"In Latvia, the most northerly nation we are involved with the temperature has been minus 27 degrees at times, and many of the younger orphans have been ill. The orphanages are spread out right across this snowbound nation and our teams have had difficulty reaching them at times as the snow is about four feet deep," explained David Smethurst. "These children have shown such a creative drive combined with their shining faith in God that will lift them to be leaders in their countries. We are seeing that already with the older children, after supporting them for 17 years."
He went on to explain that the economy in Eastern Europe has always been tough but it's even tougher now. The local governments don't have a high priority about supporting orphanages.
But he is optimistic about the future of these children. Out of the 87 young students attending his Bible College, 27 of them are from the orphanage that his ministry has been supporting. David Smethurst is jubilant that they are 'on fire' for Jesus and training to serve Him in ministry somewhere in Eastern Europe. Next month, the plan is to follow up the Bible College studies with work-related courses to enable these young adults to get jobs in this difficult economic time.
"In the Ukraine, the nine orphanages we support in the greater Odessa region are struggling along in the snows and cold weather," Rev Smethurst continued. "We fed 104 children this winter, although my teams have been hampered by deep snows in some areas."
The Homeless Children's Center in Odessa is crowded with great children and teenagers most of whom are involved in the local Ukrainian Central Evangelical Church. He asks readers to pray with him for the continuation of the renovations that have been going well so far, and also for the ministry to be able to keep supplying warm clothing for the children.
The education needs of the children are, of course, the most important component of his ministries. Because the local governments have been closing the schools near the orphanages, he has been able to pay some of the unemployed teachers in the needy areas to come in and do home schooling at the orphanages.
Here, too, many of the children are sick due to the extreme cold, and the local teams associated with David Smethurst Ministries visit regularly and supply bibles and fruit for the children and conduct outreaches to support both staff and orphans. The transport costs are high but it is worth it for these needy children to have a chance to do something fruitful with their lives
For example, he reports that his local team is doing a great job with the follow up program in the four orphanages in the Zhitomar region, 100 miles west of Kiev, the capital. Many of these children are either deaf or physically and mentally handicapped, and are receiving an educational type of therapy through art and crafts They children have performed wonderful Christmas concerts and had enjoyable meals during the holiday season. So many gave their hearts to Jesus.
"Please pray and stand with us as we endeavour to meet these needs," David Smethurst concludes. "God's blessing upon the seeds sown into these needy young lives reaps harvests of blessings, provision and answers to prayers beyond our wildest dreams."
To join a David Smethurst Ministries European orphanage mission trip: firstname.lastname@example.org