House of Joy is in the state of Kherson in southern Ukraine, bordering Crimea. If you have followed the news, you know this is one of three states in Ukraine that Putin has openly stated he wants to take from Ukraine. The obvious motive is Black Sea port control.
Therefore, since early in the war, the city of Kahovka has been under Russian control. To be frank, this made House of Joy a target. Without going into detail about the reasons, we felt the need to move the 49 children from HOJ to various homes to spread them out so they could not be taken away as a group.
This was a lengthy, painstaking task for the staff as the families had to be vetted for the safety of the children. Some of the homes are foster families already vetted by the local Social Services. The children have all been safely placed in foster homes or the homes of our staff. Only two sisters (pictured to the right) are currently living in the House of Joy. That is because one of the girls has epileptic seizures. The staff stays round the clock with them. In our hearts, we have prepared for 6 months of this, but no one knows the future.
Above all, please pray for the well-being of the children and peace and blessings upon the families who received them. It is an added responsibility on these families as all schools in Ukraine are closed due to the war. We are providing additional income to our staff that has taken in children because the war has devastated the local economy. As an example, a local favorite is a sausage, sold by the kilogram (2.2 pounds). Prior to the war, one kilo cost $4. Today it costs $16.
We are also continuing our financial support of providing aid to refugee families inside Ukraine for their basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing. This month one of the Ukrainianchurches we partner with built out two apartments for refugee families. We bought the furniture for the two apartments. The devastation of war. Has brought great need. Again, we say thanks to all of our partners who have generously provided resources for us to continue this. Thank you for your prayers for Ukraine and for the war to end quickly.
Written by Victor and Halina
When our family moved to Kiev in 1994, our first convert was Victor. We have shared their story in the past. They live in a region on the edge of Kiev that was very near where the worst bombing around Kiev occurred. For a month they went to the other side of Kiev to stay with relatives. Last week Victor told Yulia, our Ukrainian Administrator, “We are back home in our apartment! We are alive and we survived!”They have two daughters who are married. Their older daughter, Yulia, has an apartment in Irpin, a smaller town near Kiev. Irpin has been frequently in the US news because it has suffered heavy damage. Yulia’sfamily miraculously escaped the city literally four hours before the atrocities started. In mid-May Yulia and her family were able to safely return to their apartment in Irpin. Miraculously their apartment survived while neighboring houses, which are 25 yards away from theirs, suffered significant damage.
Yulia gave birth to twin girls in 2018. This picture is from a photo shoot done by the Washington Post and New York Times. This is Yulia’s twin daughters, Solomyia and Veronica, who will turn 4 this August. The photographers placed
Victor’s wife, Halyna, said when they went to Irpin to see Yulia’s family, they passed by at least three piles similar to the one in the picture. In the words of YuliaNinkishenko, our ministry administrator, they were “Peaceful Ukrainians who were trying to escape the horrors of the war in their private cars. But,they were fired upon and their cars set on fire.”