Monday, September 29, 2008

September 2008-Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Team

These have been busy weeks for us in Bulgaria. We thank you for your continued prayer support. In the next few days I will be reporting on some major developments for BCI. I am eager to share with you this project.But now, let me update you on the latest team activity for BCI.

One day after the Towne View Baptist Church team left, another Atlanta-area church sent a team to Bulgaria. On Sunday, Sept.7 we welcomed a group of volunteers from Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. The team was organized by Peggy Fulghum, who works with the "life after 50" group in their church.

I have to say that there was one volunteer who was much beyond the 50 year point, Coe Hamling, Peggy's father. At ninety, Coe is by far the oldest volunteer yet to come to work with us and I have to admit he outpaced many of the younger members of the team. He was in amazingly good health. Other team members were Carol Epperson, Becky Gardener, Bobbie Osburne, Eleanor and Ray Schaterbrand, Sandra Stuart and Susan Thomason.Our friends Paul and Vicki Bennett from Gatlinburg, TN joined this team upon their own arrival in Bulgaria. We have known the Bennett's for nearly 20 years and are very happy that they could come and work along side us for a while.

This team traveled to the Rose Valley city of Kazanluk for their week of work. Many of you know George Gurdev, the young Bulgarian who studied first at Oklahoma Baptist University and then at Truitt Seminary in Waco. Some of you will remember him as a translator for some of our teams. George took over the leadership of the Kazanluk congregation when his father, Hristo resigned about 1 and 1/2 years ago.Many of you have prayed for Zdravka, his mother after her brain tumor, surgeries, and stroke. She is doing well and actually made it to church for the ladies' meeting while the team was there.

I depended heavily on George and his wife Laura to help with some of the arrangements for this team, including preparing a light lunch at the church a couple of days and finding a couple of terrific translators for us.

Our work was focused on providing some tender loving care to children in the home for babies and handicapped children in the village of Buzovgrad, just outside of Kazanluk. The director had also requested another job assignment - that of painting a long corridor in one of the buildings. Well, you all know how those paint jobs go, you paint one place and that makes the rest look bad so you continue to paint! So, a hallway, a large landing-lobby area, and some bathrooms were painted. The fresh white paint brightened everything.

The volunteers were all eager to hold the children or play with them. And the children were all certainly eager to be held or to play. They were starved for the attention. They came running as soon as they knew we were on site. I was especially proud of the way this team cared for the handicapped children. They took them out of their beds and outside. They sang to them, patted them, and spoke tender loving words to them. Not everyone can handle this type of work, but these folks were not at all put off by the appearance of these children.

On Tuesday evening, Peggy led the women's meeting at the church. There was a large gathering- about 60 ladies! The team had brought many small gift items and made little gift bags for each of the participants. But the real gift was the sharing of hearts. Ladies from both sides of the Atlantic shared their longings, troubles, hurts, and blessings. They prayed earnestly for each other.

On Wednesday evening, George delivered a wonderful sermon and again there was time for corporate prayer as the group called on the Lord. The team left with a love for the children, the Gurdev family and for Bulgaria.Thank you Johnson Ferry Baptist Church for including Bulgaria in another of your missions.

September 2008-Towne View Baptist Church Party Team

This has been a very busy September! We have had two teams already and are expecting a container of humanitarian aid this week!This update will cover only the team from Towne View Baptist Church (near Atlanta). I will send another one tomorrow to cover the team from Johnson Ferry Baptist Church.

The Party Team arrived on August 30, went straight to the grocery store to buy juices, candy, and cookies, and then traveled 1 1/2 hours to Berkovitsa!

There were several returnees on the team, Jen and Trey Lyon, Hyacinth Crooks, Taylor Jansen were making their third trip to Bulgaria. Melanie Connell and Stephanie Uhler were making their second trip. The team had one newcomer Virginia Crowley. We welcome them all back again.

Everyone spread the love of the Lord everywhere they went. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to start out the "fall team season" with. They were always ready to go, ready to do, ready to serve wherever and however they could. It was a pleasure to see how the children and teachers reacted when they saw the 2nd and 3rd timers! It is always so great for the kids to have the feeling that people care enough about them to want to come back to see them.

Sunday morning found us back at the Roma church in Rakovitsa. Again we had Bible stories and activities for about 70 children.Then we began with the parties in the afternoon.

Different Sunday School classes, missions groups, and other groups at Towne View Baptist Church each had adopted one of the 10 orphanages to be visited. Each group thought of a theme for the party and then bought table cloths, party plates, and individual gift items for the children. The party items were incredible.
At every place I thought "wow, this is the best!" And then came the next party..... The gifts and decorations were simply outstanding and you could tell that all was done with loving hearts. Everything just seemed to fit, including a 25 foot 6 foot tall wall decoration depitcting the seaside. It just fit a blank wall in the cafeteria of the orphanage in Roman.

This team had prepared parties for the home in Lom, the preschool home in Georgi Damyanovo, Berk 3 and Berk 4. Roman, the preschool home in Pleven, the home for handicapped in Vidrare, the preschool home in Dren, the home for emotionally disturbed in Gorna Koznitsa, and the home in Blagoevgrad. We played with hundreds of kids and made their day brighter. We also did a lot of traveling.

On top of all the travel and partying, this group of folks went the extra mile - or two- and moved a truckload of shoes, coats, and socks from one warehouse to the other to make room for the container due next week. This was hard work at the end of a hard week. And, it was hot! But no one complained. They just did the job. We are so grateful for this extra help.

June 13-21-2008-FBC Cabot, AR Container Team

FBC Cabot shipped another container of humanitarian aid this spring. Besides items for a hospital in Sofia, the shipment included 45 water-proof mattresses from Dreamline Manufacturing, new clothing, educational items, and furniture. The shipment arrived in Sofia the night before the team arrived!

They were a tremendous help in sorting, labeling, and delivering the items. Then they even helped organize our warehouse space.
This team brought many familiar faces from FBC Cabot, Arkansas. Dennis and Lea Hyland, Bonne Jensen, and Sean Stevens have all been to Bulgaria many times before and are always very well received. The kids and personnel at Berk 4 were very happy to see these folks back. Dennis has lead them in many woodworking projects and Bonne and Lea were instrumental in getting the sewing/doll making projects underway. Sean is known for basketball and soccer events. All four have true celebrity status at this home.

We had some new faces on the team: Jerry Garland, Jared Taylor, and Margaret Eyring. These folks didn't act green, they immediately pitched in to work or to engage the children.
After a very late arrival on Friday, 13th of June, the team made the trip to Berkovitsa. On Saturday morning we were treated to a Sports Spectacular presented by the handicapped children and youth of Berk. 4. It was indeed spectacular. What a challenge for children and teachers alike to put together such a program. We applauded and yelled our praise for every little accomplishment. The team from Johnson Ferry Baptist Church had left many gold medals here and we had the joy of putting them around the necks of the children. They were all first place winners that day.After the program we treated them to pizza, soft drinks and ice cream at a local pizza parlor. The kids were absolutely thrilled.

The afternoon found us working with the children at Berk 4 and later Berk 3 telling Bible stories, doing related activities and playing outside.. At Berk 4, Bonne demonstrated how to make sheep/shepherds for a supplementary set to our original sock doll Nativity set of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.

Sunday morning we were at the gypsy church in Rakovitsa. There the team had a Sunday School hour for about 100 children. Then they sang 4 hymns in Bulgarian during the worship service. People were amazed. The team had learned the songs from a tape made a few years ago. Dennis did a great job with his sermon on Sunday morning, and the congregation was happy to see so many familiar faces in the group.Sunday pm we were back to work in both orphanages.
Monday morning chairs and desks were delivered to the public school in Rakovitsa. The team worked with the kids at Berk 4 again, and the children presented a musical based on an old Bulgarian folktale. It was delightful. Again, the audience showed great appreciation and the children's faces beamed with pleasure. After the program, the team members were presented with gifts that were specially made for them by the children. With great emotion we said goodbye to the dear people at Berk 4.

After a couple of hours at Berk 3 we headed back to Sofia to reload the truck for the delivery part of the team program. On Tuesday we traveled east to the home for children without parental care in Bratsigovo. There we put new tennis shoes on the kids, gave them underwear and tee shirts, and delivered lots of furniture and 14 computers! Then it was on to Kazanluk and to the baby home in the nearby village of Buzovgrad. Again, we put shoes on the little ones who could walk, delivered diapers and other container items.

On Wednesday morning we traveled to Stara Zagora delivering diapers, bed pads, and putting shoes on the little ones. They were delightful. Then we made our way back to Sofia and reloaded the truck!

On Thursday we drove to the home for handicapped children and youth in Vidrare. We delivered lots of items from the Cabot container including some wonderful special needs chairs and standing frames donated by Buckner International. These were assembled on site by the team members. We enjoyed blowing bubbles with these kids and even organizing some activities with the parachute.

The afternoon was spent in Roman, a home for about 120 kids. These kids had received shoes in April. We delivered furniture from the containers, told Bible stories, took Polaroid pix of each child and then gave them all underwear and tee shirts. After that, we tossed frisbees with them for a couple of hours!

After an overnight in Pleven, we went to the home for more than 240 babies there. We put shoes on those who could walk, delivered diapers and other items and visited about 50 of the handicapped, bed-ridden children.
Arriving back in Sofia on Friday afternoon we went back to the warehouse, reorganized it, and then loaded the truck again for Saturday morning trip to Dren. There we put 45 new mattresses on their beds. Thank you, Dreamline Mattress Company!!!!

All in all, it was a wonderful week. We put shoes on a total of 211 children, mostly babies. We delivered most of the container items and make hundreds of children very happy!
Thank you, FBC Cabot, for sending such a great bunch of folks our way!

June 2008-First United Methodist Morristown, TN

I am pleased to report on the great successes of the recent team from First United Methodist Church, Morristown, TN. It was quite a week!
The trip began with Sunday morning activities at the Rakovitsa church. First, the team members told stories and acted them out for somewhere between 60 and 70 children in this gypsy village. Then they sang several numbers as a group in the morning worship service. It was touching when the gypsy congregation began singing along. Skip Frierson gave the message and blessed us all with his singing.
During the week, Dr. Tom Hyde tested the eyes of over 170 children and orphanage workers. For the first few days, he was joined in this work by Lisa Vredegood, an Anerican pediatric eye surgeon currently living in Sofia.
They screened many children who will need treatment, if not surgery, at a hospital here in Sofia. This included a 3 month old baby with glaucoma. The director of the baby home was quite frustrated because surgery could not be scheduled without the consent of the parent. No one could locate the parent, but the police finally found a grandparent who gave permission for the surgery. Another week would be too late to save the sight of this precious child. Another child needs a corneal transplant.

All in all, 72 people received glasses – and a new look on life.
Dr. Mary Bukovitz, or Midge Allum, as most know her, was our children's pediatrician many years ago. She performed exams on many children, acted as a medical consultant at one home, and helped with the retina screenings at other homes. The folks at the baby home were especially interested in her evaluation of the way they cared for the children. She was assisted by nurse Phyllis Hime. Andrew was the translator for the exams and worked with Dr. B with some of the more handicapped little ones at Berk. 4.

The rest of the crew, Ann Brooks, Leanne Brooks, Sharla Conklin, Skip Frierson, Debbie Hyde, Rachel Hyde, Blain Potter,Greg Ritter, and Donna Winstead had prepared Bible stories and activities for the children. The men were worked especially hard as the actors in the group. Skip Frierson spent a lot of time as either Goliath or the tree for Zacheus. The costumes were simple but very effective. The children loved to have an opportunity to portray the characters as the story was retold a number of times. Minka Graham and Vladi Raichinov were the translators with this group.

During the craft/coloring time, the team members were very attentive to the kids, even reaching some of the most troubled. We were all blessed when one young girl who frightens everyone away by biting and scratching, actually brightened the room with her smile as Blain and Midge spoke to her. She is generally nonverbal, but made the tremendous effort to say their names. These are just a few examples of how this team touched lives.

June 2008-Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Team

June is rushing past in a flood of activity! We sent off George and Dorothy Hayner early Tuesday morning. We miss them already. They have done so much for us these past few weeks. They have helped with preparing schedules (including hotel room assignments and menus) for 3 teams; labels for thousands of container items; sorting and boxing ministry items in our storage building, basement, and warehouse; doing household chores such as cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, and laundry; caring for a post-op dog who had to visit the vet every other day for a dressing change; etc, etc, etc, They are hard workers, great encouragers, and loving friends. We thank them for the time they gave us.

We are so thankful for the people who come to share in the ministry here. Last week we had a group of folks from Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, GA. Patti Lowe organized a team of 8 from her Sunday School class there. Patti had already been to Bulgaria last May with a group from her parents' church. The teen girls in Berk.3 stole her heart at that time and she had to come back. This time she brought her husband, Jim with her and a whole crew of hard working volunteers: Stacey McCarver, Jim Mock, Darla Childs, Jill Kearney, Robin Nelson and Stephanie Loomis.

They arrived on a Saturday evening with only half their luggage. This is not an encouraging way to begin a trip, but they adapted their activities so that they could do without the missing items and even made do with the few clothes they had packed in their carry-on luggage. As I said, they arrived on Saturday and the last of the luggage was not delivered until Thursday! Patti was the last person to get her bags. Must be some kind of special reward waiting for her!

All the bags were packed full of wonderful surprises for the people here. I have never seen any group bring over so much stuff for distribution. They had worked many hours locating just the right items to put in gift bags for each group of children. The activities they prepared required lots of forethought and planning. Of course, the children were very pleased with all they did.
This team was quite adept at multi-tasking! They came prepared to serve in many ways in a variety of settings. On Sunday morning at the gypsy church in Rakovitsa, Jill led about 70 children in activities that included a Bible story, songs, and related craft activity. The other team members helped in all of this of course. During the worship service, Stephanie led in worship with two special solos. The congregation warmed to her singing and actually joined in as they could in Bulgarian. Stacey brought the message and Paul translated for him. It was a special time in the church.

After a quick trip to the wonderful rock formations of Belogradchik, we made our way to the Danube city of Lom. There we attended the evening services in the Lom Baptist Church, one of the oldest Baptist churches in Bulgaria. Stephanie sang again – but different songs that she used in the morning. Stacey abbreviated and adapted his sermon for the short, less formal evening service. Though shorter, the sermon was still well organized and meaningful to all. After the service, the team had dinner with the pastor and his wife at a river-side restaurant.
Monday morning found the team hard at work at the home in Lom for children without parent care . This home is unique in that it has preschoolers and school-age children living together. There were around 30 little ones and 40 or more older kids.

While the ladies began working with the children with Bible stories, neat craft activities, etc. the guys started work on some remodeling projects. This continued for 3 days with the team working in the orphanage from 9-3:20 each day. We did take an hour out for lunch that was prepared by the great cooks at the Lom church.By Wednesday, the guys had scraped, patched, plastered, and painted the end of a hallway and stairwell. They did this will the very enthusiastic help of some of the older residents of the home!They also replaced broken sidewalk tiles and relaid a large area of the sidewalk at the entrance of the home. I was especially pleased that they were able to eliminate a dangerous situation in the cafeteria serving line – there were 3 or four rusty, ragged-edged short pipes coming up for the floor – right where the kids walk to get their food. The guys got rid of these all together making a much safer environment for the children.

The Bible stories and the activities with the children were really blessed. The little ones loved all the attention they received and the craft projects that brought some color and beauty to their rooms. The older ones were thrilled with their activities too, especially the jewelry making. But more than that, they were very attentive and tuned-in to the discussion of spiritual matters. Many gained a lot of understanding about the message of God's love. 

Of course, I was not content to let these folks rest after their day's work in the orphanage! From 4 to 6 each afternoon they had a totally different type of ministry! Robin Cook led a Bible study/prayer time for the ladies at the Lom Baptist Church. Stephanie again contributed beautiful with singing some familiar old hymns. The ladies loved to sing a long. A few took the opportunity to sing solos,also.The ladies were encouraged by their time together. The prayer time was especially sweet as they shared the needs from their hearts and prayed earnestly for each other. The team had prepared small gift items and certificates for all participants.
While the ladies were occupied at the church, the guys worked with children at a social center serving underprivileged gypsy (Roma) children. They taught computer skills to the children and to the teachers at the center. While there, they repaired and reprogrammed some of the computers. Again, the team had prepared special certificates for those completing the short course.

On Thursday we shifted gears entirely and moved to the town of Berkovitsa. Here we were warmly met by the children and youth at the home for handicapped (Berk 4). They love to hear the Bible stories and to get to act out the parts. Any personal attention they get is so appreciated. While the story team was busy moving from group to group, Jim Mock, Darla Childs and Stephanie Loomis worked with the young men at the sheltered home on the orphanage grounds. Their project was to teach the residents some cooking/kitchen skills. MMMM! Andrew and Patti worked with some of the more severely handicapped chidlren.
We were thrilled when the children did a special program – a short play and lots of singing – in our honor. Each team member was presented with gifts made by the children in the workshops in the home.Patti was recognized especially because she had worked in this home last year. They even sent gifts to Patti's mother, whom they remembered from last year.

We also worked in a more difficult situation in Berk 3, a home for school-aged children without parental care. There is no discipline in the home. The home is severely understaffed, and the aggressive behavior of the children goes unchecked. We had all the younger ones together for Bible stories and activities. It took most of the team to maintain order and to keep their attention. Patti, Stephanie and Robin had the teen girls together for some good “talk time” and quiet activities. Jim Mock's father-in-law had cut some beautiful race cars and other vehicles from wood. The older boys were well behaved as they painted these.

Then the younger ones joined them and the excitement of racing the vehicles was just too much.With much prayer we continued there the next day. God worked in His way to calm the spirits of these troubled children. They listened attentively to the Bible story, and even enjoyed acting it out several times. The activities went without incident this time. I always have difficulty taking teams to this home because of the wildness and sometimes violence we see there. But I know that they need the attention and certainly the love of the Lord there as much as anywhere.
So, we had a very busy week in His service! He blessed the events as they happened and will continue His work in all the people we touched this week.

Thank you, Patti, and thank you Johnson Ferry Baptist Church for putting together this team of volunteers!

Summer 2008

Summer 2008

Dear friends of Bulgarian Child,

Greetings from Sofia, Bulgaria. Though our site does not show it, Bulgarian Child, Inc. has been very busy ministering to thousands of institutionalized children. We really are making a difference in so many different ways. We want to share these wonderful stories with you.

After months of difficulties maintaining this site, our son Anthony is assuming the responsibilities of web master on an interim basis. We hope to be current within the next few days. So, please visit again soon and be prepared to stay awhile – a lot has happened!

Judy Ridgway

April 2008 Update-The Heights Baptist Church Shoe Team

Shoe teams are the most physically demanding teams we have. We sleep in a different hotel almost every night and travel many, many miles over bumpy, curvy roads. We unload and load the shoes and clothes from the truck as many as four times in a day. Not an easy task.

But, shoe teams are some of the most needed teams. Orphanage directors call every spring and fall to see if BCI will be bringing them shoes! Their budgets simply cannot stretch far enough to purchase new shoes for the kids. Even with the shoes in our storage space, we simply could not get them distributed without volunteers from the States. We are very grateful to The Heights Baptist Church for sending us at least two shoe teams each year!

In April, Jim Abernathy led a great shoe team of hard-working volunteers. The Heights Baptist Church team members included Jim, Roger Kittrell, Jennifer Purvis, Brandy Baker, and Tom Schleef. The team also included two former Heights members and shoe team veterans: Robert Butts (Nashville) and Ken Penney (Tyler). Two ladies, Cynthia Jacobus and Trisha Dolezal, from Williams Trace Baptist Church (Houston) also joined the team. We had a great week and visited 16 orphanages. We saw our northern border with Romania, the Danube River and our southern mountain border with Greece. and saw more than 1000 children.

We put new tennis shoes and socks on 857 children. Many of these kids (271)received sandals and/or dress shoes, also. Hundreds more children who do not walk because of disability or their age, were given socks. Everybody got some clothing, too. We still had hundreds of summer items from Kelly's Kids, plus some tee shirts from FBC Cabot, ARK. and jeans and other clothing from Williams Trace Baptist Church. The total number of clothing items given out was 2,491. In addition to that, 1,854 pairs of underwear was distributed. It had been collected by The Heights and was greatly appreciated. Though weary from the travel, all the team members gave a lot of hugs and received even more from the children! This team had a great spirit which made the whole week a great experience for all. The kids in the homes always love to see our blue truck come, because they know they will receive something. But they can't wait for the people to come and show them some love and attention. It means a lot.

Fall 2007 Update

Fall 2007

Dear All,

As usual, our Fall season was exceptionally busy: we had many groups of volunteers! Below, you will find links to their stories.

In other news, BCI has provided funds for the purchase of new radiators in Vidrare, and Paul, Judy and Andrew are headed to the States for fundraising and a wedding. Expect more updates when they return!

Spring 2007 Update

Spring 2007
Dear Friends,
We have had an exceptionally busy Spring here in Bulgaria--several teams, several visitors, a container of humanitarian aid and adventures getting it out of customs, food deliveries, and more.
We will be incrementally updating the website to show all of the work that we have been doing, so be sure to check back often over the next couple of weeks.
Below you will find links to the individual stories.
Towne View Baptist Church Trip
Spring shoe team from the Heights Baptist Church

Bulgarian Child Activities-2006

Bulgarian Child Activities- 2006.

The needs of the institutionalized children in Bulgaria are overwhelming. Here is a very brief rundown ways BCI has helped in 2006 .

Clothing Distribution.
BCI had a Spring distribution of clothing and shoes. Total distribution for 2 weeks: 1,267 items of clothing from Kelly's Kids, 1,473 pairs of socks, 286 t-shirts, 365 pairs of jeans, and 1524 pairs of new shoes!!! Most of the shoes were donated by Buckner Benevolence, Dallas, TX. The rest were purchased in Bulgaria by BCI.
New boots and/or winter shoes were placed on the feet of 990 children in 18 orphanages this fall. We also had preschool shoes to fit 130 little ones in a Roma community.
Nearly 200 winter coats were purchased in the States and shipped here. BCI purchased 85 more coats in Bulgaria. For the first time ever, all 130 children in the home in Roman and the 83 children in the home in Lom have new coats at the same time. Other coats were distributed to the ambulatory children in two homes for handicapped children and youth.
300 New, hand-knitted sweaters were received from “Guidepost” and given to preschoolers.
Hundreds of pairs of underwear, socks and other underclothing were distributed.
551 pairs of pajamas have been sewn and distributed.

Food, Toiletries, Diapers
Three tons of canned food was donated by an American factory and shipped to Bulgaria for delivery. This was distributed in 4 orphanages.
In addition to that, twice this year, BCI purchased thousands of dollars worth of food staples and delivered them to several homes.
Thousands of diapers were donated and shipped from the States for distribution in homes for babies and the handicapped.
About 150 new blankets were donated and distributed.
Hundreds of sheets were sewn with high quality cotton fabric and distributed.

Flu Vaccines and Medications.
BCI has purchased flu vaccine for nearly 300 high-risk children living in 5 different orphanages: Gorna Koniztsa, Georgi Damyanovo, Dren, Berkovitsa, and Rudnik.
Other needed medications were given to many orphanages.

Surgeries, Wheelchairs and Standing Frames
Eye surgery was performed on two children from the home for the handicapped in Berkovitsa. Both look great, but another surgery may be required for one child.
BCI received more than 30 wheelchairs and standing frames (for children with cerebral palsy or similar conditions) from Buckner Benevolence. BCI distributed them in 6 homes for the handicapped.
Groundwork has been laid for a team of neurosurgeons to come to Bulgaria in March to perform surgery on many babies suffering from hydrocephaly and/or spina bifida. This will literally save their lives. We are working with another foundation – One Heart – to provide appropriate medical treatment for these kids.

School supplies.
School supplies for around 400 needy children were delivered to the school in the Roma(gypsy) village of Rakovitsa. BCI has provided school supplies for about 1,000 children this fall in many orphanages across Bulgaria.
Office furniture – desks, chairs, etc. were donated to the school in Rakovitsa

Recreation and Playground equipment.
17 new bicycles and 3 tricycles from the States were delivered to 4 homes. An in-ground basketball system has been given to the home in Borovtsi. Other homes have received balls, outdoor play equipment, etc. Preschool and baby homes have been given hundreds of toys, riding toys, puzzles, etc.
Gift bags with a toy, underwear, hair bows, toothbrushes, notebooks, ink pens, etc. were given to children in four orphanages.

Salaried Staff working in Orphanages.
BCI paid for a full-time special education teacher, a part-time psychologist, and a part-time art therapist to work in the home for handicapped in Petrovo.
BCI, in coordination with a Dutch foundation has initiated a Baba (Grandmother)Program in the home for mentally ill children in Gorna Koznitsa. BCI funds two grandparents. They visit the home three days each week and work with children on a small-group and individual basis.
Used Computers/computer labs.
Ten computers were given to the orphanage in Gotse Delchev home for school age children. Computers were also given to Alexandrovska Hospital for Eye Diseases where two BCI -surgeries were done this year.

Special Projects:
Berkovitsa home for handicapped children and youth.
A beauty salon was set up in this home after some of the children there were taught basic hair cutting skills.
A sewing studio was completed in the same home. There are 5 sewing machines. Fabric, thread, zippers, buttons, and other notions have been donated to the home. The children have made clothing for themselves and others, plus sheets, curtains, and tote bags.
A team from Cabot, Arkansas helped the youth at this home build specially designed chicken coops. Monies were collected from American school children to purchase laying hens. The goal is to have enough hens to provide an egg per child per day.
This same team brought ladies to teach the children how to make adorable sock dolls, and hats and scarves with special hand looms. The proceeds from the sale of these items will go to special needs (and wants) of the orphanage.
We are still working to secure permissions for building a woodworking shop at a home for handicapped children and youth in Berkovitsa. BCI will fund the production of beds and other items to be provided for other orphanages.

Volunteer teams: 6 American volunteer teams worked in several orphanages this year. Each team came with unique purpose – teaching specific skills, distributing shoes or clothing, providing recreational activities, telling Bible stories and singing songs, etc. The overall goal, however, was simply to touch the lives of the children in the homes and bring them a sense of being loved and valued. Though it may be brief, the effects of that touch will last a lifetime.