In January when the snow starts to pile up and there is a chill in the air, young twenty-something’s from all over Ukraine make the journey back to a village outside of Berdyansk. Often they travel with their spouse and a child or two in tow. They are headed to the only home they’ve ever known: Mel & Ruth’s Houses. For most of these young adults, these Transition Homes represent a special time in their life… the first time they experienced a family! Vova and Tonia became their parents, and now years later, the bond is still there and stronger than ever!
The first week in January is a big holiday in Ukraine. From New Years Day until Ukrainian Christmas on January 7th, the celebrations are on going! It is a time of feasting and exchanging gifts… a time of singing and praying together. It is also a special time of catching up with “brothers” and “sisters” who have moved away, and a time of meeting new “siblings,” orphans who currently live in the houses.
Housemother Tonia and the kids will work for weeks, sometimes around the clock, as they prepare Christmas specialties. Tonia will be feeding a house full, as more than 50 extended family members will gather together.
Christmas gifts are modest by American standards: some candy, a notebook, maybe a shirt or a new pair of jeans… and the kids are so appreciative! But their greatest joy is being together as a family and celebrating the birth of our Savior!
From our Heart for Orphans family to your family, we wish you a very blessed and Merry Christmas!