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The congregation and pastor at the Woods Harbour Wesleyan Church have been going to extremes lately.
From a polar dip on a chilly February Sunday to getting slimed and kissing a llama, more than $1,200 has been raised since December to sponsor a 13 year old Ukrainian orphan, enabling her to live in a house of hope.
Shepherd’s Home, as it’s properly called, is a cause the Woods Harbour Wesleyan Church has been supporting for more than six years.
“There’s been a lot of things we’ve been able to supply them with over the years,” said Mary Hopkins, who, along with fellow parishioners, has taken part in three missions to the Ukraine.
Located in the city of Odessa, Hope House, as it’s also called, is home to 13 orphans, who are turned out from state orphanages once they reach 16. Most of them have never been to school and cannot read or write.
While a lot of the church’s fundraising efforts over the years have been to support the missions, “the last time we went we were able to outfit all the girls with new coats, boots, jeans shirts… it was just awesome,” said Hopkins.
Fundraising efforts have also supported the purchase of a stove, clothes washer, and other household accessories for Hope House, said Hopkins.
While in the Ukraine, the missionaries help out in numerous ways, said Hopkins, from manual labour around the home and in the garden, to interaction with the girls on a daily basis.
The team also spends time at First Step Centre, a drop-in centre for Odessa’s street children.
“It’s hard to go there,” said Hopkins.
It is estimated that more than 5,000 children live on the streets of Odessa, some as young as four, making it prime picking for human traffickers.
Both Shepherd’s Home and the First Step Centre are projects of World Hope.
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