Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vorzel Team Pic and Continued Prayers

Here is a picture of the team of Americans and Ukrainians working this past week at the Orphanage in Vorzel. What an amazing group of people to share this experience with!

Please continue to pray for our team - Kati, Jeanette, Holly, and our new friend Larissa - who are serving this week with Almaz church at an outreach sports camp at another orphanage. In addition to conducting lessons, crafts, and games for younger kids, they will also have an opportunity to minister to older kids (up to age 18!). The living conditions at this camp are a little more ... rustic. Please pray for good health and safety, the opportunity to connect with the kids, and the opportunity to share the Gospel.

The team will return to Vorzel for a few days before returning home to the States on Saturday.

Vorzel Orphanage 2010, Ukraine

Check out this awesome video put together by one of our friends from Almaz Church! How could you not fall in love with these beautiful faces!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Half the team is safely home!

I am happy to report that four of us (myself, Erin, Michaela and Kerry) have returned to the US safely and WITHOUT incident this time! The trip over was quite an adventure, especially for Michaela and I who got separated from Erin and Kerry in Paris and missed our connection. Let me tell you, I am NOT a fan of Charles de Galle airport!! But God's hand was in it the whole time and He allowed us to have a very uneventful return trip home.

It's good to be home (ice! air conditioning! flushing the toilet paper! ice!) but also hard. I am missing Vorzel a lot, especially these faces!

Above is Yassa whom we worked with last year. It was amazing to see how much she has developed in a year's time!

This is Bagdon who has Down's Syndrome

Here's Sasha and Dima, who are brothers and may be adopted soon along with their older sister:

And this is Vika, who completely stole my heart...

How can you not love that face! I almost put her in my carry-on suitcase to take home with me :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

the Kids!

Since Monday morning, we have been spending time with the kids. We have split off into 2 groups and in the morning one group goes to Building 3 and the other to Building 5 and then in the afternoon we switch. We get to spend about 2 to 2 1/2 hours with the kids each time. They get to excited to see us as we walk up the sidewalk to the front porch and when we leave they say "bye bye". It is so cute to hear them speaking English. (Of course, they are teaching us Ukrainian as well.) Much of our time is spent just playing, walking around the yard, looking at books, sliding, and swinging. Today we got out the tatoos which they loved. We have of course had our challenges with the language barrier but at the same time playing with the kids can also cross any language barrier.

We have 3 goals during our time playing with the kids.
1. To share with them about God so that they know even if their parents have left them there ... God will never leave them.
2. To help them get adopted thru praying for them, telling others about them, etc.
3. To help with their physical & mental development so that when meeting prospective adopted families they will be socialized and outgoing towards loving strangers.

The picture above is Lena (Helen) one of our translators and Anya.

Ukraine - We're Loving It!

This post comes in the middle of our trip, but we wanted to share a little of our first few days in Ukraine. As with any international trip, there are always interesting stories to tell of traveling and the culture. These are just a few...

We left DC on Friday, July 17, and it was certainly an adventure. Our original plan was to take a flight to JFK and then a direct flight to Kiev. However, the plane we were supposed to depart on never made it to Dulles due to an "agent hitting the plane" with the skywalk accordian thing. Thankfully our Delta agent was in control, and more importantly God was in control. Our group was divided onto two seperate flights routed through Paris (insert Jeanette screaming "Paris!" in the middle of the airport) on Air France. The first group (Jeanette, Kati, Larissa, and Holly) were even upgraded to business class on their last leg! The second team (Kerry, Erin, Jess, and Michaela) had a little more of a challenge ... due to a very close connection in Paris and a very slow shuttle bus between terminals, the team was seperated and Jess and Michaela didn't make the connection! They made the next flight, however, and everyone was finally in Kiev. Our bags .... were not. Only one of the 16 checked bags arrived. The other bags were eventually located and delivered on Monday at 10:00 pm.

On Sunday we attended Almaz church in Kiev, where we were able to listen to the translated service through a headset. After church (about 2:00 pm) we took the metro into Kiev and ate at a delicious Ukrainian buffet. We then took a scenic boat-ride. Afterwards we stopped at McDonalds for icecream. While most of us avoid eating at McDonalds while in the States, a McDonalds in Ukraine means: a) airconditioning, b) a clean bathroom, c) berry McFlurries, and d) ice in our drinks. You could say we were loving it!

We are living in a sanitorium, or vacation estate in Vorzel that is within walking distance from the Orphanage. It is actually quite nice ... there are suites with several rooms, bathroom with toilet and shower, a working fridge, and 3 meals per day, featuring potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is also a public radio that plays a variety of pop music from 8 am to 10 pm.

We are very much enjoying getting to know our Ukrainian friends and translators and excited to share more with you about our work in the orphanage!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ukraine here we come!

As we finish up our last minute packing, our team would like to say THANKS to our family and friends for your support, donations, encouragement, and prayers! We have been truly overwhelmed and humbled by your generosity in giving. We have maxed out our luggage limit, with bags filled with clothes, toys, books, and supplies for the children and caregivers at the orphanage.

While these items will certainly help meet physical needs, we pray that our time in Ukraine will also meet emotional and spiritual needs of the children and staff. We want to support, love, and encourage them, being examples of God's heart for His people.

Please pray for our team's safety, health, and, of course, opportunities to be servants and ministers of God's love.

Saturday, July 3, 2010