Latvia: Bringing joy to children in need

By December 19, 2016

Latvia (MNN) — Though summer seems far away, a ministry is gearing up for summer camps in Latvia, which are to take place in June. Orphan’s Heart works with orphaned and vulnerable children all around the world, meeting the particular needs found in each region. God has grown their work in Latvia, turning a one-week summer camp into four.

(Photo courtesy of Orphan's Heart)

(Photo courtesy of Orphan’s Heart)

Alison Wilson of Orphan’s Heart says, “Orphan’s Heart typically works with orphans and vulnerable children at all of our ministry sites. We don’t mean for the name to be misleading, but often they’re considered a social orphan or a vulnerable child. So they may have at least one parent. That’s not a defining factor for the children we do or don’t work with. They don’t have to be a true double orphan for us to work with them.”

She explains that in Latvia, the orphanages are being phased out and the country relies more heavily on foster care programs. Many of the kids Orphan’s Heart works with in Latvia may have a parent, but their home life isn’t necessarily stable.

This summer program is a rare opportunity for children to enjoy summer camp. And better yet, they get to hear about Jesus — perhaps for the first time.

According to Orphan’s Heart, Latvia society struggles with things like drugs and alcohol. Along with sex-trafficking issues, Latvia houses one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

(Photo courtesy of Orphan's Heart)

(Photo courtesy of Orphan’s Heart)

“In Latvia, it’s very much a secular culture. For a lot of these children, they’re living in meager home environments, and so otherwise they would never get to experience a camp environment. This is a great way for us to be able to build relationships with these children and share the Gospel with them, first and foremost.”

Wilson says the camp is similar to what we have in the United States. It’s a day camp with games and crafts and sports. A national partner works in-country so these camps are made available to the kids who need it most. They receive a healthy meal each day as they visit. There are multiple opportunities to build into these children’s lives. But the impact isn’t just made in one week.

“We’re trying to connect them with an evangelical Church so that even when we’re not there during the summer, they’ll have a Christian locally in their community that can help continue to work with them and hopefully lead them to Christ one day.”

How you can help children in Latvia
(Photo courtesy of Orphan's Heart)

(Photo courtesy of Orphan’s Heart)

As they plan for the camps, Orphan’s Heart needs people who are interested in making a difference in Latvia. “We’re actually looking to send four interns this year to Latvia for four weeks to work to help us run this summer camp. There’ll be about 25 kids each week, so 100 kids overall for the month of June.”

Each week, they work with about kids aged eight to 12, and the ministry is truly transforming these young lives.

If you are interested in helping out, check it out, here. You have until February 1 to apply, so don’t wait!

In addition, there is a short-term mission trip coming up this summer. Click here to learn more.

Also, consider sponsoring a child through Orphan’s Heart. Sponsorship is available in a seven countries. Each sponsored child will have their specific needs met for only $35 a month.

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