In her early 70's Grandma Lela left her home in the States for Ukraine so that she could show orphans the love of Jesus. The first time Lela saw Karina, our daughter was trying to read but could barely see the words on the pages of the book. Grandma watched as Karina held the book close against her face so that her eyes could see what was there. Grandma walked over to Karina, gave her a hug, told her she loved her and took her to the eye doctor.
That was about eight years ago.
God used Grandma Lela to help Karina see both physically and spiritually as she not only bought glasses for Karina but told her about the love of Jesus. Lela told me one time that she left family and home to care for those that had no family and home and to tell them about Jesus.
The first day Sheila and I met Lela she was sitting on a couch in the playroom at the orphanage and one by one boys and girls would give her a hug and kiss.
"Does Grandma Lela love you small, small?" she would ask the children.
"No! Grandma Lela loves me big, big!" they would respond.
She loved on every child... and every child loved on her.
As we watched her interact with the kids we thought, "What a woman!" In the words of a fourteen year old former orphan, "She could have retired and done nothing with her life or just taken care of herself. Instead she gave herself to us."
It is an honor to know her.
Lela had to leave Ukraine not long after we adopted Karina because of medical reasons and a few weeks ago several of the children that she ministered to came to visit her.
As each child came to her she told them, "I love you!"
And they responded, "We love you Grandma, Lela!"
Grandma went to be with Jesus this past week.
We are so thankful for her, we praise God for her and we pray that God would raise up many more Grandma Lela's.
For many orphans, she was the first person to show them Jesus.
I imagine Jesus telling Grandma, "Lela, I love you big, big!"
By God's grace we desire to live our life to serve and glorify Jesus. He is our treasure. He is the one we trust. He is the one we love.
We are a family of eight praying that God will use us to minister to orphans around the world and encourage Christians to reach out in mercy to orphans. At home we serve with Palmer Home for Children. Palmer Home is a ministry to children who are growing up as social orphans without the nurture and support of a loving family. Palmer provides a stable, Christ-centered home for these children. Internationally we serve with Share the Hope. Share the Hope ministers to orphans around the world. Both at home and around the world we proclaim good news of Jesus Christ and reach out in mercy to these precious children. We hope that this blog is a testimony to you of God's mighty hand and that you are encouraged to serve Jesus with all your heart and to reach out to orphans.
Matthew, Sheila, Karina, Harrison, Isaac, Noah, Storey Grace and James!