Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sweet Reunion

Last weekend I traveled south with 3 friends to reconnect with some of the kids who were at our July camp in the Nikolaev region. The kids we came to visit live in 2 different orphanages in the region. We had promised all fall that we would come...and it always feels great to keep a promise!

The visits were short, but I have to say the 9 hour train ride and 11 hour bus ride home were worth the sweet hugs and smiles we received. I think what will never cease to blow my mind is how much these simple visits mean to them. I use the word kids loosely too, as Lina is already 18. And yet at 18 she still held on tightly to me and cried as we said our goodbyes.
For those of you that remember, Lina
was the girl I wrote about this last August, the girl who I was able to pray with and who I was able to give a Bible to. She has a very sweet and gentle spirit and just a heart to love others- which is so apparent in the way all the little kids in the orphanage come running up to her and throw their arms around her! Please keep Lina in your prayers and that she will continue to seek out a deeper understanding of what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. She has such a tender heart and great dreams for her future, so I am really praying she will be used by God.

And since this is Ukraine, we did manage to add a little bit of drama on our weekend trip as well. We showed up at the second orphanage on Sunday (after riding on a bus 5.5 hours to get to the middle of nowhere location) and were planning on spending the afternoon hanging out with girls that my friend Yulia had gotten to know from her group at the camp. But there was a little bit of a mix-up in the fact that the director wasn't made aware of our arrival and thus after 30 minutes of hanging out with the girls we were kicked out. So sad! I know the directors have the right to decide who does and who doesn't get to be on their territory, but given the fact that we had come all the way from Kiev I thought she might have a little bit of mercy.

But again, this is Ukraine. Mercy not usually given.

But I have to say the 30 minutes we spent with the girls were very precious and so were all the smiles the kids had when they realized how far Yulia had come to see them. So we said our quick goodbyes, handed out a few gifts as the director gazed on with her eyes that seemed to say, 'I told you to leave!' and headed back from whence we came. We trekked back down our deserted road in the middle of nowhere and found a bus to take us to another little town where we could catch another 6 hour bus back to Kiev. All in a day's work I must say!

Anyone considering a visit anytime soon?? I promise there is always some adventure waiting to happen around here! Not to mention some pretty sweet kids who are sure to make you fall in love with them real fast.

Great place to wait for a bus...


Natasha said...

Awh - really? She kicked you out after 30 minutes? That's sad...
Ha - when I first glanced at the picture of the bus stop, I thought it looked like one of those bathrooms. :)
It was so great talking to you this week - we need to do it more often!

Evie's Story said...

Bless your heart...what an excursion!
I'm loving your chic hat darling! When can we talk?

Hugs n' prayers n' missin' you!

Tami said...

I've been reading your blog for a long time, but I'm not sure I've ever posted before. ;)
How sad that you weren't able to stay very long, but I'm glad you made yourself available to God to touch the kids lives, even if it was only for 30 minutes! :) Sunday School class is considering a mission trip to Ukraine sometime in the next year. My husband and I brought our youngest daughter, Ellie home from Odessa, Ukraine just a little over two years ago. Ever since, our small church has had a growing burden for these precious children. We'd love to talk to you about how we can be of service.
six sunflower seeds at gmail dot com