A day with the kids and on to Khust for weekend

Friday, January 16, 2009
Vinogradov, Ukraine

We overslept, but the short nights have been catching up to us. We are comfortable settled at the orphanage in two rooms.  
We have breakfast that is prepared by Marichka. Her husband Vasya is there, too. The Scharpen's are really enjoying this experience. Vasyl arrive just after breakfast and we talk for a few hours. No problem talking. We discuss everything from the children, to how they manage their finances to how the history of how the orphanage was built. Last year we were here at about the same time and I wrote in my blog about how Vasyl and Irina built this place. In short, they had a vision after the fall of Communism to build a school, a Christian center. The government allocated a piece of land for their dream but the economy was in shambles. A religious group in Switzerland offered to help build the project, but when prices began to escalate, they pulled out. Vasyl had already bought some of the building materials. They decided to build anyway under the difficult conditions. They were able to barter for other materials such as concrete. They put up the walls and roof and decided what to do next. Over the years they raised the money and got support from various people to finish this building. In the meantime they started their program for street children in the center of Vinogradov about four miles away. The building was officially opened this past year on July 17th. The president of Ukraine's daughter was present along with the ministers of social services on the national and regional levels. The building will now be used as orphanage with a family model instead of an institutional model. The surrogate parents will be responsible for groupings of children. There are now 14 as mentioned earlier.  
They talked about the various miracles that occurred to getting this place built. Many have marveled how such a big project could be accomplished by so few. They have remarkable faith, courage and focus in getting things done in less than ideal conditions. The most miracle has been their accessing spring water. They now have clean drinking water for the entire building from a spring about 850 meters away.   
We also discussed aspects of his faith. They are very strict Sabbath keepers and we talked some about that and other points of doctrine.
Just before 1:00 pm local time (there is also Kiev time...a confusing mixture of two zones in this area) we headed for the soup kitchen in Vinogradov. It was so good to see the kids that we had gotten to know over the years: Diana, Edita, Katya and more. They were happy to see us and we heard the question again: Where is Daniel and Cindy? They really made an impression on the kids and they asked when they would be back to visit. I told them that we were hoping to have them come again this summer to teach English.  
Snow was falling. Perfect snow for snow balls. Scott got into a snowball fight with the boys. They loved it.
Then we got together in the meeting hall where the children sang some spiritual songs and had a short lesson taught by Irina. Then across the hall for lunch where had a tasty lunch.  
Ivan Yurishko came by to pick us up. We are going to spend the night in Khust and go to church there. We are looking forward to seeing friends going back 17 years in our travels to Ukraine. Ivan is always wonderful to be with. He is a "can do" fellow who is very successful in his work. He's had another good year and his concrete business, which is only one of his enterprises, flourished this past year. He now has a contract with the city of Khust to put in paving and curbing. He took us to his cement factory.
Then to the hotel. The four of us are going to stay in a new hotel right in the center of Khust. Wow! One room was a suite of rooms and it was very very nice. And free WiFi that works! A great place to spend Friday night.
The Scharpens and us had dinner one floor down with most of us having local trout. The prices were very reasonable and we enjoyed the entire evening. 
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Greetings from Ken Zahora
Say hello to everyone from me. Best of health to Vasya & Marichka, Irina & Vasyl, & all the children. I look forward to seeing you all this coming summer.
Your friend,


Re: Greetings from Ken Zahora
Everyone sends their warmest greetings to you! I did give greetings to all. They are waiting for you all to return in July. We just arrived back to Budapest from Vinogradov/Khust. It's been great...more postings coming.