever. The housemothers and fathers have vividly portrayed to me the true meaning of doing good work for others. They have successfully created loving, caring and hopeful family homes for children who need it most.
Heart for Orphans staff and volunteers who work with the Orphan Outreach Program in state orphanages, bring the light of hope and joy and a sense of self worth to hundreds and thousands of children who have little hope otherwise.
These people are doing the heavy lifting for Heart for Orphans work in successfully transforming the lives of these children one at a time. They cannot do it alone. With Ukraine under the yoke of soviet pressure, which is fermenting a war in the east of their country and creating economic turmoil and mass migration, they need our support now more than ever.
I have two grown children of my own who are finishing college and starting out on their own or at least I hope they are!! Like all parents I love my kids, love seeing them happy and have tried to give them what they need. When I compare what I have spent on my kids and their sense of appreciation of how lucky they are to have been born in this great country, with all the opportunities it offers and then compare that with what I witnessed last month with the children Heart for Orphans is saving in Ukraine, the contrast is stark but in one way very satisfying.
–Witnessing first hand the excitement of a teenager receiving a gift of new underwear, socks or toiletries and being so appreciative of everything.
–Handing a small football to a group of young boys and girls and seeing them invent endless games with it.
–Watching staff members take a length of rope to an orphanage and use it to create about 10 different jumping, pulling, running games that included all the children and had them all laughing and playing and cheering together.
–Bringing kids out of the house into town for their first pizza and meal in a restaurant and watching the bigger kids take care of the little ones and making sure everyone had fun.
None of these activities cost a lot of money per child, but they made these children laugh and smile and interact with each other and with adults and created a sense of self worth and wellbeing. They need all our support to make sure this is not a one-time event in their lives, but a regular occurrence.
So, I have returned from the Vision Trip absolutely convinced of the need to support Heart for Orphans and these people who carry out God’s work in transforming the lives of these children every day. They need our help to provide roofs over their heads, food on the table, basic clothing, and a place of love and hope. I am privileged to have seen this good work carried out first-hand and am dedicated to ensuring the work can be continued and expanded to save more children.