Friday, September 30, 2011

Goodbye to a dear friend....

One thing I've gotten pretty good at over the years is saying 'goodbye.'  Even though I perhaps have gotten good at saying the words, I can't say that goodbyes are ever easy! But it seems to be a big part of living internationally...the ever changing community.

This week we said goodbye to our dear friend Yulia who has served faithfully on my team for the past 5 years!  2 weeks ago Yulia married a great Christian guy from Lebanon and is now beginning her new life with him!!

We had quite the wedding celebration on September 17th which was a real blend of cultures.  A Ukrainian girl marrying a Lebanese guy, an Australian pastor, and an American event coordinator!  It made for a real international event and a lovely celebration.

Galina, Yulia and I have all worked together on the Gift of Adoption project (a project of Orphan's Promise) for the past 5 years.  Yulia has been a valuable part of our team and has quite the soft spot in her heart for the kids here.  She has taken nearly 30 kids to the US on hosting trips and as a result has developed meaningful relationships with countless children and has advocated for many to find families.  I have always been amazed at how she would invest in the lives of these kids, with regular phone calls and visits, and occasionally taking a child home for the weekend to get a break from the orphanage.  Yulia has been a fighter for the fatherless.

When I think of my years spent ministering with Yulia so many memories come to mind.  Numerous orphanage visits, our summers spent traipsing around Ukraine to various summer camps, organizing fancy conferences, talking on radio programs, drinking hundreds of cups of tea in our office (that could be an understatement) and simply sharing our lives together.  It is a gift to work along side dear friends who share a common passion and vision. Work no longer seems like work, instead we have been sisters in Christ, fighting in the same battle and coming before the Lord on behalf of his children!

You will be missed my dear sister!  But we know the Lord has exciting things before you as you enter this new season of life! I know you will go on to love whatever children God puts in front of you!  Thank you for the service you gave to us and for your friendship....

Yulia & Khalil on their wedding day.

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