Despite of the tightening quarantine restrictions in 2021, God has given us the opportunity to serve more than 300 children through a variety of projects: hiking, camping, and dad‘s weekends in the summer, art and missionary camps in the fall and winter.
And now a little more about each of the above.
We have created different levels of a hiking program for children and adolescents. We went on six hikes, each was full of adventures and discoveries. We chose the Beskids of the Carpathians, wild mountains with bright nature, with almost no one around. During the hikes, children learned to take care of themselves and acquired the skills necessary to survive in wild nature: build shelters, learn to make fire, cook on fire, filter water with improvised materials, work with a compass and navigate the terrain, explore methods of protection from wild animals. Each hike had a special atmosphere with campfires in the evenings, sincere conversations, and many opportunities to hear the voice of the Creator, who is seen through the beauty of nature. During the hikes, the children gained many useful skills for life and brought home unforgettable experiences.
What was special is that in each group there were underprivileged children, and we were happy to serve them and take care of them so that good emotions, useful experiences and skills they acquire during the vacation can support them and give them life strength.
Story of Martha, Danik and Ani Chekan, Fastiv, Kyiv region
Unfortunately, there was an accident in their large family: their father died tragically at work, and six children and their mother were left alone. We invited three older children – Martha, Anya and Danylo. The hike became a real adventure for them: they happily explored everything around, loved to feast on blueberries and raspberries, always took care of each other and made some new friends. Our goal was to do everything for them to feel that life is worth appreciating every moment of it. Of course, they miss their dad, and at times they were upset to recall how good it was with him.
‘For the first time in my life I spent the night in a tent, bathed in a mountain river, and saw so many raspberries and blueberries. We climbed so many mountains in a week that we spent hiking, but I wanted more. I remember the rains and storms. It’s a little scary when you’re hiding in a tent, in a sleeping bag. Thunder is roaring; it’s raining, and you’re warm and dry. I will miss playing with my new friends at the bonfire in the evening and I really want to come back here. For our mom and younger brother and two sisters we will bring many gifts from the forest, such as tea, which I collected myself’Martha Chekan