June 25, 2008

Day with Ukrainian Orphans

Filed under: Daily Life, Dawson, Prayer Requests — Tags: , , — jodygambrell @ 11:12 am

The Rec staff at Dawson has been praying about a service project to do together as a staff for the last few months.  Mandy found out about an organization called Reach Orphans with Hope.  Reach Orphans with Hope is a non-profit organization established by Valerie Hall, wife of Randy Hall of Student Life.  Each summer, Valerie and Randy open up their home to orphans from Ukraine.  While they are here, the orphans get dental and medical attention, meet all kinds of people, go on amazing trips, and most importantly, they get to experience unconditional love.  

Our rec staff hosted these Ukrainian orphans yesterday (Tuesday).  The orphans, translators, and some awesome volunteers met us at the Birmingham Zoo.  The kids had a great time.  Within 5 minutes, I had fallen in love with them…especially a little 9 year old girl named Vika (pictured above).  

After the zoo trip, we came back to the Family Rec Center for lunch prepared by Mandy and Nancey and a few other volunteers.  We ate sandwiches (with lots of ketchup) and other goodies.  When lunch was over, we watched the movie, Spirit, which was recommended to us by Valerie.  Even though there was a language barrier, the kids seemed to really enjoy the movie.  I can’t imagine American kids being that still and attentive to a movie.  They hardly moved.

After a short nap, we had free time in the gym and then we departed for the Legg’s house for a hamburger and hotdog cookout.  We said our goodbyes after dinner.  I tried to convince Jaime to hide Vika in the car but she convinced me that I would probably get in trouble.  It was an awesome day.  I have posted several pictures from the day to my Facebook page.  Check ’em out.

The orphans’ schedule and itinerary for their trip to the States can be found here.  If you live in the Birmingham area, I would encourage you to check out the itinerary and pay these special kids a visit.  The Hall’s have a very cool thing going on with this ministry.  My eyes have been opened to the many needs of the orphans in Ukraine.  God has placed a burden for them on my heart.  I would ask you to pray for them as well.  



  1. Hey Jody –
    We’ve been over at the Hall’s a bit over the past week. Our first time doing it and our eyes have been opened as well. Tell you what, yall can have Vika – we’ll take little Vlad and Artem!
    Awesome ministry they have – sounds like you guys added even more to their time here.

    Comment by Brian Massey — June 25, 2008 @ 11:35 am

  2. Awesome, sounds like a deal to me!

    Comment by jodygambrell — June 25, 2008 @ 11:43 am

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