Samaritan Ministries in Ukraine

Sharing God’s Gifts

“Cleaning out the gutters of Vira’s house meant a lot to us,” shared two teenage boys. “It showed us that even as students, we have the ability to share the gifts we have with others. It’s a way to show love and respect.”

Over the Christmas break, SMU held a winter camp for teens called “Gifted”. Held at the Pulyny Community Center, the camp helped teenagers discover their own strengths, gifts, and talents while learning to share God’s gifts.

“Gifts are often associated with something material you give someone you love but God gave us gifts to use and share with others,” said Nadiya Siryk.

The teens brainstormed how they could help others using their gifts of support, love, attention, advice, help and time and decided to help widows. They prepared Christmas cards, decorations, and a short performance for them.

One of the local widows, Vira, donated a plant that she had grown for more than 40 years. Vira is 85 and in poor health. “It is very difficult for a widow to take care of herself and her home. Despite this, she smiles and jokes, and looks happy,” shared Katia Lavrenchuck, administrative assistant to Nadiya. Some boys from the camp were willing to help bring the large plant to the center. The teens, however, wanted to do something additional for Vira and cleaned the gutters of her house that were blocked with leaves.

“We were helping an old lady clean her gutters so that there wouldn’t be ice in front of the door. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for her to go out on icy steps,” said Dequan Zhu, Peace Corps volunteer. “Helping others is a great experience and an easy way to impact the community.”

Afterwards, the teens carried the plant back to the center – along with new ideas of how they could share their gifts in the future. Both Vira and the teens received the gift of love and meaning from the sharing of their own gifts.

A big thanks to our supporters who have shared the gifts God has given them to support the development of gifts and giving in Ukraine through SMU.