Open Arms

Open Arms
...caring for orphans and adoptive families...

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Odessa is a beautiful city, but with much oppression, open shameless prostitution, and a missing older generation, among many other struggles. As we walked the city, Cameron noted that there weren't many younger kids, (abortion is common practice) and most of the people 40 - 60 are either dead or in prison. We haven't checked the statistics, but as you look out on the general population what you see is youth. In spite of this total flop of our generation, there is a remnant of young adults that the Spirit is calling out to, to rise up and reclaim their country. On Tuesday night as we were praying with two young women, Anya and Yulia, about their ministry and their hearts for Odessa, I heard the Lord speak to my heart, As the advertisements on the internet speak of the women of Odessa as the most beautiful and desirable (for all the wrong reasons)...the Lord says that the women of Odessa are beautiful and desirable (for all the right reasons)....They are His precious jewels...He desires their relationships, their lives, their hearts. He desires intimacy with them. Please pray for Anya and Yulia as they minister to the brokenhearted.

During our time in Odessa we went to visit orphans, we reached out to the street kids, and Bibles and Christian literature were purchased and passed out at the Internot #4, on the streets and to the local church.

We met and prayed with a young missionary couple (Adrian and Elizabeth) that has an outreach to street kids. They took us to see an old school building they are praying about obtaining. It is in bad repair, a shell only, but full of recent liquor bottles and used syringes. It is a building still in use by some. They shared how out of the group of homeless children they work with that 3 have died just recently. They want a place where they can house people in need. Not just the children, but homeless mothers and children. We prayed for them, their ministry and this property.


We prayed with 4 other missionaries living and working in Odessa. The oppression is so wearing. That is the word I heard repeated many times over. They are tired and in need of encouragement.

Another couple, Alyona and Slavik, have a ministry to orphans.

They go into different orphanages each month to be a constant presence in the lives of these children. They work primarily in 4 different orphanages each month. One a week. They are seeking churches, groups or individuals that will partner with them each month to support one of these orphanages. Once a year they will do a large scale project at each location and the other 11 months they will be there to love on the children and provide some of their basic needs. They have a short video titled It's Not My Fault. If you're interested in viewing it let us know.

It was such a joy to go back to local church we had attended 2 years ago. We were blessed with an opportunity to encourage some of these believers; especially the women, who are passionate to pursue the Spirit and reach out to their nation. Please pray for this body of believers. Especially the pastor, Sasha and his wife Lena. Their 2nd baby is due in the next few weeks and they shared their concern for the health and safety of this child as they refused to pay an expected "fee" at the clinic. Sometimes things "happen" to a baby. We are trusting with them for their child's protection.

Our hearts are so full that at times it is difficult to share... the needs are so great...but we have Someone who is greater than all these needs! More tomorrow.

Carol and Steve

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


The first weekend you saw in our earlier post and so we're sorry for the unlabeled photos....but the internet was unreliable at times, as were our emotions. So, it was often hard to write even when we had a few minutes. There was just so much to process.

Monday morning started with hot tea in the courtyard. Laurie and Hector had gone around the corner (literally) to McDonald's and were having an intense time with some street kids. You can read more of their encounters at their website Look under our blog list.

Meanwhile, we (Steve and Carol) were meeting a few other guest staying in our hotel. There were a couple adoptive families and two other gentlemen we spent time getting to know over coffee and hot tea. One of the men even joined us for a mid-week prayer meeting and dinner. It's so great when the Lord gives us opportunity to meet people we weren't expecting to find in our path.

Cameron, Steve and I raced to the Odessa Christian Bookstore to purchase books, Bibles and CD's to distribute to the kids at the orphanage. We walked there and back in record time to try and catch bus 133 by 10:30 so we could meet Dasha at the Internot at 11am. We caught the bus and were running just a few minutes behind when our bus hit the curb and blew out a tire. We all quietly departed the bus and began our walk toward our destination. I tried to call Dasha but I had left her number back at the apartment. Funny though we all had complete peace.

About a block from the orphanage a friend came toward us to let us know that Dasha was waiting but that there was a camera crew there this day and the director and children were in a meeting with the TV cameras. We stopped on the street to pray. What to do? Lord, what to do? We all felt peace to proceed. Some of us had been fasting and praying for this meeting for the previous 3 weeks. The time had come. With a mission in our steps and bags of t-shirts and flip flops in our arms, we headed to seek an audience with the director, Ms. Anna. According to the secretary she was unavailable and would be for some time. So we place a photo of our children, a handwritten card from Pasha, flowers and candy on her desk and left the building.

As we were paying our translator and saying goodbye, the camera crew left. We decided to wait in the courtyard. Let's just say God had gone before us. Shortly, the children and director were out front for a photo and then we were invited into her office. She spent 20 minutes sharing how she has resigned effective June 30 and has no idea what her future holds. This, the same lady that wouldn't speak to us 2 years ago. We asked how we could pray for her and if she would take a photo with us. Photos were snapped and she provided a room for us to pray and meet with the children. We had unlimited time with the kids and freedom to take their pictures. The couch quickly filled with the gifts we brought and we let each child choose their own items. Orphans don't have many chances to choose.

Pray for these kids. They are all at summer camp now with even less structure than before. Pray that the Lord would bring families for these waiting children.
The encouragement to me this day was that God's timing is always so perfect. Thank you Lord for the flat we would arrive at the orphanage when the camera crews were almost done. Thank you for softening Anna's heart.

Odessa is a beautiful.....