In the countries where Mission Possible serves there are two great needs:
1. Need for the Gospel message
2. Need for immediate and long-term aid to fight crisis situations and poverty
We are trying to spread the Gospel as effectively as we can while we help the many needy ones, with the hope of bringing a lasting change.
Our new baby box project, like all our projects, is meant to meet these two needs. It is a great way to provide the kind of help that the recipients need: necessities for the infants and mothers as well as instruction, health care, knowledge, mental support, and spiritual guidance. It is a channel to concretely show God’s love to those who are the most desperate and to bring them to church.
Inner change and the acquisition of new knowledge and skills affect the next generation. When the mother comes to know God, is restored from substance abuse or homelessness, receives instruction, is given a place to stay, and has regular income, her children can have a better life. When young Gypsy mothers are taught and helped to take care of their children, and they are supported in the fellowship of believers, their children have a hope for the future.
The mothers who receive the package also receive motherhood instruction and teaching, health care, and mental and spiritual help and support.
How you can help:
The clothes for the boxes are collected in Finland where baby boxes have a history of eighty years and the Finnish people are familiar with this concept.
The boxes contain not only clothes but baby care products (such as diapers, lotions, scissors, hairbrushes), baby toys, and instructional materials. These items and the large boxes which contain them are purchased in the destination countries, where prices are lower. This also reduces the transportation costs. Volunteers at each destination pack the boxes.
The total cost for one box, its included items, transportation, literature, and instruction and care for the mother and baby is sixty dollars. You can participate by sending any amount designated to “Baby boxes.” Thank you for your help!
Bulgarian Gypsy girls and women are amongst the neediest people in Eastern Europe. There has been no hope of change for them. Poverty and few occupational opportunities drive them to beg, steal, and prostitute themselves.
It is a burden for parents to provide for their daughters, so they marry them off as early as possible. Most Gypsy girls become mothers between the ages of thirteen and fifteen.
Young mothers usually do not receive instruction for mothering or health care. They meet a medical person for the first time when it is time to deliver the baby. Often they do not possess the most basic necessities for their newborns.
Their difficulties are multiplied due to poor living conditions, lack of proper hygiene, and lack of education. Ignorance and old practices are passed to following generations.
Mission Possible can make a difference by working with local churches to fill baby boxes and by teaching healthy habits and methods in the communities where we serve. We have already been reaching Gypsy villages through soup kitchens and children’s education projects since 1998.
For many years Mission Possible has helped children and their mothers in Russia, and now we want to take the baby box program there too.
Many of Russia’s young single mothers - some are just teenagers - have grown up in alcoholic families or orphanages. Without familial support they end up on the streets and become victims of abuse. They raise their children in deplorable conditions. Baby clothes and items are a great help for them, and we are able to provide those.
We also arrange official matters, renovate their living places, find furniture and baby equipment, and help them care for their children. When needed, they reside in our shelter homes.
Support from people who care reaches these desperate mothers and their precious babies, and the Gospel message is shared with them all.
Children’s camp teacher
Marina (11), Nastya (9), and Olya (7) are sisters. They have an older brother, Benjamin, who also participated in our youth camp. They are beautiful children and seem to be like anyone else – but you can see the hurt and sorrow in their eyes.
Six years ago their mother died from electrocution. Their father tried to take care of his four children but couldn’t gain employment, so the family existed on meager child allowances. He finally had to send the children to a governmental boarding school. The siblings were invited to our summer camp.
It was obvious the girls were very poor; they didn’t have even basic toiletries. At the beginning of camp they were shy and stood at a distance, but soon they entered in and made friends. Olya, the youngest, was especially happy when we paid attention to her and gave her hugs.
When Olya and I walked in the meadow hand in hand she said, “I’ll never let you go!” Her words caused a lump to rise in my throat.
Most of the campers had a similar background. On the first two days I could hardly wait for evening so I could get away and pour out to God all the sorrow I felt as I considered these children and their needs. Every one of them is so precious to God. They all need God – and we have the great opportunity to show God’s love to them!
Two years ago Mission Possible began ministry for children in Transnistria. Our goal is to launch Bible clubs in the impoverished villages where so many children live. Because of the hard circumstances and conditions, most children live without their parents.
Our work focuses especially in places with no churches. Our team’s hope is to establish children’s activities in fifty villages. We currently hold Bible clubs in twelve villages regularly.
Twice a year (in winter and summer) evangelistic events for children and their families are held in some of the villages. After each event, we then work to establish a children’s Bible club in that location. In January we held events in Mokra and Voronkovo. Two hundred children, plus parents and grandparents, were present. There had never been evangelistic activity in Mokra prior to this.
As a result, Bible clubs began. They are held every Saturday or Sunday and are usually hosted in someone’s home.
In the village of Kolbasna the group outgrew the home of Victor and Tatyana, the couple who led it. So they began meeting on the playing field. During one gathering Victor and Tatyana prayed with the children that they would find a larger indoor space for the club. Soon after praying, a man approached the group. He said that he lived next to the playground but he traveled often. He asked if the group would be willing to meet in his home so it would not be unoccupied. This was a prompt and concrete answer for the children and their prayer!
This summer two camps were organized: one for children from seven to twelve years of age and the other from thirteen to sixteen. The camps were one week long and hosted 220 children from seventeen villages. Most campers were orphans or from very poor families.
For them camp was a big event and they participated with enthusiasm. Children and teens in these areas are open to the Gospel and willing to know God.
“Inner change and the acquisition of new knowledge and skills affect the next generation. When the mother comes to know God, is restored from substance abuse or homelessness, receives instruction, is given a place to stay, and has regular income, her children can have a better life.”
This has come true in the lives of these two mothers at one of our rehabilitation centers. Some day when these boys learn about their mothers’ pasts, it will be difficult for them to believe the stories.
Olga’s parents drank, so she also began drinking at a very young age, which led to living on the streets. She and her boyfriend, another alcoholic, then moved to a tent in the forest.
During that time they had a baby, which was then placed in an adoption family by childcare officials. Olga was unhealthy, disheveled, and weary. She didn’t take care of herself.
She had a second child who was hospitalized due to sicknesses caused by their substandard living conditions. Childcare authorities told Olga she’d be deprived of her parental rights to this baby also if she didn’t change their family’s lifestyle immediately.
Olga looked for a way out of this consequence and turned to us. The authorities allowed her to come to our rehabilitation center with the baby.
Olga’s rehabilitation process, however, was exceptionally difficult. She had an uncooperative attitude, and it took several months before we established a somewhat functional relationship with her. Living a “normal” life and caring for a baby were completely foreign concepts, so our team taught her all the basics. She finally agreed to get a haircut, but she remained hostile toward our attempts at sharing the Gospel with her.
We never lost hope, though. Within such a caring environment, the ice in Olga’s heart began to melt. She had been with us for over a year when she finally gave her life to Christ!
The newly found Hope within her began to produce more good changes. She became interested in raising her child. Until then she had just left her little boy in bed as much as possible. Now she wanted a book on how to care for children. She put what she learned to practice and asked for more instruction. She also started caring for herself.
We helped Olga acquire governmental child allowances. She is now looking for employment. Once a job is secured and her son’s childcare is arranged, she will be ready to live independently.
The change we’ve witnessed in Olga and her son is incredible!
Svetlana began using drugs when she was seventeen years old. To support her addiction she worked nights at a casino and manipulated the gamers’ money. Management at the casino became suspicious of her and she lost the job.
The next thing she did was steal from her family and friends. She lived a double life for eight years before they found out. It was shocking to her parents and sister to realize she’d been using drugs.
Svetlana’s parents sent her to a rehabilitation center, but after completing the program she kept using drugs. Her relationship with her mother and sister began to crumble, but her father was hopeful and sent her to another center.
It was there she was able to overcome her addiction. But she then met a man who had just divorced his wife, and she moved in with him. She felt happy, and even more so when she found out she was pregnant.
However, just a month before her baby was due, the child’s father announced he was returning to his ex-wife. Svetlana’s life collapsed.
Her parents and sister took turns monitoring her day and night to prevent her from harming herself. Right before the birth of her little boy, Sasha, she got more bad news: she was diagnosed with HIV and the doctors suspected her baby had it, too. After many tests, and to the family’s great relief, the baby was determined to be healthy, but he would be monitored for three years. Svetlana started intensive HIV treatment.
Life’s difficulties and bitterness towards the child’s father were too much, and Svetlana turned to alcohol. Again, her parents sought a rehabilitation center, this time further from home. They found our center on the Internet and Svetlana agreed to come to us with her baby.
When she reached our rehab center the Gospel message was shared with her, and she immediately accepted it as the truth and became a believer! Following this, she was able to forgive her boyfriend and was freed from bitterness.
Svetlana is now a wonderfully responsible mother, caring much for her son. She prays a lot and loves to study the Bible. She has even become a support person for new mothers residing at our center.
Svetlana would like to find an apartment in another city, but is uncertain where. She has left this and other issues in her life to God for His guidance.
In our last newsletter we told you about the children in the village of Paliyovo, Ukraine. We have good news.
The local school has given our team a classroom where the Bible club can be held. During this past summer our team was invited by the school to conduct a summer camp in the village.
Team leaders Tanya and Lilya wrote, “During the school year we taught informative lessons on different themes that are important for children and teens. Both pupils and teachers always welcomed us warmly. When the principal asked us to put on the school’s summer camp, we gladly accepted the invitation. It was a two -week long day camp. On the last day we had a closing party. ‘Can’t we continue the gatherings?’ the children asked. They were sorry our team wouldn’t be in their village for the rest of the summer. - It was sad to part with them, but we believe and pray that we’ll be able to visit the school during the new school year and continue Bible club.”