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2008 - November/December PDF Print E-mail
239 Duke Road
Columbia, Louisiana 71418
(318) 649-7720
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Hello again to all! The end of the year has wound to an end, and we’ve
now officially begun the New Year here in Ukraine when we arrived back
from the good ‘ole USA on January 8th. It was a long flight to get to
Ukrainian soil, and once we got to the airport, things were looking well
until we realized one of Caleb’s suitcases hadn’t arrived with us. We had
to go through the long process of standing in line to report it lost,
only to be told that it should have already been there according to the
tracking on the computer system. Well, that set everyone’s mind to
wondering if maybe someone had picked up the wrong one since all our
others were there.
The long wait in the airport is always quite a bore, but we did see one
American man from Texas and another one we met from New Orleans. Caleb’s
LSU hats seem to always lure our Southern neighbors to speak. He was a
really nice guy who once served as an interpreter in Ukraine, and was
coming back to visit. We had already met another man in Amsterdam who had
also seen Caleb’s hat. I think he was from somewhere in the Northern
states, but he was going to Ukraine for some kind of competition. It’s
interesting how many Americans are actually visiting Ukraine now. My
daughter and I even met a girl from Jena, Louisiana whose mother had
once, through the foreign exchange program, housed a Ukrainian girl from
Kiev who married a man from the US and is now living in Texas. I am
amazed at how small our world is quickly becoming. Travel is so much
easier, and people think nothing of going from one side of the world to
the other. Anyway, the suitcase arrived in only a couple of days, and
Caleb was sure happy to have his stash of American candy he brings with
him every trip.
It would’ve been nice to get home and take a good, hot shower that first
night, but instead we got home to no running water in our house. My mom
had been worried for us about that, afraid the pipes would freeze while
we were away like they did the year before. She suggested we need to
leave our water running. She’s used to the 20 degree F freezing
temperatures instead of the 20 below 0 F temps. (Ha! Ha!) If she could
just see the way the moving water in the little river close to our home
will freeze in the process of falling down the small ravine, she’d
understand that it’s almost no stopping the water from freezing in the
pipes, no matter how much might be running through them. Shane just
assumed that last year was only a freak thing with little snow and
plummeting temps. People had told us that if the snow is not thick on the
ground, then there is little insulation from the extreme cold temps, and
that might be the reason for the frozen pipes. The first year we arrived,
the temps were extremely cold for weeks, but our pipes never froze all
year, yet there was also plenty of snow before the cold came. When last
April came and the lines thawed, Shane just fixed them, and left them in
the ground the same instead of digging them up and planting them deeper.
He assumed that the same thing wouldn’t happen all over again. I suppose
either his assumption was wrong, or the people’s idea about the snow
being such a wonderful insulator is not so wonderful after all. I just
figure it’s a combination of everything happening wrong--the lines are
too shallow, the extreme freeze came too early before a good blanket of
snow was covering the ground for insulation, and we also weren’t using
the water so that it would be continually flowing through the pipes. So
be it! We’ve started our normal routine of carrying the water from the
well to the buckets and barrels in our house, keeping a couple of
electric hot plates warming pots of water in the bathroom and the
kitchen, and wearing our clothes until they obviously are smelly and
dirty! It’s not such a bad life after all. I believe that we’ve gained
character for ourselves and respect for our village families who struggle
every day with not only the chore of getting water from the wells for
daily living, but also have no plumbing inside their houses. Almost none
have indoor sinks, bathtubs, or even toilets. When I think of their
circumstances, I realize that ours so far isn’t bad in comparison to

Hope For Orphans of the World sponsored the Belerechinka orphanage for
Christmas this year again. They gave funds to buy goodies and fun stuff
for the kids to play with. We’ve been told that this orphanage is one of
the poorest in Ukraine. The kids sure appreciate the nice gifts they get
for Christmas.
Because we were to go back to the US last year for almost all of
Christmas and the New Year, we purchased most of the gifts for the
children early, and then put it all together for our Ukrainian/American
friends and team to take to them close to Christmas time. I think the
kids were happy with what they received. The group wanted to possibly
give them a TV/DVD player, but the teachers said it wasn't needed so
instead we bought lots of nice kid’s movies, books, and fun games for
them to play during the cold months of the winter. For each child, we
purchased a towel, wash cloth, candy, fruit, and a picture album to be
given in a pretty Christmas bag. I fixed it all up and instructed the
team about which bags to give to boys and girls, and what went to the
orphanage as a whole. Not all of the same kids are at the orphanage since
at least four of them have recently been adopted by families from
America, and some have been taken in as foster by Ukrainian families. We
thank God for the wonderful blessing the Hope for Orphans of the World
Ministry has been to these little ones.
After the Fall camp sponsored by Hope for Orphans, some of the group have
also become interested in a family that we have visited and checked on
for over two years now. It is a long story about how this family became a
part of our ministry. We are so thankful for the commitment from our
friends from Columbia, Louisiana and now from Alabama to help this
The first year we arrived in Ukraine, Mary and two of her American
friends, Marie and Gabby McDonald, decided they wanted to try a ministry
at the small hospital in Lutugino not far from where we live. We had
visited and saw the precious little babies who were left there for
different reasons. They asked the head doctor if it would be possible to
visit and help with the work for these babies, so for a few months, they
rocked the babies. Two of them were little twin baby boys. When I wrote
the newsletter one month, I mentioned that Mary was doing this ministry,
and had been rocking some sweet twin baby boys.
A friend we went to school with who has been a great blessing to us in
the ministry had read the newsletter, and after reading about the twins,
she could not stop thinking about them. She began to pray for these
babies, and soon she wrote to ask us about the boys. At that time, we
knew very little, and wasn’t sure whether it was legal to seek
information about children from the hospital. We were later told that the
boys had been taken to an orphanage, and might be available for adoption,
so when I told this family friend, they had great interest in adopting
them, if it were ever possible. They visited us in Ukraine, but at that
time we found out that the mother had actually arrived to take the boys
home with her before they were ever taken to an orphanage. We visited
with this family, met with them, and talked with them. This lady also had
several other small children and we later heard that she herself had also
grown up in an orphanage, and possibly had little help from family.
After this meeting, our friends committed to help this lady with any
needs she might have. Over the months, we weren’t sure just how deep or
how far that commitment was meant to be, but we have learned since then
that they wanted to do for them far more than we had realized. We have
tried to keep up with them as much as possible, and be sure they have the
things they need through this precious couple.
During the Fall camp, some of the members of the Hope For Orphans Fall
camp were taken to be introduced to this family as well, and now, some of
these good people have now committed to give financially for this
family’s needs as well. She had told us at that time that someone had
come into their home while they had been gone and stolen everything they
had. That wouldn’t be unusual here in Ukraine, but we don’t really know
that to be true. There are other possibilities of what could have
I don’t always understand God’s method or reasons for what He does, but I
do believe that God has a good purpose for His people. I also believe
that people can find favor in God’s eyes so that He moves on people’s
hearts to help them, preparing them for His service in their lives. I
pray that God will be with these little ones in that home, and protect
and guide them as they grow up and mature.
Because of these sponsors, we have been able to buy wall paper supplies,
kitchen and house supplies, cleaning supplies, blankets, sheets, towels
and wash cloths, toys, and food, and we hope to purchase some rugs and
other things to make the home nicer. Right now, she is having a tough
time keeping things clean while taking care of six little ones. Sometimes
the kids are in and out of the hospital with different illnesses, and
because she has almost no help, it is hard for her to even go to the
hospital to see them. For a while, she had a lady that she called her
mother helping her, but this lady fell on the heater and burned herself
so badly that she is now unable to help. In fact, she is in serious
She asked could we help her put the wallpaper up in her home since she
had almost no help, so we got our team together. We could only get two or
three of them other than Shane, Caleb, and myself to work there because
most said they just couldn’t stand the smell of the home. Vitalik,
“Trevor” Vitalik, and a girl we met in youth camp named Helen were
willing to help us. The lady had already put some of the paper up
beforehand with someone she calls her husband, although we’ve never met
this man before. In Ukraine, people sometimes refer to boyfriends as
husbands or fathers. We spent a day there working, and then went back
later to help her finish the work, but she had already done it with her
sister. It was good to hear that she had some family to help her. It
could have been her cousin instead of sister since Ukrainians also call
their cousins sisters as well, or even sometimes their good friends. She
had some bad news though! She told us that someone was pushing to take
the house away from her. We figured it might have been because she had
fixed it up a little bit better. “Trevor” Vitalic had found some
humanitarian aid beds from his church in Lugansk, so he and Alec took
several of these little beds along with some camp mattresses so that they
would all have a better place to sleep. One bed she had laying on the
floor wasn’t fit for even the dogs to be sleeping on, but it was all she
had. We were glad to know that the little ones would at least have a
better place to sleep now.
Once we arrived back in Ukraine in January, we were told that the little
twin boys had been in the hospital, but when Shane checked on the family,
they were again “bebopping” around in the house. I don’t know for sure
what will happen with this family, but we will continue to try to help
them. When Shane arrived, others were there also to check on the family.
They were a humanitarian aid ministry from America, and had been
introduced to the family by some American missionaries we know, the
Ferdon's. He had gone with “Trevor” (he is a young man we sponsor to do
mission work with the orphans) one day to find out about an old couch to
possibly take to them in his van to be used for sitting and sleeping, but
just as Shane had suspected, it was broken down and not in good enough
condition for what they needed. Trevor is now visiting with this family
each week to do Bible studies with them.
Please pray for this little family. It seems God has favored them, and we
pray that He will continue to bless them and bring others into their path
so that they might possibly by able to remain together as a family. They
all seem to love one another, and especially one of the little girls,
after spending some time in the local hospital and being around some
other Christian witnesses there, is now asking lots of Bible questions
and desires to know more and more about God. We will be inviting the
older kids to the camps during the summer, and we pray that they will be
affected by the power of our Almighty God. May God richly bless them.

Before we left to go back to the US, we tried to tie up all the loose
ends in Ukraine, and prepare everyone for our departure. One thing we’ve
been working on for quite some time now is the electric problems at the
little orphanage in our village. At one time, this home had Christian
sponsorship, and was considered a Christian orphanage, but the founder
eventually returned to America and completely stopped support. After much
effort and some other American sponsors, the people were able to transfer
this home to the state, and it is now being operated through state
budget. But…the electric is still attached to the camp. Because the camp
is charged on commercial rates, this expense can be very high. We have
worked for months with “empty” promises from the orphanage director and
others to get their own electric system hooked up and going by certain
dates. We finally unhooked it during the summer months while the children
were away, and told the home that they must find a way to get this
electric problem solved. Not only do we feel it needs to be the
responsibility of the state, but the coal mine which is responsible for
the camp also said that this line to the orphanage needs to be taken off
as well. We were given another written promise from the electric company
to have it completed sometime in December after we were in America, and
we thought the problem had finally been solved, but after only two days
of being on their own transformer, they had transformer problems, so they
had to be re-attached to the camp electric for a few days more. Shane
gave them permission to use the camp electric in cases of emergency. For
now, the orphanage is on their own transformer again, and we have noticed
that their lights are burning dim as now they are very careful of their
electric usage. We are told that State budgets are low for orphanages,
and they are given only a certain amount for each expense.
We were home during almost the whole month of December, and because Shane
had never been able to go home just for a normal visit without all the
responsibilities of traveling around the country to report about the
work, we decided to make this time a vacation with our kids. Mary will be
going off to college this Fall, and Caleb will be leaving Ukraine to go
back to school in the US, so we needed some time with them. Shane and
Caleb planned a trip to ride four-wheelers in a place set aside just for
that, but when they got home, the four-wheeler was still broken down. The
first few days, Shane was bored and miserable. He’s not accustomed to
getting a lot of rest. I finally told him that he needed to stop
complaining because he was making me miserable as well, and it didn’t
bother me to have almost nothing planned to do. Besides, it was Christmas
time, and there was way too much to do that time of year to really get
completely bored. We didn’t plan to spend much money, but you know how
that goes. It didn’t take but a couple of trips to the mall, and I’d
already blown my budget.
Shane and Caleb finally got to take their four-wheeler trip, and Mary and
I spent some time shopping and visiting. We were also able to visit with
my brother’s family that we hadn’t even seen in probably two years. It
was amazing to see how grown up his son is, and how much he looks and
acts like his daddy. The only two on that side of the family we missed
getting to see were Daniel and David, his oldest two sons. It was so good
to be able to spend just a little bit of time with everyone without the
worry of trying to get ministry business done as well.

We didn’t plan any times for going to churches to speak, but we did visit
a few churches that support the ministry while we were home. If given an
opportunity, Shane would speak only for a few minutes, but nothing was
organized or planned. We really enjoyed the time we spent at the
different churches, listening to some of the Christmas cantatas and
hearing the different sermons from the pastors. It was a much needed time
of rest and recuperation by just simply relaxing and hearing a Word from
God at the places we visited. We also had our yearly board meeting before
coming home. It was obvious the last few days that Shane’s body and mind
had finally wound down, and by the time we were getting ready to return
to Ukraine, he was finally able to get some much needed rest. He got a
few better nights of sleep, and then it was time to start all over again.
When we returned to Ukraine, we walked into our house that first night to
find a cute little Christmas tree in a nice vase all decorated pretty
with fruit and candy laying all around underneath it sitting on our
table. I think that was probably one of the sweetest surprises we’ve ever
had. That fruit and candy was a life-saver for us that night because we
had only eaten a few cheese crackers I had brought and didn’t worry with
eating supper at the airport, and we were really hungry by the time we
got back home. There was a card in the middle of the fruit that wished us
a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the church group. That made our
arrival a lot more special than just coming home to a cold, empty house.
Thank you, Annya and the gang! We love you all!
The next day, we had lots of visitors in person and by telephone. Alec
had picked us up the night before at the airport, and he was back again
pretty early the next morning. We hadn’t even realized it was actually
his birthday that very day. Bro. Robin Causey, his sponsor from America,
actually told us about that by telephone! Bro. Robin had sent a nice
Rosetta Stone program for him to begin learning English since he wants to
learn it, and may possibly some day visit America, and would like to
eventually take some Bible courses which would be in English. Alec and
his family have also been blessed with the purchase of a small house
which came up for sale recently. Alec has begun a little mission in a
nearby village on his own, and now he is trying to start a Bible study
group in his own home with some of his family and friends. Please pray
for Alec, and especially for his family and for the decisions they will
be making for their future.
We heard from Trevor, Eugene, Annya, Vika, and David by telephone. David
had been staying at Brian’s house alone in the city, and he was looking
for a way back to the village. We were really tired, but it was nice to
know that everyone missed us. Trevor had invited us to come to the
orphanage in our village to visit with the team that came from America
and were ministering there. We were just too tired to visit anymore that
day. Vitalik and Nick came to visit soon after, and then we all settled
in for a quiet evening. Early the next morning, we had visitors about the
camp, and then Shane had to make a run to town to prepare us for the
“water crisis” and soon-to-be food crisis, so he didn’t make it back home
until later that day. He got needed supplies and brought David back out.
Then our American missionary friends also came to visit that evening and
ending up staying until late. We had a good visit, but it was so nice to
finally hit the sack for another good night’s sleep.
On Sunday, we missed having Annya, Jack, Anton, Forrest and family, and a
few others at church in the city. They were still busy with the
humanitarian team working in another place that morning. Vitalik, Yuri,
and Alec led in music and Shane preached with Eugene interpreting. We had
a sweet spirit in church that morning, and then we all piled into the
jeep to go to the village. We stopped to pick up some kind of balogna
type meat, cheese, tomatoes, onions, and bread for dinner at our home. We
enjoyed the left-over soup and sandwiches.

Village church starts in the village during winter months early, so it
wasn’t long before time to go again. We were pleasantly surprised at the
number and sweet spirit of those who came there. There were six ministry
team members there, the three deaf members of Alec’s group who came to
visit with him, and also about 10 others from our village. We are so
encouraged the last few months with the attendance and spirit of our
village. For a while, we had become extremely discouraged, and almost
felt that we needed to divert our efforts toward a different place. Now,
it seems that God may possibly be moving in the hearts of our people, and
that He may be gradually building a good foundation of believers.
We have almost gotten back to normal routine after a few days of
unpacking and getting things settled back into place. Caleb is working on
school and preparing for re-entry into public school in the Fall. Shane
and I are starting the Tuesday night Bible studies and English Classes
again this week, January 13th, and David says he is preparing to make a
type of memory book of his stay in Ukraine when he goes home at the end
of April. I had planned to write some simple memory pages for all of my
own family at Christmas time, but after getting started, a few pages
turned into many. Caleb was only twelve and Mary only fourteen when we
left to come to Ukraine. Because I felt like our family has missed out on
a lot of experiences in our lives for the last few years, I wanted to
give them this special gift. Soon, Shane and I will be left in Ukraine
alone! We’ve never been in a hurry to push our kids out the door, and I
have had a really hard time since Mary left, so I can imagine how it will
feel when Caleb is gone as well. Please pray for our children as they
both go to school in the US to prepare for their futures.

CAMP ONE: June 13 - 17 (Led by Servant Life from Alabama)
CAMP TWO: July 4 - 18 (Led by North Monroe Baptist Church)
CAMP THREE: July 25 - August 8
YOUTH CAMP: August 9 - 15 (Led by Bro. Jay Morgan from Louisiana)
FALL ORPHAN CAMP: Will be set most likely for some time at the end of
October, depending on the time of the school vacations. (Will be directed
by Servant Life/Hope for Orphans of the World)


If you email us at the address at the top of this newsletter, we can give

you information you will need, or we will put you in contact with team
captains for the camp you desire to serve in.

We ask that anyone who is willing to sponsor children to attend the camps

to do so early. The cost is approximately $150 per child for each camp,
and all of them are allowed to come for free.

God Bless You All!
Keep Pressing On!
Shane, Marilyn, Mary, and Caleb Duke
Crossover Ministries Associates
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 January 2009 )
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