Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Orphan Shares Her Deepest Wish

An edited letter from a friend serving orphans:
"This summer as I look back on the years that God has allowed me to know and love orphans, I have been challenged again by the words of William Wilberforce who played a huge role in ending slavery in Britain during the 1700 and 1800s:
“Having heard all this, you may choose to look the other way . . . but you can never again say that you did not know.”   William Wilberforce
It was 10 years ago this summer,  that I first visited these children.  The first time I set foot on this soil I knew basically nothing about the orphans who call this place home.  I spent two weeks at their summer camp, meeting and spending time with many children.   When I left, I never expected to return, I never wanted to return.   But something happened during those two weeks:
My eyes were opened to pain I had never before imagined.
I knew. 
And I could not go back to not knowing.
After meeting these orphans, I could never again say that I didn’t know they existed or needed help.
 I knew that I had to do something; and that I needed to ask God what that something was.  It turned out to be moving to be with them, which I had never even considered before.    Over the years my eyes have been opened to many more needs.  So many children have touched my heart and forced me to go to God again and again asking what my role should be.    The answer is different every time.
A few weeks ago, I was faced with another need, another hurting child, another plea for help:
A girl from the orphanage came up to me and quietly asked  if we could talk in private.   I agreed.  Later that day as all the kids walked from camp to a nearby park, Emily and I hung to the back of the bunch and she presented her request:  “Can you please find me a family?  I really really want to be adopted and have a family! I don’t have anything here.  I don’t have any relatives.  I don’t have a future.  I want to have a family!”
 It is so hard for me to respond to this question.   Everything in me cries out that Emily should have a family; that no child should have to plead for someone to love her.   We talked awhile and I explained to her that being adopted is not so easy, that it is hard to adjust to being in a family, following rules, learning English etc.  She said that she knew and would do her best to make it work, if only she could just have a family. 
I have known Emily for several years but have never really been close to her.  She is a nice girl.  She is confident, smart, and has many friends and I am usually more drawn to the quiet, shy kids who are ignored and end up in the background all the time.  But now here she was, begging in the only way she knew how for the one thing she longs for more than anything else - a family. 
Now I knew.
I knew more than the general knowledge that all kids dream of being adopted.   I heard the words come out of Emily's mouth.  I saw the look in her eyes as she talked about being adopted.  I saw the fear as she thought of what it would mean to stay here without a family.  Now I really knew and it was time for me to ask God again what I was to do with this knowledge. 
I hadn’t planned to write or tell others about Emily but then this conversation happened, and I couldn’t pretend that it didn’t.  An orphan shared her deepest wish with me, and now I share it with you . . ."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Camp in Ukraine

The following is a report from one of our indigenous missionaries in Ukraine who cares for orphans.  If you are interested in supporting her ministry, please contact me.

It's been more than  a week since our first camp in the village orphanage was finished.

A few days after camp was over I felt I wanted to go there again and make another camp. God shows me how much spiritual contribution these children need. They need my time, need friends who visit them, talk and play with them.

This was the first  time in my life when it was my responsibility to organise, set up things and coordinate the camp.  It's not easy for sure.
But the best thing about it is to be used completely for serving those children in His Name.

The huge blessing for our team  was freedom to share Gospel with the children (there were 60 children) and with the staff of the orphanage(around 30 people) and freedom to pray with the children and teach them Bible verses.

The principal and his assistant were very favourable to us.

The camp expenses were fully covered by our church and by a few individuals. This is also a big blessing that Ukrainian people give money to this ministry. I think for Ukrainians it's not usual.

The theme of our camp was "True Friendship with God".
Every day we took a new Bible story: on Monday - Adam and Eve and their friendship with the Creator and disobedience, on Tuesday-True friendship David and Jonathan, on Wednesday-Friendship and jealousy between Jacob and Esau, on Thursday-Fear and distrust in God (story about Jonah), on Friday-a summary.

Children were excited to hear so many interesting Bible stories completely new for them. They enjoyed learning Bible verses and getting scores for that. They were told that on Friday they would have a chance to go to the "fair market" and buy all they want with their scores. Things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, toys, stationary, candies, T-shirts.

Also what children enjoyed doing for most is playing general camp games. In those games everybody was involved and the game lasted for about one hour. We had a few games with water, which they liked very much since it was hot almost all camp.
On night programs they liked our skits and group fellowships (the time when the leader  and his children share the impressions of the day and talk about God).

Also they liked morning exercises  to the music "Every move I make in you, Jesus".
We had much interesting stuff for them to keep them busy, excited and involved.

Most of these children in the camp were with some light mental disabilities - slow to understand, focus, learn by heart.
Despite all that they they could feel and realise our good attitude to them and sincere care.

Our team spent 5 days and 4 nights in the children's dorm along with the children. We had 11 people in the team and every other day we had new people coming to help. Every evening we had a new special guest from the city who spoke on topics of friendship with God and with people.
Children didn't believe us when they heard that we would stay with them for 5 days and would sleep with them in their rooms and next door to them. 

Nobody ever did that.

We learned some stories about some children  from their teachers and governesses.
We learned so much information from these children and their life that we couldn't get during the whole year of our visits to them on Saturdays.
God let us know so that we could keep these children in our prayers and be willing to serve them even more.

One boy named V was raped by his father when he was little. He and his other 2 brothers and one sister also study together in this boarding school. He is very cute and nice. V was one of the greatest helpers for our team in the camp. He knew where to get things for us, to find ways for us to do some things. He was fast to learn and showed us how to serve others.

One girl named N cannot speak. Her mom wanted to hide the fact that she was pregnant, that's why she tied her belly to look slimmer. In such a way she blocked some nerves of her not yet born-baby. And when she gave birth to N, she realised what a damage she brought to her child. N could not speak.
These two stories were the most terrifying for me.
It shows they need us.
On the last day of the camp the principal thanked us and invited us again. 

This camp happened because of God's will and direction. The Gospel was shared freely and children had open hearts to receive it. On Thursday night 7 teenagers professed Jesus as their Savior and  many children prayed. We don't know how deep they got the Gospel but we believe they want God to be their friend.

We had a great time in the camp learning from God ourselves how to love practically not by words but mostly by acts.

And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Karina!

Today is Karina's birthday and we praise God for giving her another birthday and that she is with us on this birthday.  It is truly a sweet day.  It is also a reminder of where she would be this summer if she had not been adopted and a reminder of what is to become of some of her friends.  Many of them will not return to the orphanage at the end of this summer and from their communications with Karina, some of them do not know where they will end up.  We hope to visit them soon.  Please be in prayer for those orphans who age out of the orphanages across Ukraine this summer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Report from Ukraine

 This is the latest report from one of our missionaries on the field in Ukraine.
Thank you very much for supporting my ministry to the children in the orphanages.
Praise the Lord that He gives me health, time, money resources, prayers and support of many people.  He blesses me with everything I need for my ministry.
Last Saturday we spent time with children in the village orphanage and it was a really good time of playing with them, telling them how God created this universe for us to enjoy it and take care of it.  Our practical craft was planting beans in the plastic glasses.  Children enjoyed that very much.  The children get excited every time they see us and they take us by the hand and ask many questions.  They ask so many questions we must be flexible with our schedule.
We're fine about that and very often at our planning when we share our impressions and things we achieved we often laugh because most of the time we spend listening to them, which is so great.
Would you please pray for the doors in this village orphanage to be kept on be open for us as always and that we'll be allowed to make a camp for children.