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July Newsletter

July 12, 2022

Dear Friend,

We are witnessing the faithfulness of God daily while caring for children and families in crisis and doing our small part to help care for Ukrainian refugees and to send food to those in need within Ukraine. My last newsletter went out in March, so this letter will contain news from April, May, and June.

When the war in Ukraine first broke out, fear surrounded our children and staff. Memories of Soviet occupation flooded minds, and children without the safety of a family, they trembled at the news of missiles, bombs, and death. We prayed and prepared for a possible invasion of Latvia, and we pushed back against fear. And then God gave an assignment that gave us a small part to play in the war effort!

We were asked to house refugees, and together, we acted. The Sparrow’s Nest family consolidated into two of our homes, leaving the third available to house Ukrainian children. As we waited for the right placement of children, there was an immediate need to assist transit groups coming through the “safe corridor” offered by Russia. In all, we have housed 47 refugees from one to seven nights. Each had their own stories, their own destination to reach. We helped with transport, clothing, food, and toiletries.

The attached photo shows three young refugees (with Inga, our Latvian director) who were with us for a week before travelling on to France where they had distant relatives. Two of these young men are brothers who lost contact with their father when fighting broke out in their region of Mariupol. They were extremely grateful for a safe place to stay and assistance with travel arrangements and ticket purchase.

After receiving our second group of transit refugees, we were asked to care for nine Ukrainian orphans assigned to a foster family. The woman seated in the center is the Ukrainian foster mom. Her husband is traveling back and forth to bring aid to Ukraine. The other couple pictured holding the smallest child are her sister and brother-in-law who fled Ukraine and are staying with the foster mom to help with the children while her husband is shuttling aid. With fourteen total refugees in the home, nine of them orphaned children in foster care, the house is quite packed, but they are very grateful for a place to stay that is similar in size to where they lived in Ukraine.

We now have a routine that allows us to share our small play area, and all the children are getting along well. The Sparrow’s Nest is providing financial assistance as needed, especially as the Latvian government terminated many assistance programs on July 1, 2022.

Our primary work with children in Latvia continues with three new children having

arrived since my last report. Sixteen-year-old Evelina arrived after abuse in the foster care system. We are getting to know each other and helping her with decisions about education, health, and the criminal case regarding the abuse she suffered while in a foster home. Evelina is interested in art and design work and will be going to 9th grade in the fall. If you are interested in becoming a support family for Evelina, please contact:

Brothers Dominiks and Kristofers joined us in early May. Only four and two years old, the boys have both been diagnosed with Autism and developmental delay. These two special boys keep our care workers busy every waking moment! We are taking crash courses in Autism therapy and shopping for an old-fashioned child harness so that we can keep them both safe on walks. Each new challenge causes us to grow and reach further than we thought possible.

On a personal note, my son Maksim, adopted from the Sparrow’s Nest in 2001, got married in May. At his wedding were thirteen children who were also adopted from the Sparrow’s Nest. These special guests celebrated an impromptu reunion, sharing stories and a photograph together. We are thankful for the enduring friendships and connections within the Sparrow’s Nest family.

This summer we celebrate 15 years in what we still call, “our new building!” Made up of four attached homes, it has given us the ability to match caregivers and children and to ensure safety and quality care for children aged birth through eighteen. We are planning to repaint and repair the exterior of the building this fall or early next spring depending on funds. If you would like to be a part of this special project, look for details on our current needs list.

Lives saved, lives changed, forever families built…thank you for your partnership in the generational work of the Sparrow’s Nest. We are grateful and give God all the glory—He has done great things!

With love in Christ,

Alissa Stemple

The Sparrow’s Nest Needs List . . .

Special Prayer

• International adoption from Latvia closed on July 1, 2022. Please join us in prayer for our six children who are available for adoption. Pray for Latvian families who can rise and answer the call to adopt or become permanent guardians.

• We are seeking new staff members—two daytime care workers, and one bookkeeper/secretary. Each of these positions is vital, and we need the new workers ASAP.

• Please continue to pray for Ukraine! It is easy to forget or feel like it is yesterday’s news. Today, people are dying in the war, and those who can are still fleeing for their lives. Please pray for provision and pray for those who are risking their lives to provide food and other vital needs.

Special Projects/Material Needs

• The painting and repairing of the exterior of our building—$12,000.00 USD. This figure includes: paint, supplies, scaffolding rental, and volunteer team housing and meals. This price is modest compared with the lowest bid of $35,000.00 USD we received from Latvian companies.

• Zero-turn lawnmower—$6,200.00 USD. We mow close to six acres at our farm. Our current Husqvarna lawn tractor’s blade shaft has snapped in two and the resulting damage is extensive. Zero-turn lawnmowers have just become available in Latvia and would cut our mowing time in half, giving more time for attention and care of the children.

• Additional designated funds are needed for the support of Ukrainian refugees and supplies. This fund is separate from our regular operating budget. Any amount is appreciated.

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