Friday, December 12, 2008

Coffee with Svetlana; Lunch with Lela

Today Karina was in the art room drawing a combine...yes, a John Deere looking combine that seemed as if it was moving through the Mississippi Delta...have not seen one here in Ukraine, yet.
Her art teacher is a wonderful lady named Svetlana who accompanied Karina this summer in the States.  It has been good to see Sveta, as we call her, and see the love she has for these children.  
I am not much of a coffee drinker but Sveta made some for us during art class and it was probably the best regular coffee I have ever tasted (I say regular because sweets are my weakness and it is hard to beat a fancy frappacino - and then there was the coffee at John's - my brother - that was poured over two scoops of natural vanilla bean ice cream...let me get back to art class).

Our daughter, Karina is very artistic.  She sings, draws, paints, makes crafts, knits, cross stiches and crochets...things I have never thought much about and surely was not interested in...but something about this journey we are on can change a man.  So...since yesterday I taught the boys how to play American football, today I decided to hang out in art class with my artistic daughter and get to know one of her talents:  Knitting.
Yep...I knitted.  Jay, if you can carry around a man purse...I can knit with my daughter.  (Tomorrow we should both go play football and get dirty or something.)
It took a while to catch on to all the ups, downs, turns and pulls but after some time I thought I had it down.  After a while of twists and turns with these long, thin needle looking apparatuses, something began to take shape.  Proudly I held it up and one of the boys came over to me just shaking his head.  He looked at my blue scarf for several seconds, laughed, pulled a string...and the entire "scarf" turned back into the blue yarn I had before beginning the tedious art work.  I will try again.  Maybe before leaving Ukraine I will have the art of scarf making mastered...or at least make a scarf that does not fall apart.  These boys are much better at it than I am:

We were not able to see Karina for very long today and it was hard for all three of us to say good bye to each other...she longs for the day we take her instead of leaving day soon, dear day soon.

Grandma Lela came to the orphanage and we joined her for lunch.  What a joy this woman of God is and what a blessing to see and hear the wondrous work of God's Almighty hand in her life.  At lunch we learned more of her life it was one of her son's that encouraged her to go on a short term mission trip...she never went back home...that was almost 15 years ago.  Oh, and she is 83...not 82 as I wrote in another post.  She told us how her husband saw her as she worked as a bookkeeper in a department store and he asked her to eat a meal with her.  She went along, married and had two boys and one girl.  Her husband and daughter are in heaven (with our dear friend, Mr. Broomfield who went yesterday - Lynn, from the other side of the world you have our prayers and love and support!).
Lela told us how once she saw all the children in the orphanages she could not leave them.  She told us once again how much she loved her own children, grand children and great grand children but that they had someone to hug them and kiss them and tuck them in at night...but these orphans did not...she had to be that person until every one had a family of their own.  

She told of a boy that she met in the orphanage and she said to him, "I love you."

The boy began crying and with tears streaming down his face he said, "Grandma, no one has ever told me they loved me in my entire life.  No one.  No one has ever loved me.  Do you really love me?"

"Yes, I love you, dear boy!"

"Thank you, Grandma.  Thank you for loving me."
From  that moment on, Grandma Lela told every orphan she met that she loved him or her...and for many of these children, Grandma is the only one that has ever told that they are loved...for some, no one else on this earth ever will say those words to them.
We thank God for Grandma Lela and we thank God for the families that are here in Odessa with us working through this long adoption process...we thank God for those that have gone before us...and we thank Him for those that are coming after us.  For those of you that are home with your children, for those that are here with us and for those that will soon come, you are in our prayers.  As we read your blogs and heard your stories we were encouraged by your faith and now as we, also, must live out this journey of faith, we are encouraged even more by you.    Thank you for your sacrificial example to us...
"...but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  Philippians 2:7-8  How much more did Christ sacrifice for us.

Lunch with Lela was delicious - chicken, fries, tomatoes, cucumbers, some kind of thinly sliced cabbage...maybe?...but it was also nourishing in another way.  Our souls are nourished as we witness a woman committed to serving the LORD and committed to the great commission.  
She told us that she was told not to preach:  "Lela, you cannot preach to anyone!"

"I do not preach."  said Lela...

"All I do is tell them about Jesus...and give them Bibles...and I pray."

As Sheila and I got out of her van she said, "Do not forget to pray that my job will be over soon."
Her job is over when these children that she prays for are home with their families.
"I have been praying for Karina since she was in first grade."  Lela said.  "You do not know how good it is to see that prayer answered."

"Thank you for praying us to Ukraine, Grandma Lela."

How many more will be prayed to Ukraine by this woman?


  1. OK, today you all have me in tears again. I am so burdened for these kids and am so thankful for Babushka Lela. Before we even knew who we would adopt one day, I was praying that God would surround our children with people who would tell them about Himself. He is so faithful to answer our prayers! I praise Him so much for bringing you to gather Karina into your family.

    Thank you for the pictures of our girl, too. Some day I would love to have larger versions--LOL! What a blessing to have you there to spend time with her. We pray earnestly that we can be there in the spring to adopt her!

  2. Man, I loved that art room. It was my favorite room in whole orphanage. I love Svetlana, and I miss her so much. Can you tell her that, please.

    God bless you my friends.