Read some testimonials from members of our Building Teams.
My favorite moment was when a well dressed young man from a church in Sevastopil choked off the tears and spoke of the communists…’They taught us you were the enemy beyond the hill, now you are here to help our children’. — Jay Wienstein, Building Team member
The plan was to get four rows of block done everyday. And once everyone found their place, the site slowly became a hive of activity. Troy and Jay delivered wheelbarrows full of mortar mixed by the mortar-meister, a gruff-looking but friendly fellow we called “Boston”, because it was the only English word he knew…and we couldn’t pronounce his real name. Brother Al, our team’s experienced brick layer, and Tommy partnered on one corner of the foundation while Shawn and one of the Ukrainian workers, Ivan, started on another. Chuck and Petra, another Ukrainian, paired up on the third, which left the foreman, Sergei stuck with me. It was awkward at first. There was no time for pleasantries, nor were there the words. At first, my job was solely to keep Sergei supplied with block, and I worked very hard at not impeding his progress. But by the afternoon he was teaching me to mortar. As he affixed the block, I followed behind, filling in the ends at the top. I offered my effort for inspection with a tentative shoulder shrug and, like a child, delighted in his affirmative nod of approval. The afternoon passed as the warmth of camaraderie began its slow steady burn. At the end of the day, despite its dubious start, I couldn’t recall having had more fun working so hard. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t tired and sore. I could barley summon even a grunt during the evening devotional. I do recall that we prayed for God to soothe our aches and for strength to make it through the next day. And then God answered a prayer we hadn’t even thought to ask . . . — Lee Swartz, Building Team member
Another unbelievable and fantastic trip!!!! The new HopeHouse family and children are amazing. I am so blessed for having worked along side the HopeHouse father and for the time we had together with his new family as well. I pray that GOD will continue to make it available for me to continue to travel with this ministry. I really would like to go several times next year. I would love to lead a team as well. — Chuck Yamek, Building Team member
I want you to know that this experience has affected me in ways I could not have imagined. I tell everyone that I and a group of guys went to the Ukraine to help out a family in need. But in reality, the family helped me more than I could ever help them. I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to go on this trip. My plan is to continue to go on these trips every year. One more thing . . . about Yuri, (HopeHouse Co-Founder), he is truly a genuine person inside and out and that is a hard thing to find in this world. — Rex Sexton, Building Team member
My trip to the Ukraine was most rewarding. I was fascinated with the geography of the country and the heart of the people that I met and worked alongside. God is truly at work in the Ukraine. I cannot tell you how much it meant to be a very small part of helping to bring change in the lives of the people of the Ukraine. Demetri and Irena and their five children were an inspiration to me and those that were with me. I was touched by their love for the children that they adopted and their desire to adopt even in the face of extreme hardship. — Jack Holloway, Building Team member