Programs and Camps
Little Lambs Summer Camps
Every Summer since 1992, Little Lambs has been sending American volunteers to work alongside local nationals in Ukraine and provide loving care and Christ-centered programs to orphaned and abandoned children. Each camp program is two to four weeks long and offers a chance for children aged 5-18, to learn Bible lessons and English, to participate in sports and games, and to enjoy arts and crafts. Most of the camps are being held in the Government run orphanages and it is truly a unique experience for thousands of orphans and our volunteers alike.
If you are looking for something meaningful to with your summer, we invite you to come join us! Check back soon for more news about future summer camps.
Summer camps are usually two weeks, spent in an orphanage with the orphans. We need people, young and old, who can travel to Ukraine and share the Love of Christ with children that have been abandoned. We will be working hand in hand with our local Ukrainian brothers and sisters, as this is a real team effort.
Please pray and ask God how you can help. Interested in what the camp experiences look like, including life-changing testimonials? Check out our volunteer testimonials:
“The children were already waiting for us in front of the orphanage building and greeted each of us upon arrival with a flower. On that day we met not only the orphans in Ukraine but also the rest of our team members. Despite the different languages and humorous translations at times, we always shared one common goal: we desired to bring faith in Jesus Christ and the love that unites us for orphans in Ukraine. A highlight of our camp was the organizing of a huge birthday celebration dedicated to every child present. It included games, trampoline jumping, eating sugar candy, grilling, and plain having fun! At the end of the celebration, each child received gifts like clothing, soft animal toys, and a booklet with Bible stories. It was so amazing to see the children feel so special! Our lives were enriched by the love we have received in return.”
"It's crazy how much I miss Ukraine and these beautiful people! I can't even begin to explain what the Lord has done in my life this past month! I miss these kids, I miss the Ukrainian team that treated us with such love, I miss my loud/fun team. I can't believe we didn't even know each other, but said yes to going overseas and spending a month serving together. What a beautiful time that I will cherish for the rest of my life."
—Angel Ramirez, Biola University
Little Lambs Homes
The Little Lambs Homes are Christian family homes for orphans that were started and exist as an alternative to the government-run orphanages. Little Lambs has built five homes in Ukraine for families that take orphans into their homes. Some we have built, like the Rovno Home, Dunaevzy Home, and Esther Homes (three homes).
In addition to those, we help families who already have a house or an apartment, but need a bigger one to take children from the orphanages. Some need to add few bedrooms under the roof, or some need to convert the garage into a bedroom. The others are selling their place and buying a bigger one. We provide loans and a construction team with building materials to help the families to meet all the requirements so they can make a dream come true for an orphan - to have a family!
Today, Little Lambs Ministry partners with over 20 christian families, who open their homes for the orphans, helping them with their biggest needs including housing, food, and a loving environment.
Many foster families in Ukraine often feel alone in their ministries and don’t receive much support or encouragement from society, church or even their family. Many people still feel that orphans are bad kids and are wards of society. We want to help these families to have a place where they can get together with other families and share their struggles and their blessings. But more than that we want the parents to relax, read, pray, and recharge, while the kids have a fun camp program.
FAMILY CAMPS - TESTIMONIES
Everyday life... stress... emotional and professional burnout, not a simple transitional age of children, quarantine, which also forced me to be a teacher at home for my children. All this is very debilitating and undermines our health as foster parents. In the spring I was taken to the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. The doctors said that all stress and anxiety must be removed, because they are the main cause of this disease. But it is not always possible to control emotions and sometimes it is very difficult to keep balance. You understand that sometimes it can be difficult to love and endure... No; we are not complaining... We understand that this ministry is our life. We decided to give shelter and home to five orphans in our house and we carry this ministry with gratitude to God and do not regret anything!
And in the midst of all this, God gives a vision to volunteers and those who donate money to Little Lambs to create an oasis in the midst of the hot desert days for parents who are raising orphans. Excellent idea for a family camp! Glory to God for His children who ministered to us throughout this week! We really felt love and care. I really rested... and even more, we, like Mary, gathered around the Word of God and drank Living Water, quenched spiritual thirst and had fellowship with other foster parents. We heard so many testimonies from the parents about the mercy of God and about God's unusual care during trials. It inspires and gives us strength to go further. Lord, thank You for raising our hands and giving us strength to move on. At the end of the race, I looked at my children in a new way and felt a new wave of love for them... We have such good kids... I want to serve them and put the correct Biblical values in them so that they would be God's sons and daughters - this is my biggest dream and prayer.
Friends, I cannot tell you how grateful we are for the atmosphere of love and acceptance. What a great parenting program, and great children's program. We, and our children are very happy! We thank the Lord that he loves us through you!!! Your team is an example of sacrifice and service. You all are just wonderful! Thank you to everyone who participated in this ministry financially, physically and spiritually. The Lord will certainly reward you. Love you!
—The Bogomaz family.
Thank you very much for the camp. This is almost the only outlet in our life, when for a whole week (not 2-3 hours) we would be alone, just husband and wife without children, but in fellowship with God's children. In the conditions of quarantine, we really needed it. During the entire time, we felt God's presence and constant care for us parents. This does not happen anywhere else! We are very grateful to everyone! I would like to add that the camp had a very good influence on our children. They really liked it and now they don't even want to go to a secular camp! Even Vlada, who is with us quite recently (she is 14 years old), and now says that she never had a better camp!!! Thank you!
—Vitaly and Tanya Kushnarev
Dear brothers and sisters, we are the Shakirov family. We want to express our deep gratitude to everyone who organized, participated and served us in the family camp. This is a great blessing of God for our family; we rested physically and emotionally, and felt love and care in full measure. The children were also inspired and very happy. We had a rest with the whole family for the first time in many years. Family camp is an excellent recharge and renewal of spiritual strength in order to go further and serve the Lord with even greater zeal. Thanks be to God and many thanks to all the organizers. Be blessed and may our Father reward you a hundredfold for your labors. Amen!
—Evgeny and Marina Shakirov
Our family expresses thanks to Strumok and Little Lambs Ministry for organizing our family vacation. The Lord through you has been renewing and healing us spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It was important to feel supported and share experiences with the other foster families. It was a great blessing for us to study the Word of God together with the pastor. We are grateful for the morning wellness workouts. We are grateful for the delicious food and cozy atmosphere. And especially for the fact that our children rested with us. It was an interesting program for them, and they loved it! Thank you for this time to recharge, to look back and examine our path, to see God's inexhaustible grace, to make sure we are heading in the right direction, and to build strength to take the next steps. Thank God for your ministry.
— Sergei and Anna Slad
Hello cool team (Strumok & Llittle Lambs)!!! We thank God for introducing us to you, and for giving us the opportunity to feel that we are not alone - that there are those who want to help, encourage, and listen. In the camp we had the opportunity to relax, make new friends (for which we are very grateful to the Lord!), hear people's testimonies, rejoice and cry. We came to the conclusion that we made the right decision by adopting an orphan in our home! You have inspired us to raise our hands in prayer and move forward! It was an incredible adventure for our children. We sincerely thank you for taking care of them!! We are especially grateful to the chefs who cooked for us and our children! Thanks to the leaders and all the staff!!! We sincerely thank the pastor who instructed us! Thanks for his wonderful songs! Be blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ!!! May the Lord bless each of you and your families!!! Be like trees planted by the water! We appreciate your extraordinary work, and we hug everyone!
—The Ignatenkiv family.
We are very grateful to Strumok/Little Lambs for a great stay in the village of Shcherbinovka, Cherkasy region!! It was a very valuable time for our family to recuperate, adjust inner peace, and analyze our relationship with God. We also thank the entire team dedicated to people, who have served us with love. We thank the team that ministered to the children, thus letting us not worry about the children. Thanks to those who cooked and worried about our comfort. I would like to especially note the easy family-like atmosphere, the fellowship, and the encouraging testimonies. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!
—Max and Tanya Zhylyn
Our family is very grateful for such a wonderful camp, where you can relax in body and soul, as well as nourish yourself spiritually and share your experiences. After the camp, we were strengthened spiritually, and gained strength to move on. Thank you very much to the organizers for your work and diligence. May God bless everyone abundantly.
—Sergey and Tanya Gorichi
Family Housing Projects
A few years ago the Ukrainian government recognized the need to financially support foster families and family homes. They understood the important place that parents and families have in providing the best environment for children to grow. This has created a great opportunity for Christian families in Ukraine to take in a child from an orphanage or start a family home by taking in six or more children. There are hundreds of Christian families that have already taken orphans into their homes and there are hundreds more who are willing but do not have what the government considers sufficient housing and so they are denied approval to foster or adopt.
In the last three years, Little Lambs Ministry has taken on a role in helping these families by assisting them with certain housing projects so that they can acquire the status of sufficient housing and be approved to foster and adopt children into their home.
Read more about our family housing project success stories below. These projects are impossible without your much-needed support!
We have helped families expand their living space, for example with the addition of another bedroom, renovation of an existing kitchen or bathroom, or the conversion of a garage into a bedroom. We have also helped other families by giving them a loan so that they can afford to purchase a larger apartment or house that can accommodate more children.
The partnerships that we have with these families affords orphaned children the chance to live in a safe and caring environment where they can experience God’s love, become part of a family, and have a better opportunity to further their education.
Sergey & Sveta - Zolotonosha, Ukraine
In 2010 we were able to help a church planter named Sergey and his wife Sveta start a family home for orphans near Zolotonosha, Ukraine. Sergey and Sveta were doing outreach ministry in their village and it caught the notice of village officials. These officials were so impressed by the outreach that Sergey and Sveta were doing, that they gave them a building (with the option to buy), in order to start a family home for orphans. Sergey and Sveta had desired to start a home for orphans, and now this gave them the chance to do so.
Even though the government had given them the home, there was still a chance that after the home was fixed up the government could come and take the home back. The only way to ensure this did not happen was if Sergey andSveta completely paid for the building. Through donations from Green Tree Community Church in MO and a donor in Chicago, we were able to give them $3,000 to finalize the purchase of the building and another $3,000 for a new heating system!
In 2011 Sergey and Sveta adopted 2 boys from a nearby orphanage and then four young girls from their village. The girls are siblings who were living with their grandmother. The grandmother was too old to be caring for them, but did not want to send them to the orphanage. Now, the grandmother still lives close the children and can visit them regularly!
Sergey and Sveta would love to purchase a larger van to accommodate their family.
Oleg & Natasha - Zolotonosha, Ukraine
Several years ago Oleg and Natasha adopted 5 children between the ages of 3-9 years old. They lived together in a little two bedroom home until a few years ago when God provided them with a five-bedroom house. The house was in need of a lot of work to make it livable and so Little Lambs helped Oleg and Natasha to redo the bathroom and put in a large tub, which they were very excited about!
Oleg and Natasha are planning to take in two more children and praying for God's direction in their lives. Oleg said if they are able to add two more bedrooms onto their home, they would be able to take in 4-5 more children! Thank God for people like Oleg and Natasha.
Oksana & Vova - Khmel'nyts'ka, Ukraine
My ministry with Little Lambs started in 1998 when I went to the Komarovka orphanage in the Chernigov region in Ukraine. Working in the orphanages was a great and special blessing for me. Every year when I came to another orphanage and looked into the tiny eyes of the children, I would see pain, loneliness, and rejection. I always had a strong desire to pick up at least one little child and bring them home and show them my love and care. At the time though, I was living with my parents and did not have my own family. I knew I could not take in a child, and so it only remained a dream for me.
The Lord saw my heart and my dream and He gave me a wonderful husband who I met in the Little Lambs camp, and who deeply loves the Lord! Soon, the Lord gave us a baby girl, whose birth was a real miracle because of certain health issues I had at the time. When I recovered and Sophia grew up a little, we began to pray for God to give us a child from an orphanage. In 2008 God gave us Mikhail. He was four years old at that time, just as old as our daughter, Sophia. Both of them are now 8 years old. For the last 12 months we have been praying about taking another 4-5 children. However, we very soon realized that the government would not allow us to take in more children because we do not have enough living space.
At the time we had a 3-room apartment. Last fall God led us to a house that was for sale in the village where my husband Vova is a church planter. With a loan from Little Lambs we were able to purchase this house! We are so excited to see who God will bring into to this home! We have found 4 siblings from a nearby orphanage that we would like to take in, but first we need to renovate this house so that it is livable. The house is nearly a century old. The kitchen and the bathroom need a complete remodel. We also have space under the roof that we would like to renovate into two bedrooms.
Please pray with us as we start to tackle this huge project. We know that nothing is impossible with God and we are praying for His guidance. If you can help us so that a few more children are saved from spending their childhood growing up in an orphanage, we will be thankful to you and to the Lord.
We are grateful to God for leading us to work in the Little Lambs camps for orphans and for the gift of our beautiful family
Zhillin Brothers - Rovno, Ukraine
My name is Maxim. My younger brother and I were raised by a single mother in Ukraine. When she remarried we thought that we were getting a father, but he started drinking alcohol and our childhood turned into hell. We still remember, with horror, the pain and grief he brought to us. Eventually, because of the poverty, fights and abuse, my brother and I were sent to a boarding school for orphans. I was 10 years old at the time. Living in the orphanage was not easy because of the feelings of loneliness, insecurity, and hunger that accompanied me every day.
In 2001 I was in 11th grade and it was in that year that I met some Christians for the first time. Christians had come to hold a "Little Lambs Camp" at our orphanage. For the first time I heard about God and His love for me. All of us received material things: food, clothing, and gifts. I never knew that such people existed in the world.
After we graduated from the orphanage, these Christians offered five of us the chance to live in an apartment they rented, as a way to help us. We accepted their offer and we were then introduced to the church, where we found true friends and support. Through their testimonies and hearing the Word of God, I accepted Christ as my savior at the age of 18. One year later my brother joined us at the apartment. God opened the doors for both of us to attend Bible school. It was there I met my wife, whom I married a year later. After Bible school we spent two years as missionaries in a small village in Ukraine but then returned to the city of Rovno, where I had grown up. That summer my brother Kolya went to help at a Little Lambs camp. We started to pray about how we could help the orphans.
We helped to start a new church in our city, where I now serve as the youth pastor, and we also began to regularly visit the children who lived in the orphanage we grew up in. We took many of these children home for the weekends so that they could attend christian Sunday school and make new friends who could have a positive influence on their lives.
With help from Little Lambs Ministry, we were able to provide these children with shoes, clothing, and toiletries. We grew close to many of them, and two years ago we started a home for orphans.
God has miraculously provided a house for us and He has blessed us with our son Timothy and six children from my old orphanage! My brother Kolya and his wife Julia have taken in three orphans and live in the other half of our house.
As our families continued to grow, we realized that we need two kitchens, two showers, and two toilets to accommodate this many children. Last fall we began to add a kitchen and bathroom to our house, but we ran out of money before we were able to finish.
We are praying and asking God to help us finish this addition. If you can help us to finish the addition on our home, we would be honored and grateful. We are trying to be as frugal as we can and do most of the labor ourselves.
We thank God that He has changed our life, our values, and our priorities. Every day we try to be used by God for His purpose and to serve our neighbors.
Nadya - Rovno, Ukraine
Please pray for Nadya and the girls. Nadya has worked in Little Lambs camps since 2002. In 2008 she found out that three little girls were left for days by themselves because their mother was drinking somewhere. The government took the kids away and Nadya adopted them. She lives in Rovno, Ukraine. Later, she also took another girl from the orphanage.
Ira & Sasha - Rovno, Ukraine
The first time I heard about Little Lambs Ministry was from Mama Olya back in 1998. I was part of a team that she gathered together from our church to go and work and work in a summer camp for orphans. I learned the stories of the children and saw their pain when they talked about their families. It broke my heart to say goodbye to them and I decided to stop going to the camps anymore—it was too painful for me.
Two years later, Mama Olya took in 7 girls from an orphanage in Kiev and started the Little Lambs Home in Rovno. Since I knew these girls from the Little Lambs camp we held in their orphanage in 1998, I helped tutor them for the next two years. I saw them change and accept Christ into their lives.
A few more years went by and my husband Sasha and I never had any children of our own. We prayed and asked God what he wanted us to do. I knew that there were thousands of orphans waiting for a family and hundreds more ending up in orphanages every year because their families either didn’t want them or couldn’t take care of them. I had worked as the principal of an elementary school for 15 years and had my life all to myself. I was honestly scared to imagine what my life would be like with children. One phone call changed all of that for me.
Sasha and I received a call that the mother of a 6 year old girl named Anya had died, and that Anya would be sent to the orphanage if a family could not be found for her. I could not sleep most of the night as I thought about this decision before us. In the morning Sasha and I went to get Anya and bring her home with us. One year later God brought another girl into our home, a five year old girl named Nastya. Two years after we brought her home we got a call from child services. They had a brother and a sister who had lost their mother and needed a home. We made the decision to take the two of them into our home as well. We sold our two-bedroom apartment and bought a four bedroom apartment so that we could have enough room for all of us.
Looking back, I am amazed at God’s faithfulness. It is such a joy and privilege to be used by God and hopefully make a difference in at least a few little lives. Thank you for your support and prayers.
Leonid & Tanya - Rovno, Ukraine
Leonid and Tanya opened their home for two children from the orphanage. Please pray for Leonid and Tanya, and for God's direction in their lives. They live in Rovno, Ukraine.
Pasha & Olya - Kirovograd, Ukraine
Please pray for Pasha and Olya's family. Pasha and Olya Samoylov opened their home to seven orphans. They live in Kirovograd, Ukraine.
Anya & Sergey - Zhitomir, Ukraine
Please pray for Anya and Sergey Slad's family. Sergey and Anya opened their home to orphaned children 12 years ago. Today they have 10 children and live in Zhitomir, Ukraine.
Through generous donations, we have been able to send a total of 65, 40-ft. containers since 1993! Most containers were shipped free of charge through the United States Government Relief Program, Counterpart International, to the former Soviet Union. This program lasted for 20 years, but has ended just few years ago. Today we are able to buy everything we need for our camps in Ukraine. Our German office in Bonn still collects and sends humanitarian aid to Ukraine. A big thank you to our German brothers and sisters!
"We saw a big need in Mikhailovka this summer for humanitarian aid. The children were excited when they were waiting in line to get into the room where the German team had organized the clothes for them. Most of them have changed right away and are walking around with a big smile. We had a girl in our orphanage from the village and she begged us to let her take a few things for her little nephew. She said that his father left them and they were very poor. We packed her a big bag of clothes and she ran joyfully to bring that bag to the family! It takes so little to make them happy. For our camp program we bought little toys and little prizes and is was just amazing to see their faces when they got a little trinket or a little toy. Thank you to everyone who helped this summer with the summer camp."
—Evelina, Michailovka 2018
Graduates Outreach Program
Our Graduates Outreach is a support program for the families and churches in Ukraine who help orphanage graduates find a better future after the orphanage experience. Little Lambs provides scholarships to the orphanage graduates who are committed and able to go to universities. We also partner with churches to provide housing, meals, and clothing for the graduates.
Looking for more information? Contact us below!