The people of eastern Europe have withstood many of life’s harshest elements, including war, famine and man-made disaster. In particular, children from that part of the world are suffering from the effects of these hardships. Heart 4 Children is a humanitarian organization based in Vernon, that was begun in 1999 to help ease the suffering of children in Ukraine.
Chairperson Laila Craddock, who attends Community Baptist in Vernon, began the organization to partner with Mission in East — a group which, since 1991, has been aiding children who have suffered the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident; helping and feeding street children; and arranging for children who are dying of cancer, or who are badly burned, to be brought to North America for life-saving operations. The group also holds a camp in southern Sweden each summer.
Craddock says the ‘bottom line’ is Mathew 25:40. Before starting Heart 4 Children, she had no previous connection with Ukraine. In the late ’90s a relative sent her a video made by Mission in East called Scream from the Zone. Craddock felt a call to do something about the pain and suffering she saw.
“We sit here and we think about what is happening to these people in other countries, but we don’t really know what it’s like,” she says. “Our goal is to seek and help children who are in social need.”
Among other things, the group helps find Canadian and American doctors who will perform free operations on children who have brain tumors and other ailments that can’t be treated in Ukraine.
Michael and Anneli Wallenberg, founders of Mission in East, have travelled to Canada with four children from Children’s Hope, the mission’s home for displaced children. The group will be travelling in Alberta and B.C., speaking about what is happening in the Ukraine. The children will be talking about how they were brought into the Children’s Hope home and what God has done in their lives.
They will be speaking during the morning service May 21 at Aldergrove County Line Church.