While we Wait
I'm not the most patient person in the world and I am really not that good at waiting. But.....I'm waiting. What choice do I have? It takes about 3 weeks to hear from the SDA office once the dossier is turned it. Our dossier was turned in on the Monday after Thanksgiving. That seems forever ago when you're waiting to hear your "due date". Dima thinks our court date may be in January; I just can't WAIT to find out!
The thing about waiting is, I know God doesn't expect me to sit around doing nothing while I wait. Remember the story in the Bible where the followers of God sort of get scolded for sitting around looking in the heavens for Jesus to return? Yes, we are supposed to anticipate His return, but we better not just be sitting around looking up at the sky while we wait. Hang in there...I'm not comparing Luke to the return of Christ.... I'm just talking about waiting and doing nothing while we wait.
While we wait for our court date, God is unveiling more of His plan for a ministry that we feel He has been calling us to do in Ukraine. We have a burden for the kids who have aged out of the orphanage. We have come to know and love so many of these teenagers over the years because of our many trips to Ukraine. We have seen them try to survive after they graduate from the orphanage. They go to "college" (like high school) and live in a dorm or they go to a trade school. They receive money from the government to buy food and clothes but there is not really any emotional, spiritual, or loving support. There are some local churches and ministries that help them but there they need more help.
God has been blowing our minds lately with all the people He has put in our paths. Over the last few months we have met so many people who have, or are, adopting and who also have this same passion. I have met several people who have adopted "my kids" over the past several years and we have kept in touch. They have been encouraging me while I've been going through this paperwork process and they've been sending me blogs to read, which have also led me to meet more people. I have had some awesome phone conversations with people that I know God put in our paths for a purpose. We even talk about how God is bringing a picture into focus or bringing pieces of a puzzle together. Our church is also encouraging us on what God is doing and where He is directing.
One person that we are very much looking forward to talking to is a pastor, Clay Peck, in Colorado. I think I posted his web page and sermon link on an earlier blog. After reading his blog and listening to his sermon, we know his passion. The church where he pastor's has a transition house in Ukraine and they are starting a 2nd one. The transition house is a home where orphans may live once they age out of the orphanage.
In Odessa, where we are adopting, there is a home called House of Hope. It is a home for boys that was built by Harvest International. This was a dream of Babushka Lela's. If she were still alive, there would be a house for girls as well. The home is beautiful and has a Christian man and wife who help the boys live as a family and learn life skills. They go to school and then college and they will stay until they are finished with school. They learn about the Bible, the love of God, how to live as a family, and basic life skills. The home that the church in Colorado built does the same thing except that the kids move in after they graduate.
Everyone we are coming in contact with have this same desire......to minister to the teenagers who have no hope. The one's who have no family to run to for help with homework. The one's who have no one to go to when they have had a bad day. When the dorm is empty because the other kids go home to their families, these kids are still at the dorm with no one. They have no where to go do their laundry, and believe me, they do not have much in the way of laundry. I've actually seen kids leave summer camp because they have aged out and they leave with a small bag (like a Walmart bag). Not a full Walmart bag, mind you, but a small bag. That's all they have. Those who have adopted can attest to this as well. So imagine, if you will, if you were this 18 year old in college (my "college" Luke is 15) and you're in this dorm with other kids. There is no adult supervision. There is no one to motivate you or cheer you on. There is no one to guide you. No one to help you with your class work. No one to teach you how to cook or clean or sew. Oh, and did I mention, no one to keep your things from being stollen or to protect you?Maybe there is someone from church, and I pray there is, because I personally know people who are ministering to these kids, but imagine you are one that is missed by the church. You try to go to church but you only know about the Orthodox church and it leaves you empty and confused. You have never known unconditional love so you look for any kind of love. You do anything to keep from feeling the pain of loneliness and failure so you begin to drink and smoke. Drinking doesn't kill the pain any more so you move on to sniffing glue or doing drugs. Many of the teens end up dropping out of school and end up in prostitution or sex trafficking. They end up living on the streets and they do whatever one must do to survive the streets. Crime is a necessity. They end up in jail. Unfortunately, this is a cycle and is how many of their parents lived their lives, which is how these kids ended up in an orphanage in the first place. And, sadly, many of these precious children of God commit suicide. How sad. How sad is that. There are statistics but any one who knows me knows that I don't like numbers so I'm not giving the statistics, plus, they take away the faces and I know the faces.
There are a few orphanage graduates that I keep up with across the world. I love them dearly and I feel like they are my own. One of them is a mess. I mean he is a real mess. He has been rejected, picked on, unloved, and abused and he is searching for love. Even though he knows God is love and he knows he should live for God and give his life to God, he just can't seem to. He accepted Jesus when he was younger but has had no dscipleship or leadership. He is surrounded by the wrong life styles and is having a hard time breaking through. But God is reaching him by our constant conversations and through my dear friend/son who lives in the same city. Neither of us have given up on him and he knows we're here for him. Another young man didn't like the idea of school very much and wanted a chance to get out. My dear friend/son helped him get a job on a ship as a sailor. This isn't an easy drive-a-boat sailor job, basking in the sun. It is a hard, hard life where he scrubs the decks and does physical labor. He gets to travel all over the world though, and he seems to love it. I pray God protects him because I know the men there are not the most godly men in the world and I pray he stays strong in the Lord.
It's the kids, young men and women, like this that we want to be there for. We have no idea what our task is but this is what we are looking into while we're waiting. We will find out more while we are in Ukraine as well. There is a lot of "down time" while we are there. "Hurry up and wait" as my friend, Alyona, says (Alyona will be our facilitator in Odessa).
Bill and I have wanted to do something for 6 or 7 years but didn't know what to do. We would even love to bring the older kids here on student visas and send them to college while they live with families and let them go back to Ukraine ready to thrive, not just survive. God is a big God and there is nothing too big for Him. He just needs willing servants. He equips those He calls.
As Clay Peck says, "God doesn't call the qualified, but He qualifies the called"
I hope you were able to follow my "all over the place" writing as I just put my thoughts down. I've had too many thoughts bouncing around in my brain to put them down on 'paper'. God has just been amazing us over and over again with every connection and we've been excited and overwhelmed to know He is working and leading. He loves these children more than we do and He will see to that they are not forgotten. I want to be used by Him however He wants to use me. AND I want to go get our LUKE!