Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One Door Closes...Another Opens

While we were in Kherson region 2 weeks ago, we had planned to visit both of the orphanages we worked with at summer camp. We had the afternoon on Friday in Stari Zburivka (see post below) and then the next day planned to drive to an orphanage in Kalinenska. Well after a 2 hour drive on a road to what seemed like nowhere (I seriously wish I'd taken pictures of this road) we arrived at our destination...so we thought. After an 8 hour drive from Kiev to Kherson and then the 2 hour drive to the orphanage we were more than ready to see these kids.

We show up. Door Closes. The director apparently never got the message that we were supposed to come (gotta love the power they like to use) and said the children could not have visitors--they had other things to be doing. There was lots of begging (and praying), even telling her about the gifts we brought. Nope. Still wouldn't budge. This was one of those "this isn't fair" moments that seem to happen too often in life...sometimes even more it seems like in Ukraine.
So here we were, 9 of us from Kiev, wondering what we should do. Drive back to Kiev after all this time and money spent getting here? This was not the plan!! Then through two missionary girls we met in the village (serving with a partner ministry of ours) we learned of another orphanage in this same village. One small village- 2 big orphanages--again-- something else that just isn't right. Now honestly, at this point we were all still pretty disappointed, as we wanted to see OUR kids-- not drive all this way to just "show up" and be with kids we'd never met.
But that in the end is what we did. We showed up- pulled out some basketballs and soccer balls and just started playing. The kids loved it! We were quickly their new best friends. We played for about an hour or two with the kids and then it was time to get back on the road to Kiev, as we wanted to head out while there was still some light. Anya and Boguslava, the two missionary girls begged us to stay the night with them in their little home (remember there are 9 of us). The new kids we befriended at this orphanage were begging us to stay as well. But common sense was telling us to get on the road (and my mind was thinking of my comfortable bed back in Kiev!). So that was that, we said our goodbyes and all piled back into the van.

As we were driving down the road away from the village of Kalinenska, I couldn't help but think deep down- why did we come? What was the purpose of this trip? Maybe we missed something. Maybe we were supposed to spend time with the missionary girls- or more time with the kids. I turned to my friend Galina, "were we supposed to stay?" I whisper. She looks at me, a smile widdening on her face. "I think so." "Well is it too late to turn around?" We tell the driver to stop driving and then turn to our other friends in the van-- "guys, I think the Holy Spirit is whispering something right now...I think we are supposed to go back." (This is the best part)-- my friend Anton smiles and says, "you know, I was thinking the same thing-- I was just thinking of my warm bed back in Kiev and how I wanted to be comfortable-- but I think we are supposed to stay too." "Okay Kolya, turn this car around- we are going back." We called our missionary friends and said to set the table-- we were staying after all. Squeels of joy came echoing out of the phone. To say they were excited would be an understatement. Turns out there aren't any Christians in this village- so these girls really don't ever have a chance to fellowship with other belivers.

So we stayed. We headed back to the orphanage just in time to watch their fall festival and competition for "Miss Autumn"..too bad it wasn't "Miss Spring"- maybe then I could have won! (I know- bad joke.) Anyway, we had a wonderful evening with Anya and Boguslava and were so blessed by them and their ministry. They live in this middle of nowhere town to minister to the needs of the orphans and are doing so with such joy! I was really encouraged by their faith and their hearts.

I slept really good that night too--probably better than I would have in my "comfortable" bed in Kiev!

Enjoying a meal at the home of Anya and Boguslava

Our team with Anya and Boguslava


Debbie said...

Oh, wow! Slava Bogu! (Love the name Boguslava and how it praises the Lord!) God is a master at opening the doors He has in mind for you. Now you have another group of children to minister to and the missionary girls got to have some Christian fellowship. I love it! I hope when we come to Ukraine we can meet you. You have such wonderful stories of God's goodness to tell!

Annie said...

I was also just thinking that I love the name Boguslava.... Also, I am wondering what church you are associated with. I am so drawn to your Spirit-led way of being. I think this is why God created Church - so we could live with, and encourage one another. Our American society surely makes that difficult, even for believers.