Wednesday, October 29, 2008

3 Months Later...

It’s easy to write about the success of our summer camps- right after they have all taken place. There are always wonderful stories to share, happy children to show and testimonies to give about how God was at work.

But what happens to these kids later? How do these moments in the summer influence their future lives? How do these seeds of hope continue to grow? Do we stay in touch with them? Do we see them again? Do their lives really change? As you can see…a lot of questions remain.

Last weekend I went with 8 of our volunteers from summer, back to one of the two orphanages to pay the kids a visit and bring some encouragement (along with bags full of candy and some warm socks!) It was so great to see the kids—even if only for a couple hours.

I was especially excited to see Igor, one of the older boys who I hadn't gotten to know pretty well when we brought him to the US last year, and then even better through the summer camp. I brought him a book I thought he might like and we talked for awhile. As Igor reminisced about the camp he shared something that I thought was cool. He said that after the kids were at our camp they went on to another camp, and while they were there the staff didn't even learn their names, plan activities or teach them things. He said he enjoyed the camp we put on so much because it was obvious that we cared. Praise Jesus for this! Sometimes you wonder if the work really does make a difference, if the kids even notice…and then they go and have a total opposite experience, and you realize that yes, Jesus is working through us and the kids can feel the difference.
Another boy, Sasha, also from the same orphanage, has since gone on to a local trade. He heard about our visit and was really sad that he missed seeing all his “Kiev friends”—but he told my friend Yulia on the phone that he is still reading the Bible that one of the leaders gave him and that he is praying for us! Wow—he is praying for us!! He asked us to pray for him as well—a good reminder to be on my knees for these kids—if they think to pray for our team in Kiev, how can I not be reminded to pray for them?

So the answer to the above questions is in many ways yes. I can’t say that every child changes, or that every child sticks with the decisions he/she made. But I saw with my own eyes that seeds are growing, and kids are being encouraged and for that God deserves all the glory!


Debbie said...

Amen! I know that your efforts are rewarded by growth in these young ones. I still have many fond memories of camps I attended and of the encouragement I received there. Keep plugging away--God receives all the glory!

Mark and Kim said...

Karen it's great to find your blog (I emailed you about an orphanage in Kiev) Hopefully we may get to meet in the spring!!?!?! You are doing amazing work.

Kelly said...

Praise the Lord!! Looking fwd to seeing you this weekend! Praying for you as you go....and prepare! Love you friend!

Annie said...

What a very touching post.... Love and attention makes an amazing difference in every child.

Evie's Story said...

Praise God...seed sewn in faith WILL bear fruit! So grateful for you to have this encouragement.
Miss you friend. Still need a number I can call ya at:-)