Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rallying the Troops in Kiev

The Eastern European Summit on Defending the Orphan that took place last week was a huge success!  I would have written more about it last week, but between playing hostess to our wonderful foreign guests and catching an awful cold I was exhausted!  I'm just now stopping to reflect on what an amazing week it really was.

530 Christian pastors and ministry leaders from Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Belarus, Romania and other nations were all in one room for 2 days hearing from a cross section of Baptist, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox leaders.  If you know this country-- you know that this fact alone is no small feat!

A region that can often be so divided by denominational differences was instead united under one cause-- to see Eastern European Christians rise up and care for the fatherless in their land.

To see this cross section of leaders, all sharing the stage together on the opening day, sharing their heart for their nations and then together praying the Lord's prayer was a beautiful site to see.

We had the privilege of having some great leaders from the US share their hearts and experience as well, and from the response we received, we know that those who were listening were both challenged and encouraged.  Sometimes it is hard to evaluate a big event like a summit or a conference-- I think it takes time to see what God will do and how these leaders will go back to their churches and regions and influence the climate.  But I have no doubt that God is doing something.

And what would a big event like this be without a little bit of controversy??   Some fringe Catholic group (that the Catholic church doesn't recognize) from Russia decided they would come out to protest the event. Holding signs and passing out literature opposing the summit, a group of about 20 or so gathered outside the conference hall the first day-- saying our group was propagating child selling and worse. Another reminder about the war against children and the spiritual battle we are facing.

protestors being filmed by our CBN news team
sad that they didn't come and listen to the heart of our messages!
Wess Stafford giving a powerful message on the importance of one minute in the life of a child.

I left my camera at home the 2 days of the Summit- so these photos are all thanks to our awesome CBN News correspondent, George Thomas. George came to film a story surrounding the events of the summit and the movement taking place among Christian leaders in the realm of adoption and orphan care.  I'll look forward to sharing that piece with you once it is produced!

Now I'm off for a few days to take a break...and it involves tea, scones, the Queen and a wedding!  More on that later...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Defending the Orphan- Changing the Future: Summit in Ukraine

This week kicks off an amazing event in Ukraine-- the Eastern European Summit for Pastor's: Defending the Orphan- Changing the Future.  My team with Orphan's Promise has been privledged to be part of the organizational team for this great event that is being put on by the Alliance for Ukraine without Orphans and is being sponsored in part by Compassion International and Christian Vision.

The Summit is a 2 day event in Kiev where we are gathering pastors and major Christian leaders from Ukraine and neighboring countries to talk about the role of the local church in caring for the fatherless.

It is an exciting time for this event to be taking place in light of the recent ban on adoptions in Russia. All the more reason for nationals to be motivated to adopt!

There are many grass roots movements happening here in Ukraine and more and more national families are stepping out in faith to engage this topic through orphan care and adoption and I believe this summit will bring more encouragement to these efforts.

Tonight we had a gathering of about 45 special guests that are here for the event as speakers, workshop leaders and support staff.  We are honored to be hosting Wess Stafford from Compassion International who will be a keynote speaker and a team from FamilyLife's Hope for Orphans.  Looking around the room tonight you could clearly see the synergy (plus a little jet lag!) of those who are passionate about bringing change to this nation.  To see that Ukraine will become a nation without orphans.

We have 530 people registered to attend this amazing event and are excited for what God will do through this time as Pastor's are challenged and encouraged to become involved in caring for orphans.

To learn more about the summit and see who are the speakers and workshop leaders you can visit our website: http://www.summit2013.kiev.ua/en

I'll report back with more later in the week...