Wednesday, July 9, 2014


You often hear statistics thrown around about orphans and prison. It is most often estimated that 70% of boys who grow up as orphans in Ukraine will turn to a life of crime as a means of survival. But, there is something that changes when that statistic stops being a number and becomes a name, a face, a story, a life, and a kid you deeply love. 

In light of this, we bring you Slavik. We first asked you to pray for him last Thursday and promised details. The truth is, Slavik grew up without the love of parents, was sent out on his own from an orphanage after 9th grade, and found himself living with his older brother. This older brother had a similar story, but was already immersed in a life of crime with 4 stints in prison behind him. He quickly put pressure on Slavik to join him, but Slavik's sweet nature kept him out of harm over the past 3 years. Last week, Slavik gave in to the pressure (and subsequent abuse from his brother) in a big way and joined his brother's gang in attempting to steal goods from a warehouse in Sumy. 

Slavik at this years Spring Grad Camp
The police were alerted and all the guys involved ran except Slavik. Out of fear from his brother, our gentle-giant (with an incredibly tender heart) was ready to take the blame for the entire group, but thankfully an actual lawyer got involved by way of Slavik's girlfriend. He made it clear to Slavik that with no past record, cooperating with the police, and his character, Slavik didn't have to face a heavy prison sentence (if any sentence), but if he foolishly took the fall for his brother and the other men, he would face years in prison. 

He quickly realized he would "never survive prison" and began cooperating. He was put on house arrest outside the city in order to remain out of harm's way. His older brother was doing all he could to find him and pressure him to take the blame. Luckily, his brother was caught the other day and now a trial awaits. 

We see this situation as a major opportunity share love and grace with Slavik. He hasn't asked for anything (except our company as he sits alone in an empty apartment room) but we are hoping to help cover the costs of a lawyer ($150). The reality is: as an orphan, he is already considered a doomed criminal. We hope to give Slavik the chance in life that wasn't offered to him by his family circumstances, a fair and just trial with actual legal representation and the grace God so freely gives to change. Stay tuned for more as we approach his court date at the end of the month. 

The apartment where Slavik is currently under house arrest. 
If you do feel led to give, please click the donate link on our homepage and leave a little note "for Slavik". 

Hoping for justice, compassion, grace, and eternal change in Slavik's life. Thanks for the prayers!!! 

We are so grateful to say that we received enough donations to cover the cost of Slavik's lawyer and buy him some things for while he's on house arrest. Thank you to those who have donated! Please continue to pray for Slavik and his court date on July 26th.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Losha. He has been a part of Open Arms since the beginning; never seen as the "most likely to succeed", he was pegged as one who would be lucky to stay out of prison. Losha left the orphanage in 2007, finished trade school, lived in the Open Arms home, finished a second trade in another city and is now a father with a home outside that village. Losha is overcoming odds and working hard to provide for his little, beautiful family. 

Just the other week, we were lucky to make our way up to their village for some good times with one of our favorite families. They always welcome us with the epitome of hospitality. Like, many village homes, they function without running water = outhouse, and not a fancy outhouse at that. 

A few days ago, Losha's brother caught the old wooden outhouse on fire. Couldn't have been a pretty sight for so many reasons. Thanks to so many of you, we are able to send them the financial help they need to remove this burden from them. It is amazing to witness God's body come together in time's of need. Thank you all so much for all the support you daily give to our ministry and these children. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Summer camp is probably one of the most anticipated events of the year, for grads and for leaders. Just this week, we had multiple kids ask us when camp would be. Sadly, we had to tell them that there would not be a camp. Ukraine has had and is still in much turmoil, which has caused there to be many families displaced all over the country. We searched for places to have camp but all were full with refugees who had to flee their homes.

Camps are such a huge part of our Post Orphanage Ministry. We may not be able to have camp but we plan to still get these kids together, have some fun, share about Jesus, and feed them some good food. We are going to have a lake day on the 4th of July. This will include games, swimming, a bonfire with s'mores, a bible lesson, fellowship, and fireworks. It may not be the camp we were planning for but we plan to pack a lot into this day. 

If you would like to help cover the cost so we can shower these kids with some great food and lots of memories, then click the donate button below. Any amount will help. Thank you so much!

Friday, June 6, 2014


We are so excited about this weekend's orphanage program! We have literally packed as much as humanly possible into 2 days of goodness with some of our favorite children. Games, crafts, skits, Bible lessons, worship, bonfires, s'mores, glow sticks... the list goes on!

Help us make it happen simply by clicking on the "donate" button below:


Send checks to Open Arms Ukraine, PO Box 277, San Lorenzo, CA 94580.

Thanks for joining with us through prayer and support! Can't wait to share all that God does through this time.