"May the God of hope fill you with all joy, and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
I first came to Kiev, Ukraine in October of 2004 for what I thought would be an 8-month 'experience' abroad as I came to live with my relatives who have been ministering in Ukraine since the early 90's. But as the story often goes... here I am, many years later! God clearly had a different plan for me...one I never would have imagined for myself, but one I would never change.
In November of 2004 I visited a Ukrainian orphanage in Berdyansk, Ukraine. It was there that God burdened my heart for the orphans of this nation- specifically older kids that were beyond the age that most families consider for adoption.
As I sat in the dimly lit hallway one late evening with a group of 12-year-old girls (with whom I could hardly communicate), my heart was touched by their vibrancy and at the same time by their vulnerability in what lay ahead of them. That evening I began to understand God's heart for the orphan in a new way and also saw that He might have a longer term plan for me in Ukraine.
I have a passion to see children adopted into loving families where they can experience healing and also a passion to see the body of Christ mobilized and encouraged in the realm of orphan care and adoption.
Day to day I am working with Orphan's Promise, a project of CBN and oversee the many projects we have going on in Ukraine and in other former Soviet countries. Our main focuses here in Ukraine are life skills training and mentorship for older orphans, camp ministries, advocacy for national adoptions and providing resources and training events for adoptive families in Ukraine. It has been amazing to see the various ways God has been expanding our work and the precious lives that have been helped as a result.
My prayer is that my life and ministry in Ukraine would ultimately bring glory to my heavenly Father. Without His strength, without His compassion, without His love, I would have given up long ago.
This blog is called "Beauty from the Ashes" because it reminds me of who Jesus is - how he is actively restoring beauty to the dark places in all of our lives and redeeming our hurts. I have seen that hurt and darkness amplified in these children as I have heard their stories, and the evil things their eyes have already seen- and the utter abandonment that they often feel. My prayer is that Jesus not only provides families, but brings healing to their lives. So follow along and join me on this adventure of letting Jesus restore beauty!
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
|2004- Berdyansk, Ukraine|