How We Got Involved

In October of 1998, Woody traveled to Ukraine for the first time. He traveled with the Ukraine Initiative, an outreach of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, at the invitation of a United Methodist pastor who was familiar with Woody’s work with children. Woody was quickly captured by the warmth and hospitality of the Ukrainian people. He was deeply moved by the work being done with the orphans and the elderly of Ukraine through the Ukrainian Peace Fund, in cooperation with the Ukraine Initiative, although he realized there was much more to be done from our end. Since that first trip Woody has traveled to Ukraine twelve more times and has taken his music into orphanages, schools, youth centers, homes, churches and hospitals in and around the cities of Kiev, Bila Tserkva and Vinnytsia.

In March 2006 Woody felt called to return to Ukraine independently and ended up traveling with two friends, and all were unprepared for what awaited them there. Through the friend of a friend they were put in touch with a new translator, Ruslan Tkachuk, who could also provide transportation from place to place. This proved to be a real Godsend because of Ruslan’s in-depth knowledge of the needs of so many orphanages and the issues surrounding the care for Ukraine’s street children for, you see, Ruslan and his wife Archie have been fostering orphaned children in their home for several years. Archie, an American, met Ruslan through prior mission work she had been doing with a group from Tennessee. Ruslan took the team to an orphanage in the city of Ladyshen where they were impacted by the many needs of the children housed there. They also got to see, first hand, the impact Ruslan and Archie were having on children who had not known the meaning of real family since they had found themselves on the streets for a variety of reasons. It was during this trip that Woody felt compelled to take on a few Ukraine projects under the auspices of Heart to Hand Ministries and, with the board of directors’ approval, here we are.

In January 2007 we traveled to Ukraine to look into the possibility of getting a medical team to Ukraine later in the year and that became a reality. Woody traveled to Ukraine in September 2007 with seven pediatricians from the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania where they offered medical care to orphans, street children and the children in Cerebral Palsy center in Bila Tserkva and a second medical team returned in September of 2008. Continue to check back for more details and please email us if you would like to go with one of our groups. For more information on any planned trips, click here!

To view pictures from our travels to Ukraine,
click here!

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