Fall ‘16 Russian Dinner

October 21st, 2016

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Oops, we updated our Russian dinner information on Facebook, but failed to do so on our own website.

Please join us on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at 6pm @ Russian Baptist Church in Gorham, Maine.

All funds raised will go towards purchasing Christmas presents for orphans, and the cost of the dinner is a donation. We hope to see you there!

Bottle Drive

October 10th, 2016

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Bottle Drive this Saturday (10/15). We’ll be meeting at RBC in Gorham at 9:30am. If you have bottles you’d like to donate, feel free to drop them off at the church or message us on FB to arrange a pickup. Thank you!

“Because Doesn’t Everyone Deserve to Know That They Are Loved?”

October 10th, 2016

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My first trip with Hand in Hand took place three years ago, and I was to work in the Be——-ya orphanage. I knew that the children there were very special, and that it would be difficult, but I was not prepared for just how difficult it would be. The hardest thing for me was to look into their eyes and to see the despair, the loneliness, and to hear the words: “take me home with you.” I was shocked that a child who had known me for all of thirty minutes could be ready to call me “Mama.”

I know from my own personal experience that the feeling of loneliness can be incredibly suffocating, and children who live in orphanages not only feel loneliness, but actually live a life of loneliness. And so every child is a mystery: each one of them has their own personal problems, their own worries, and they need people in their lives to hold and comfort them… because doesn’t everyone deserve to know that they are loved and thought of?

After each trip I would return home with tears in my eyes. These children need so little to make them happy… they didn’t need to hear a lot of wise words, or to have our Christian doctrines explained in minute detail; they didn’t need amazing gifts… they just wanted a friend; a friend who could give them the gift of time, attention, and love. And thinking about this is when I realized how much they need God’s love. Only His love can heal the scars that life has written upon their hearts, only His love can help them come to understand that they are not alone, that they have a Heavenly Father who is not indifferent to them or to their pain.

Every Christian should do something in their life for God. Some simply come to church once a week, and consider this enough. Still others don’t limit themselves to only this—they may sing in the choir. But I’ve come to understand that for myself, this type of serving is not enough. For some, these children will continue to remain as images on photographs, or the characters in someone else’s testimony, but for myself—they are entire lives and fates who are in need of the healing love of God.

Time flies by incredibly quickly, and every year I see the graduates of these orphanages standing on the threshold of their own independent lives, and I want each one to know that it is impossible to live a real life without God. The world around us is becoming crueler with each day, and I must do everything in my power so that these children do not feel alone during life’s hardest moments; so that instead of pain, their eyes would be filled with joy.

I must give them hope in a future with Jesus.

-Natasha I., (Belarus)

Plans for Christmas 2016

October 3rd, 2016

We’re getting ready to purchase tickets to Belarus for our Christmas trip this December. If you’re considering joining us, please contact Anatoly Kushnar about travel dates.

Please pray for us as we ready our Christmas program and raise funds to purchase presents for several thousand children!

Things that put a smile on a child’s face

September 12th, 2016

We will be packing and sending out a container to Belarus at the end of the month. Packing a container allows us to run our camps more efficiently, as we’re able to ship quite a lot via this method.

If you’d like to take part in our orphan ministry by donating items, the following articles are examples of things that we are always on the lookout for:

-Baseball caps
-Backpacks
-Key chains
-Journals
-Matchbox cars
-Headphones
-Watches
-Jewelry
-Small stuffed animals such as Beanie Babies
-Socks
-T-Shirts
-Small flashlights
-Art kits geared towards younger children
-Small towels (about the size of hand towels or slightly larger)
-Coloring books
-Sticker books

Small gifts (like matchbox cars, journals, Calico Critters) are always high in demand.

We’ll also gladly take items even after the container has been shipped.

Thank you and God bless!

2016 Reunion

August 23rd, 2016

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If you’ve ever traveled with us, if you’ve ever wanted to, but haven’t yet; if you’ve prayed, given, lent a hand; if you just have a heart for orphans and would like to spend a day getting to know other like-minded people, then please feel free to join us on Saturday, 9/24/16 @11am for a day of fellowship during our annual Hand in Hand Reunion.

Thank you!

August 23rd, 2016

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Hand in Hand 2016 Seminar

March 14th, 2016

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(Getting crafty at a previous seminar)

This year’s seminar will take place on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 12pm.

We normally host our seminar for those who will be joining us in the summer (or anyone interested in finding out more about our summer camp mission trips) on the Friday before our church’s annual youth conference. However, this year we decided to move it to Sunday. Lunch will be served following the morning service and we’ll proceed with the seminar afterwards. We’ll be discussing camp etiquette and rules, learning new songs, games and crafts, as well as familiarizing ourselves with this year’s program.

It’s a great opportunity to see what Hand in Hand is all about, as well as to get to know other like-minded individuals. We hope to see you there!

If you have an further questions, feel free to contact Anatoly at akushnar@yahoo.com

Bottle Drive 3.19.2016

March 9th, 2016

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We’ll be having a bottle drive on Saturday, March 19, 2016. If you have bottles or cans you’d like to donate, we’d be more than happy to arrange for someone to pick them up. Bottles and cans can also be dropped off at our church (Russian Baptist Church, 211 Mosher Rd., Gorham Maine), near the back doors.

All proceeds raised from this fundraiser will go towards summer camps for orphans. Thank you for your support!

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

October 20th, 2015

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Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yesterday is only accessible through our memories. For someone it is 10 years, for others it is 20, and still for others it is 30, 40 or perhaps even 80 years. We cannot return that time, or correct it, nor can we add to it. Tomorrow will always be tomorrow—technically, tomorrow will never become today. We will never be able to get there. Perhaps this all sounds rather odd, but only until we start to think these things over. Once we begin to think about it, we realize that we can’t simply say that time is merely “passing by”—because we realize that it is actually flying by.

I sometimes ask myself what I would like to do while I am still capable of actually doing something. When I receive a letter from someone asking me for help, I tell myself that I will get back to that letter tomorrow. And on the next day, that need becomes yesterday’s need.

I hope that someone will respond to today’s need today. How long can a child wait in an orphanage? Of course he will wait, he has no other choice. In fact, he’s gotten used to waiting; he’s been waiting for years.

Do you remember how we bought a van for Belarus? That was 11 years ago. And yet it feels as though it were only yesterday. Meanwhile, 11 years ago a little boy named Vanya was born. His mother had no use for him from the beginning, but she was talked into taking him home anyway. Perhaps her little son, her own flesh and blood, would be able to stop her downward spiral and help set her on a new path. Love, care, kindness, and tranquility surround Vanya’s peers, but Vanya had been dealt a different hand: hunger, coldness, alcoholism—this is what awaited Vanya at home.

How do we care for a new car? We watch over it and wash it and dry it. Every little scratch on its surface brings us a stab of pain. But is there anyone to care for Vanya like we care for one of our cars? …After years of torment Vanya finds himself in an orphanage. It’s not too bad there—it’s warm and he gets food everyday.

And all this time, Vanya is not daydreaming about a car. He has a different dream. He dreams about tomorrow…that tomorrow his mother will come, and maybe even his father. They’ll take him home with them and they’ll have a “new” Vanya. And they will love him and surround him with kindness. He’s only 11 years old—they’ll have enough time to shower him with much love.

But we see a different tomorrow: in our new car, with our new iPhone in hand, we pull up to our new house.

Not too long ago, I became frightened of a thought I had, wondering what I would remember tomorrow about yesterday. You can never compare the smell of a new car to a child’s gaze…

I know that tomorrow will come. This tomorrow will be dearer than all I had once held close before. In this tomorrow all of those things will no longer matter.

But I hope that I will see Vanya there. I hope that today someone will come to him; hug him, hold him close, tell him about God… tell him about tomorrow. And I hope that he will learn to believe in God, and in tomorrow. And that he will be able to forget all of the fear, resentment, and pain, and that God himself will wipe away his tears.

…And on that day, I will suddenly remember that car, and the pain will be so, so bitter. Because we won’t be able to turn back the clock. We won’t be able to change the past, nor will we be able to add anything to yesterday.

-A. Kushnar

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