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Hope for Children News November 2013 PO Box 576, Riga LV1050, Latvia, www.hope.lv, e-mail:hope@hope.lv, T.+371 67289646, Mob +371 27711245

..they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.' (Mat. 1:23) It’s hard to imagine great hardship and poverty in a European country that is well on its way out of the economic crisis of the past few years but beyond the veneer of Latvia’s city centres is a great deal of suffering for lack of elementary things like food, clothing, medicine and heat. An ever increasing flow of parents and children turning to us in need continues so we are very grateful that at the same time you, our faithful friends and sponsors, continue to send our ministry support and place things in our hands to give to the most needy. During the next year, when from January 2014 Latvia changes its currency to euros, it seems it’s only going to get tougher for the poor. While many companies have agreed to not increase prices on the day when lats are changed to euros it’s evident that prices are increasing already before the event. Once again thank you to all of you who have supported us thus far, whether it be prayerfully or materially and for standing with all the children and families we are committed to serving during this difficult time. Helen M Vipass Chair

Family Support While Eva, our former head of family support, continues to lead seminars on psychological issues and parenting, Kristine has become our new family support department head and writes: “Every day we meet families who have come into difficulties, big or not so big. Mums, dads and children come for clothes, shoes, food, help with medicine etc. all everyday things that other families take for granted but which our families cannot afford. The families are very varied, some shy, others demanding but all with their own needs. In the waiting area we often see a pair of eyes full of desperation - it’s not easy to be in need and even harder to ask for help. Ieva, a mum of two, also one day came to us for help. She was very afraid, sad and shy when she came into the centre looking around as if searching for someone and when she found out she would have to wait a while she wanted to leave because she was so frightened and nervous. She then couldn’t decide what to choose for the children taking a long time to decide on which clothes to take for them. When Ieva came into the office she hesitantly told her life story and present difficulties asking for help. When she heard an affirming reply she was quiet for some time then began to cry with relief saying ‘ I didn’t believe that you would help me since up to now I’ve had only refusals everywhere’. In truth so little is needed so you can be heard, understood and feel important to someone. After about a week Ieva came looking completely different, her eyes shone, she smiled and was happy. She was able to quickly select the things she needed for her children, said thank you and left happy. All that had been needed for change to come into Ieva’s and her children’s life was one conversation, a helping hand and a shoulder to lean on.”

November 11th this year we again distributed a whole load of winter clothing donated by school children and adults in Sweden. It’s become quite a yearly tradition and brings enormous relief to those who can barely feed their family let alone afford themselves warm winter jackets and boots. During the year we help some 300+ families with clothing as well as our day centre children.


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Day Centres

SKRUNDA Our day centre for children in Skrunda is always such a delight to visit, it's so warm, cosy and friendly and has a truly family atmosphere. So far this year some 12 new children have started to come to us and we get up to 28 kids a day; all of them are not only poverty-stricken but also suffer neglect, if not worse, and in most cases have parents who drink heavily. One little boy who was too shy to come into the centre himself was helped by the other kids who ran to get the centre head when they saw him waiting outside so she could coax him in. He's was too shy to sit at the table and eat with the other kids and was evidently teased because his parents dressed him in any clothes they can get hold of even if they were girly. Another of the new boys came in trousers too short for him and wearing old ladies boots and one of the girls who has to take care of her younger siblings shared about how very afraid she is when her parents drink and fight. Others were found on the street hungrily picking up sausages thrown out to the dogs and cleaning them to eat. They are each of them so precious and we're so glad that we can give them some of the comfort, love, attention and provisions they need as well as many fun times.

Bolderaya On their return to school our Bolderaya day centre kids received a lot of praise from their teachers. Being generally behind in their studies staff had to be very creative to get the kids to prepare for school during the summer holidays but they came up with a fun idea of three stations around the centre where they had to work at a task for 20 minutes before the whistle blew and they moved on to another station. Small tasks in math, reading & writing, craft and English were not too tough or too long to stomach and the kids learnt quite a lot while finding it fun. One day Ieva, 9 yrs, was asked how many people lived in her two-room (onebedroom) flat where the electricity is cut off and there's no hot water. She began to count mum, new dad, baby brother, sister, grandma, uncle..... and came to nine people. When asked where she sleeps at night she said that she and her sister sleep on the floor on a blanket since there are no mattresses. Needless to say she really loves to come to our centre and was really happy when we delivered a mattress to her home for her.


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Karosta (Liepaya) Staff and kids are so very happy with their new kitchen and dining hall where up to 60 kids a day get a good meal. For many of them it’s the only meal they’ll get that day. Thank you to all those who contributed to making this happen.

Like many of the hurting children that come to Karosta day centre, Denis’s behaviour was very difficult to handle, even described as very wild, but after two years of much patience and prayer, after endless times of resisting excluding him, Denis has changed beyond recognition becoming much more polite and obedient. It takes enormous emotional energy but the joy of seeing such troubled kids becoming more and more whole is what inspires Tanya and her team to never give up. Sadly the number of children wanting and needing the help of the centre is too many and sometimes one place has to be split between two kids who come two or three times a week instead of five. With the closure of a large metal works in Liepaja over 1500 jobs are to be lost over the next months and we need to do all we can to provide more help in the next year.

It gives us great joy to be able to send children on a holiday when they could never otherwise get a break away. Thanks to your help more than 50 kids get to go to camp this summer, six of them even to Sweden. They were so happy and grateful!!!

Thanks to your support our day centre kids, over a hundred of them, have had a great start back at school. We kitted them out not only with a bag full of all the materials they need for study but also with smart clothes and new shoes.


HOPE FOR CHILDREN NEWS

Veronika joined us as a children’s worker at our Bolderaya day care centre in February this year and writes why she wished to join our team and ministry: “I wished to work with children from problem families because, based on my own faith and experience, I know that these children have such hope in Christ and I wanted to see the situations they were in changing. I wanted to give them love and care and also share about God’s love for them. I care about these children because I myself am from a problem family and can really understand them and how they feel. Working with these children I can see how very much they are starved of attention and care, and I’m often saddened to see how their life circumstances hinder their development. It’s not easy for these children to study since they are not used to being diligent and disciplined therefore I try to teach them these things. Every time a child receives praise for his school work it gives me such great joy and satisfaction! Also my heart is full of joy when a child who was closed to us, locked up inside, begins to open up and share about his or her feelings and worries since I know that for kids from troubled families this is hard to do. My children in Bolderaya are full of love and hope and pray with trust that their situations will change. Over the past months I’ve been particularly glad for Raivis, Gvido, Andrei and Patricia’s success in school, it’s caused them also to behave better in school and in this I see real fruit from our work!”

Although it's true that the economy is picking up in Latvia, recent statistics show that we still have an increasing number of families in crisis. During the first half of this year 39.5% more children and parents used Riga's crisis shelters than during the same period last year and the present demand for shelter remains greater than the number of beds available. In addition physical and emotional abuse in the family has significantly increased this year, as has the number of children being removed from their family and placed in State care. This is why our work is so vital at this time and why we must try to increase the number of children we reach with practical care. Towards this end we have already increased our team working in the family support department and really hope that within the next year we can start a new joint project with a church in the town of Jelgava. In addition we are hoping and praying that we will be able to find and purchase larger premises for our Bolderaya Day centre as well as complete work on a summer camp base.

How you can help Bank transfers (in any currency) can be made to our bank in Latvia: SEB Banka SWIFT: UNLALV2X Account name: Hope for Children IBAN: LV93UNLA0002005469960 Hope for Children has also a separate account for Karosta Day Centre: Swedbank SWIFT: HABALV22 Account name: Hope for Children

IBAN: LV73HABA0551028726611 We have also recently opened a PayPal account. You can donate through PayPal using our e-mail: hope@hope.lv. If you are a tax payer living in the UK we are able to recover tax on your gift. Please contact us by mail or email (addresses at the head of this letter) and we will send you the relevant information.

We never undervalue your prayers. If you would like to receive our prayer bulletins please do contact us.


Newsletter november 2013