Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Strength renewed!

 I'm overwhelmed with gratitude!  This past weekend our conference "Strengtheing Families" took place in Kiev at the Radisson hotel (who gave an amazing discount) and it was an unforgettable weekend for nearly 100 foster and adoptive couples from across Ukraine.  The couples that attended are parenting a total of 377 foster and adoptive children!


There is a growing movement of foster care and adoption among Christians in Ukraine, but to date, trainings and resources have been very limited.  This was our second conference we have hosted with the goal of providing resources and encouragement for these families, many of which are in the midst of very difficult circumstances.

To say that these families left feeling renewed and refreshed would be an understatement. If you can imagine, many of the couples in attendance were from  remote villages and had never been to Kiev, let alone had they eaten in a restaurant or stayed in a four star hotel! People were walking around wide-eyed and in gratitude all weekend-long and I've never heard thank you so many times! Part of the goal of the weekend was to pamper these couples, who work tirelessly day in and day out with little rest...and I think we succeeded in this goal.  The smiles on the faces throughout the weekend were simply amazing!

We were blessed to have a team of specialists and psychologists travel from the US and Canada to be a part of our event.  Seminars included, "Healing a Mother's Heart" ,"Strengthening Attachment through play", "The Biochemistry of Fear", "Strengthening Your Marriage" and "Learning the Essentials for Caring for Children with a History of Trauma" as well as others.

At one of the seminars

Team of speakers and organizers
Paul Pennington of Hope for Orphans, a ministry of Family Life, also partnered with us in the event and was the Saturday evening key-note speaker.  His ministry has a heart to see the church play the key role in solving the orphan crisis, and he brought great encouragement to our Ukrainian audience and challenged us all towards to bring the message back to our churches.


Here was some of the written feedback we got at the end of the conference.  Reading the response of the people who were there has really confirmed that we were doing just what God wanted us to do!

"We had never had time with other Christian foster parents and didn't understand the issues in our family that were happening and why. This time all together was so important. We know we are not alone.  For us being here was truly a miracle.  It was like a dream coming true. There simply are not words to describe the feelings of thankfulness that we have experienced."


"Such a conference lifted our wings and gave us the strength to go further.  We don't feel alone anymore.  Thank you for this gift, for the attention, for the smiles, for the kindness and for care that I have not seen anywhere else."

"These kind of conferences are really needed for instruction, strengthening, learning and support of our families.  We are grateful to God for the organization of this wonderful and helpful conference. God healed our hearts and gave us new strength. Thank you!"

"In going home we will forever remember and analzye everthing we learned and wrote down here. We have many people with whom we can share what we learned.  God bless you. We believe that through us God will continue to spread the revelation about adoption."

And none of this would have been possible with my AMAZING team that I get the privilege of working with everyday. Galina and Oksana are the angels in my office who are simply amazing at executing tasks and I would not be able to do what I do without them!  Both of them put in countless extra hours the week of the conference to make sure that it was an overwhelming success.




Thank you to all of you who gave towards this conference and who prayed for the families who'd be coming. God provided beyond our needs and I was amazed to see all the sources from which prayer and finances flowed. We had a moment of silence and prayer on the last morning and it was truly an indescribable moment. It was so evident that the Spirit of God was at work ministering the hearts of his children and there was hardly a dry eye in the room when I opened my eyes.  It's exciting to see God at work in the lives of these Ukrainian families and to know that hundreds of children will be reaping the benefits!

3 comments:

Mike and Christie said...

Wonderful news! May I share it on my blog?

Deanna Jones said...

You are awesome..this is awesome...

Clay said...

Karen, you are an amazing leader with a huge heart for those who are closest to the heart of the Father. What a powerful ministry!