Orphans Becoming Camp Leaders
Thank you again to everyone who gave toward summer camps. Here’s one encouraging story from each of our camps: Stop the Cycle camp for orphan-led families, and camp for orphan students. God is using your gifts to transform orphans’ lives in Zhytomyr!
Stop the Cycle Camp Comes Full Circle
It’s a great blessing when orphanage graduates give back in our community. Two former orphans, Yulia S. and Anya H., have joined our staff. They were also leaders at family camp this year. But they weren’t the only ones!
Three former orphans who graduated from our Stop the Cycle program in 2016 were leaders at camp: Sasha and Alona Kaplun, and Oksana Orendovskaya (along with her husband Vova). During the years when Oksana was a Stop the Cycle participant, God especially touched her heart at camp. This summer she led Bible classes for camp kids, and at an evening meeting she shared about how God found her, changed her life, and helped her through difficult trials (like thyroid cancer—she’s now cancer-free).
Staff member Yulia shared, “Every day I was overwhelmed with great joy that my friends were serving God with me in this camp!”
“Only God can change hearts so dramatically”
Youth camp was an amazing time for all! The director of Educational Outreach, Lena Voznyuk, shared about orphaned youth Seryozha and Valya, a brother and sister who are part of our Day Center community. Valya is a quiet young woman who’s been taking guitar lessons with one of our staff. Now she’s teaching her Last Bell friends, and at camp they got together to play and sing worship songs.
In 2019, the team was worried about Seryozha and whether his behavior would cause problems at camp. But God touched his heart there, and his lifestyle has changed dramatically. This year, he was a helper. Every evening he toured the camp territory to make sure everything was in order, and in the mornings he got up early so he could wake everyone else.
“I believe only God can change hearts so dramatically,” said Lena. “This camp and the youth who came are special – they’ll be future camp leaders! They have so much potential and life. Valya and Seryozha needed just a little care, attention, and love and their amazing personalities opened up. And this is just the beginning of their path with God!”