Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Love for Orphans

Who can hold the stars AND my weary heart? 
Who can see everything?
I've fallen so hard, sometimes I feel so far
But not beyond your reach.

I could climb a mountain - swim the ocean or do anything
but it's when you hold me that I start unfolding
And all I can say is 

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing Hallelujah

The same sun, rises over castles  
and welcomes the day  
spills over buildings into the streets where orphans play

And only you can see the good
in broken things.
You took my heart of stone and you made it home
And set this prisoner free.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing Hallelujah.

I dearly love these lyrics by Bethany Dillon.  Life is scary, sometimes...scratch that, life is scary all the time - we just are more aware of the scariness sometimes.  You can talk to a handful of people and at any given time, more than likely, at least one of them will be going through something difficult.  Praise God that He is there for us.  He knows the outcome - he knows what we need - he knows how to comfort us. 
Sometimes, I stop and ask God "why me?" and today when I did that, he sent me this song. =) And while listening to this song, I am reminded that what I am going through and will go through is nothing compared to what the children I saw in Ukraine go through every single day. and it is absolutely nothing compared to what Jesus went through to save me, so that I have the opportunity to live this life that I sometimes find "hard." so...now that God has wrapped his arms around me and comforted me - I can share with you about those orphans in Ukraine =) Which was my primary purpose for sitting down at the computer before that song came on.  This may take a while, so just sit back and relax!

This is on our first full day. We were in the town of Sevastopol, Ukraine.  It is considered the tourist destination of Ukraine since it is on the Black Sea.  It truly was a beautiful town and area. 


Above are some pictures from the orphanage the first day we got to visit.  The outside areas were very run down and dilapidated.  There are two orphanages in this one city and the one we were at - "Orphanage #2" is the one where the "bad kids" get sent and so it receive minimal care and funding.  We got to spend some time with the younger girls there.  They all share one bedroom with a bunch of toddler size beds and one community room right outside of it. As you can see from the picture, maybe, only one of the girls even resembles a toddler and she actually isn't one.  I do not know how they sleep in those beds.  The bedroom pictured is one of the older boys rooms.  Once they hit a certain age they move into a dorm style room, only about 1/4 of the size of a dorm room.

The next day, we got to work giving the play equipment and little tlc.  The kids were constantly coming and taking the paint brushes out of our hands and copying us.  Despite the language barrier, they were quite efficient at letting us know they were going to help! See that paint can in the far right picture? Take a gooood look at it.  Memorize what it looks like.  If you ever see it, turn around and run the other direction.  It was pretty much colored glue that will make you high.  And stick to everything it gets close to. Including hair. A month later, I still have memories of that backboard in my hair. 

 ok i'm giving up on trying to put these pictures in any kind of format! That afternoon, the kids put on a play for us and then threw a party afterwards.  Apparently, this is a once a year kind of deal and all of the kids look forward to it.  They had a blast! Pure joy was on everyone's face as they danced and sang and dragged us in to join them.

One evening, we got to meet up with some girls who had aged out of the orphanage.  They took us to this little town right on the Black Sea.  We hiked up to the top of this "hill" following these ruins that date back to 100 A.D.  Don't ask me what they are ruins of - haven't a clue.  And apparently neither does anyone there.

No matter what they are from, the view was gorgeous! This is the Black Sea. How beautiful.

Since my wonderful husband was our photographer, he didn't make many shots; but we had to take one in front of this view!

 The next day, we went to the donkey farm. Yes, the donkey farm. It was a wonderful day spent with the kids, eating, riding donkeys, making crafts and hiking - more hiking. No wonder these kids are so skinny. Notice, the older lady in the picture just standing on the cliff like it's no big deal - no 5,000 ft. drop there behind you or anything. And then there's me. glued to the side of the rock as far away from the edge as possible.  In my defense, my shoes are old and have hardly any tread on them...
 This poor little girl has the same hair as me. She was a precious thing who wasn't afraid of anything! And who obviously isn't fond of pictures. She was so cute - she would turn around and give me her hand to help me up the steep parts. ha. sad, i know.

 And here is the last day.  the kids love their new playground equipment! The younger ones went straight for the swings and the older ones loved the volleyball net.  Something so small for us, yet is probably the best thing they'll get all year.

Crying. That pretty much sums up the last day.  Saying goodbye to kids we had only met a week ago, yet who had opened up their lives and hearts to us simply because we were willing to spend time with them.  They had no idea why we were there.  They didn't know we were simply sharing God's love with them.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will move in their hearts so that they may know Him and His love, that is so much greater than any joy we could give to them.  That was probably the hardest part of the whole week for me.  Spending this time with them, only to turn around and leave without sharing the gospel with them.  The language barrier and politics stopped us from verbalizing God to them, but hopefully our  service and love sparked their curiosity and planted a seed.