How to Pray for Last Bell in 2017
As we look forward to a new year, we want to ask for your prayers about some big-picture plans in 2017. We’re grateful for God’s guidance toward where we are now, and we fervently hope and pray for clear direction as we take the next steps in showing His love to orphanage graduates.
Our Community in Ukraine: Orphans Advocating for Orphans
As our beloved orphanage graduates are learning to thrive, they’re becoming God’s instruments of change in a post-Soviet culture. It’s amazing to see many of our youth contributing in their Last Bell, Zhytomyr, and village communities. Please pray with us for supernatural encouragement for these brave advocates, and pray many more of our youth will join in the work to bless families in need and at-risk children in their own communities. We believe a Ukraine without orphans is possible – with the help of these prior generations of orphaned youth who are working from a foundation of God’s love.
Our Community in Ukraine: Churches & Ministry Partners
We’re immensely grateful for the Ukrainian churches and organizations that partner with us, whose work we respect and admire. We want to keep expanding our relationships in Ukraine to include other partners and communities of Christians. We also want to lead the way in best practices for working with orphanage graduates, as we focus on ministering through relationships and promote healing from early childhood trauma. To that end, Andrey Pankyeyev was at a week-long workshop just this month, and we’ll continue to look for opportunities to grow – both in what we learn from others, and what we offer. Please pray for our team in Ukraine to forge God-ordained connections with people and organizations.
Our Programs: MOPS & Stop the Cycle
We’ve probably mentioned that our Stop the Cycle program for orphan moms and their kids has been growing exponentially! We’re excited to be partnering with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), and we hope to send three of our staff to a MOPS conference in Germany this June. Please pray with us that all three staff can get their visas, and that all the details work out. This is a valuable opportunity for our staff to learn and be encouraged as we keep offering new resources to young orphan-parented families. We’d also appreciate your prayers for the new crisis housing center at the Shelter – that it would fill up with families who need it.
Our Programs: Restoration Project
The Restoration Project is our newest program. We’re encouraged by the sometimes-slow but organic pace of the renovation projects, and by the success of the program’s structure. We want to keep doing this work well, and continue our focus on discipleship, as well as increasing the depth of mentorship for our renovation team. But we also want to see more youth getting into safe living situations. 70% of orphanage graduates inherit a home or apartment, but 90% of these are not livable. We have more than one idea about how to create more housing, and we hope you’ll pray with us for wisdom and direction about which plan to pursue.
Our Programs: Educational Outreach
We love what we’ve seen happening in the Educational Outreach program this year! We’re meeting and mentoring many orphanage graduates at different trade schools in Zhytomyr. Please pray that the few remaining trade schools will be open to us, and we’ll be able to befriend all the youth coming from regional orphanages into Zhytomyr trade schools.
Our Community in the U.S.: Friends & Advocates
We’re so thankful for our supporting churches and many ministry partners here in the States. One of our goals in 2017 is to increase this community. Some people really understand and value our work with “throwaway kids” across the ocean. We ask you to pray for more churches, organizations, and individual people who “get it,” who are willing to jump in and invest their time and energy.
Our Community in the U.S.: Financial Support
The ministry in Ukraine is flourishing. We have fifteen amazing staff who minister to hundreds of young people with deep care and attention – learning about our young people’s needs and flexibly accommodating them. Their ability to stretch a dollar – and an hour – is impressive! But we do have a need for greater funds so we can truly undergird their hard work.
Thank you, all, for supporting Last Bell through your prayers in 2016, and we look forward to seeing what God will do in 2017!