What will these children receive for Christmas?

November 20, 2009

Most of the children shown in this picture have lived hard lives by the age of 10. Their memories consist of images of sleeping in abandoned buildings, sewer tunnels, or on the street, if weather permits. They remember scrounging, stealing, or begging for food. They carry with them the stigma of being "dirty little outcasts" made into criminals for survival. There are also flashbacks about how or why they ended up in such harsh circumstances: alcoholic, abusive parents account for the majority of children who run away from home. Other circumstances might include the death of one or even both parents, or poverty so extreme that a child is forced to leave the household and fend for himself. Whatever the cause, their memories are unhappy and frightening.

In the beginning, food was one way of winning the trust of these children.

The Father's House ministry in the Ukraine has been ministering to these children for several years in a unique way. Besides providing necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, these orphans are given "parents" – grown-ups (usually married couples) who live in a very large apartment complex with the children and care for them as their own. The fathers generally work outside the house to help defray the many expenses of operating this kind of orphanage. (An operation of this magnitude cannot depend solely on outside support.)

Dr. Roman Korniyko left his practice in 1997 to devote his work and life full-time for helping destitute children.

This year, however, many of their local network of supporters have lost their jobs and money has been scarce. Christian Aid received the following message from Dr. Roman Korniyko, the leader of the Father´s House orphanages:

"Dear Sponsors in the USA,

We are very thankful for your help these many years for homeless children in Ukraine. Praise God, we are now caring for 1200 children in 20 homes. Every Christmas we have been able to provide these dear children with a Christmas gift to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, and to give these children a happy remembrance on Christmas Day. This year, however, many of our supporters have lost their jobs and we don´t have enough funds to purchase Christmas gifts as usual. But if we received a special offering, we could give every child a gift bag with candies for approximately $3.70 each.

For many of these children this may be the first Christmas they have ever experienced in a loving home. This small offering is not just a material thing that will eventually fall apart or be tossed aside. It will be a demonstration of Christ´s love working through us, the body of Christ. And it will be a happy memory, hopefully crowding out some of the bad ones."

Christian Aid also thanks you for the support you have given this ministry over the years. We praise our Lord for the work He is doing in the lives of these children.

We wish you all a blessed Christmas and fruitful New Year!