A new home
Monday, 17 December 2012 09:17
Please help us….God has placed within our reach an amazing opportunity to expand our territory and give us a home for orphans and street kids that will fulfill the vision. We love children and are here in the Ukraine to rescue orphans from the streets and orphanages and raise them in OUR home. I began this work as a single woman loving children, married a man with the same heart to rescue and raise them, taking two orphans in already, Jenny and Zhenya….we must own a home before the Government in the Ukraine will allow us to take in more children by law.
An amazing ‘place’ has come into our sights – a house that is already fully equipped to serve children has become available to purchase. The cost $250,000 US. The door is open….
The building is divided with three separate entrances where one section is already made into a home – a big bright kitchen with a huge eating area – three bedrooms. One room for girls and one for boys, master bedroom, big corridors, family room with a fireplace, two bathrooms. Section Two: two more bedrooms or areas to work with children, small kitchen, bathroom with toilet and shower. Section Three: a room big enough to feed 30 kids, an industrial size kitchen, toilets.
A nice yard with new apple trees, shed-like garage, full secure fencing and intercom system, water well and generator on the property, as well as city electricity and water. Basement in each of the sections is equipped with shelving and areas for storing the food and clothing that are generously provided for or donated by our Canadian supporters.
We need financial help to purchase the keys that will unlock the door of this home for us to care for God’s precious children.
For a lasting change make cheques payable to:
I.H.S. International Humanitarian Society;
Box 400, Edmonton, AB Canada T5J 2J6
Jenny Mernickle President 780-914-6304
In the subject line: Ukraine House
Together we can see this building become a home for children that don’t have one, Love Leanne, Arkadiy, Jenny & Zhenya
Friday, 02 March 2012 03:22
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
In September 2000 this was the verse God sent me out with and brought me to Kiev Ukraine to work with the street kids to love them unconditionally like God loves us. God's sovereign hand was in all that was in front of me. Relationships were started, first being my relationship with local organization - Center Ezra.
Rescuing Children off the Streets of Kiev, caring for the orphans in government-run orphanages and Shelters, mentoring and teaching others to do the same. This ministry is such a privilege to be part of. I have enjoyed living and ministering in Ukraine for the past 10 years. After marrying Arkadiy three years ago we have been taking the next steps in the ministry by coming together as husband and wife/father and mother and taking in orphans who were forgotten and discarded by their parents.
It has been an amazing journey already we have rescued two children - our son Zhenya 6 years old and our daugther Jenny 8 years old are the first two. We have taken them under foster care in order to keep and maintain their rights for government assistance for their futures. Our desire is to take up to 10 or more children under our foster care. However, the law of Ukraine has required recently that we own our own property - house and land - before they will allow us to take any more children. The recent financial crisis in the world has affected Ukraine very badly inflation has hit them very hard. The real estate prices have doubled in the last three years - now to buy a two story house and enough land to handle this large of a household will cost $300,000 US. So we are asking for supporters to help us purchase a property. The banks in Ukraine are very unstable and the mortgage rates in Ukraine are very high (30% per year). However, waiting for this to happened hasn't stopped us from affecting orphans lives. We are still involved with the government-run Shelter and the local organization Ezra. I have weekly meetings with Vera - the head of the Children's Ministry with Ezra - to mentor her and her team. God put us together when I first went to Ukraine and has continued to use us to touch children's lives. We provide transportation when necessary; we provide resources - craft supplies, clothes as well as financial support. We are also involved in our home church in Ukraine - Irpin Bible Church - we are leaders in that church and will be installing in a playground on church grounds to be an outreach to our community. We are serving as an example to others and encouraging others to be foster families.
- Feeding them as they continue to live on the streets
- Working with them in the Government Orphanage - The Shelter
- Bringing them to permanent Christian orphanages such as Father's House or Sunshine House
- Keeping in touch with them when they are reunited with their families or returned to their orphanages around Ukraine. By writing letters, sending care packages and visiting them.
- Connecting them to the local churches and having them minister to them.
- Connecting with other organizations working with the kids, praying with these workers weekly, strategizing on ways to work together to get the kids off the streets, reunited with their families.
Our ministry is to:
- Be Jesus to them
- Show them unconditional love,
- Preach the truth as it is written in the Bible - that God has plans for their lives to prosper, not for evil
- To turn them to God and away from the evil that they do
- To pray and intercede for them
- To tell their stories and share their burdens
God has been so faithful in keeping us in the Ukraine to be HIS hands and feet to the orphans. How can you help? We need regular monthly supporters to help us do more ministry and help more families, we need a new vehicle - while being in Canada Arkadiy was in an accident and the van we had was totalled, praise God he wasn't hurt but now we are in need of $16,000 US to buy a new van. To continue with rescuing more children we need a house $300,000 US. All of these needs are beyond me and Arkadiy and we are trusting that God's resources will flow.
Keeping and getting in contact with us is very easy - I am on Facebook - Leanne Swekla-Barvinska; as well my email:
and we have a website : http://www.freewebs.com/ukrainestreetkids
Please pray that God will give us wisdom in raising these children that are rescued they are so hurt and need God's healing hand in their lives; pray for God's peace and love to reign in our household; pray that God multiply this by encouraging others to do the same as we by the example He has set in our lives.
Thank you for your support and prayers.
Leanne, Arkadiy, Jenny and Zhenya Barvinsky
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 17:25
Summer ends, the new school year begins, feels like New Years to me – so many exciting things are starting, being added to and expanded.
God has led me to many new places here in Ukraine and I am excited by how HE planted seeds and grew them – growing me and allowing me to see others join – then we continue to serve the families – the children – in Ukraine in HIS mighty name.
God expands territory when we ask and seek His face.
Here are some of the exciting developments:
Ezra and Social Services partnered together to start a pilot project called “The Center” where kids and families have an Emergency Hotline they can call to be helped – legally, socially, psychologically. Vera is the Director and has a team of experienced people working with at-risk families. Our goal and desire is not to break up families but to see them strengthened and staying together. This means not only working with the children but with their parents as well. I go into Kiev once a week to help Vera where I can with correspondence to our North American supporters, encouraging and mentoring Vera and helping with teams and guests that come in from overseas. This also means working directly with the kids, teaching object lessons and doing crafts.
I just started a small group with a twist – we are listening to Beth Moore’s book called So Long Insecurity in English, there are about 10 girls, from 15 to 20 years old. It is a place where they can practice their English, hear a Spirit-inspired book, be mentored and get answers and extra help with their English as necessary. I have many games and activities that are in English as well.
Many people have been asking me to teach them English, I had been avoiding that, but it would appear God has different plans – teach English and through that mentor girls and plant seeds. Preparing them for a better future and realizing once again that I follow…He leads.
I am also attending a home group led by Nadya, she and her husband are one of the founders of our church, its focus is for leaders in women’s ministry, we receive encouragement and gain wisdom, practical experience and great Bible teaching.
Once a month there is a “Coffee House” where the women and the youth are invited to fellowship – in a relaxed and homey atmosphere – there are questions on the tables to start discussions.
Laura leads this women’s ministry and has asked the other ladies to pray for the leaders of the youth girls’ home groups, keeping in touch with them each week to find out needs and prayer requests. God has given her vision for the ministry to move out of the church and meet people where they are. There are dreams/plans to go and support the missionaries that our church supports, possibly having teams go there to minister and share what God has blessed us with in bringing women together. I have been asked to bring a team to Arkadiy’s home town and share what we do in women’s ministry.
Another lady (Oxsana) is bringing together non-Christians once a week in a small group with their children. She and another lady are teaching them about God through a DVD series and discussion. I work with another lady and minister to their children – about 5 or 6 kids under 5 years old.
We had a wonderful opportunity last week when one of mothers asked us how to minister and teach her children, Praise God for a great opening to encourage her in the areas she was having success and add to her resources giving her some new ideas. This mom – Anya recently gave her heart to Jesus and now she has a desire to be a better example and mother to her kids, she also wants to work on her relationship with her husband.
We have Movie Night once a month bringing non-Christian husbands and wives together to watch a good film and have fellowship. I am in charge of the team working with their children. My desire is to put together a team of people that ‘will go on the road’ with children ministry. There are many family orientated small groups getting together through the week but there is nothing specifically for the children. My desire is to equip people and place them in these different groups to go and work with the kids. Once these teams are trained and ready for ministry they will be ready to help with the work at “The Center”; the extra help with camps and other events in the summer is invaluable. My “English” students will also be ready to be interpreters for teams and guests that come.
God started adding to the ministry of caring for our people – making meals for new moms and making meals for families in crisis situations is part of that. We also have new ladies with a heart
to ‘adopt’ a grandma and fellowship with her and assist where necessary. These ladies are contacting their grandmas once a week and they encourage each other and pray for each other.
Wow – God is amazing!!
The men haven’t been forgotten:
There is a men’s ministry once a month on Saturday and the men get together planning events, they’ve gone fishing so far and they are taking their boys with them, they have a program as well.
Movie Night is a group for unsaved men (often drug addicts or alcoholics).
Our work with the orphans continues and will always be a huge part of our ministry. We hope to inspire others to take children into their homes and change their lives. We are very excited to see others willing to take in children and still believing for a home so we can take more children in.
Our kids are well, Zhenya just turned 8 and Jenny will be 10 in November, they are in Grade 3 and have another new teacher. They are studying English at school and I have been teaching them as well. When I was in Canada last year I received English teaching resources, a reminder that God knows and meets our needs, often before we realize it.
We are preparing and praying for the opportunity to come to Canada as a family in June.
I am taking Ukrainian lessons once a week. The program is a great one specifically tailored for foreigners. I have a lady from the church teaching me once a week.
Our territory is expanding and God equips us for each opportunity as it comes up. We are now working with children at risk, teaching others to minister, equipping people to minister with resources, distributing humanitarian aid. Mentoring, teaching, preaching and encouraging…
…remarkable what HE can accomplish when we open our eyes, hearts and hands to the needs of others.
Thank you for your prayers and support, this work could not be accomplished without you – we love you and may God bless you abundantly.
Your family in Christ,
Leanne, Arkadiy, Jenny and Zhenya