Saturday, June 19, 2010

Heading back to the village

We leave tonight to Kherson region for a 10 day camp for the 65 kids at the Kolinenska orphanage. This is where we did a camp last year as well, and the kids have been begging and calling all year for our team to come back! I'm just thrilled to know that we are able to make that happen and we will be there by tomorrow evening!

Please keep us in your prayers over the next 10 days...and that ultimately God would work through us to touch the lives of these kids in a way that only He can. We are expectant that He will.

This is Tanya...she is the face that remains in my mind more than any other from last year. I can't wait to see her again and see how she is doing and learn what she is thinking about. Yet at the same time the hardest part about going back is realizing that she is STILL there. These kids have been trapped in the same place for the last year. As I have had the freedom to do so much and make so many choices--she has been there in the same tiny village, behind the same orphanage gates. We go back with a year full of different experiences...and they have remained--waiting for us to come back for a whole year. That is what breaks my heart more then anything--and I still struggle with our role in all of it...

Our team is made up of 15 young people...mostly Ukrainians, plus myself- the token 'American' and my friend Jenny, our token 'Brit.' As always, it should be an adventure.

Well, signing off for a couple of weeks...and will report more when we return!

Friday, June 18, 2010


I was able to go to bella Italia with my friend Julie for a few day getaway last week...just a little good italian food and sunshine was what we needed before we gear up for summer camps and good ol Ukrainian kasha!

I just adore the colors in Italy and the charm...and of course the food! We were able to go to Venice and the Cinque Terre. If anyone wants an amazing vacation spot the Cinque Terre is the place to be! They are five little Italian Villages on the Italian Riveria coast...simply breathtaking and there is a 7 mile hike through all five villages-- from hill top to hill top-- a great workout and photography heaven! Here are a few photographic moments from the trip....


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Goodbye to the blue chair

Today I said goodbye to a little corner of my apartment that has been a very special place to me for the last nearly 4 years.

The corner with the blue chair...

As I was packing up my things this week and reflecting on what has happened in my life over the last few years, my eyes focused in on that chair. It isn't fancy, or lovely or any work of craftsmanship. It is just an old chair that belongs to my landlord.

But as I stared at that old chair, I was struck by the number of moments contained in a single piece of furniture. That chair has served as my quiet place of refuge.

The chair is a reminder of the journey I've been on with the Lord. The first year in my apartment I cried in that chair on numerous occasions- so overwhelmed and at times wondering, "Lord, what am I doing here?? I want to go home!"

I would fall into that chair upon returning from a trip to the US, call my parents and cry on their distant shoulders, aching with homesickness and wondering if I should have just stayed.

In that chair I have laughed in the company of dear friends as we have chatted about life and love and Jesus.

I have shared my heart from that chair as Bible studies have gathered in my home, or as adoptive families have passed through Kiev and stayed a night or two.

In that chair I have read and prayed and developed a deeper love for God's word. I have also been confused, and perplexed, and challenged. I have asked God many questions from that chair. Pages upon pages in my journal have been scribbled as I've sat with my morning coffee balanced on the arm, cuddled up in a blanket and my feet pressed up against the radiator.

I know it is just a piece of furniture, but I had this tinge of sadness as I walked out of the room today for the last time and glanced at the bright blue chair, now devoid of the welcoming red pillow and fuzzy blanket. I felt silly for being sad, but I think what I realized in that moment was that I was closing the chapter on this little part of my Kiev life and stepping into something new-- and that's a little scary. In some respects it would be easier to just stay curled up in my blue chair, because it is safe there- it has become comfortable and familiar.

But in that moment of being tempted to stay, I was reminded of a section of Isaiah that reads :

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do a brand new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert...yes, I will make springs in the desert, so that my chosen people can be refreshed." Isaiah 43: 18-20 (NLT)

Yes, God is doing a new thing. I can see that. Letting go of the blue chair is just a tiny tiny step of faith in that direction. Because in reality, a relationship with the Lord can't ever be confined to the corner of any room.

Isn't my moving helper pretty cute?