I have noticed that people are people. Sarah and I were at the youth center playing a game with one of the workers, Inna, and a teenage girl named Nastya. Through the window, I could see four girls who were tossing a Frisbee. Suddenly, I saw a young boy streak by holding the Frisbee with all four girls chasing him. They passed by the window a couple of times, this running boy being chased by four girls and I thought to myself, boys are boys everywhere in the world. We laughed at the scene and I realized, how alike people really are.
I watch the children at the Center, at the orphanage, and the children I pass on the street. It is so easy to see they are the same as my nieces and nephews and all the other children at home. It is so easy to love them.
Today on the bus, the seats were all full and a mother and her two young children boarded. While the mother was paying the driver, the little boy, probably about two, toddled down the bus aisle and started to fall, three people put out their hands to steady him. As the bus started to move, the little boy started to fall again and a man on the bus picked him up and held him in his lap. Another man gave up his seat for the little girl.
I have seen many little things like this experience to show me, Ukrainian’s love and value their children. And yet, there are so many children in orphanages. There are two orphanages in Berdyansk, the city I am living in. The First Stage Orphanage with about 20-60 children and the Azvol (permanent) Orphanage with 400-500 kids from ages 3-18. The children aged newborn to three are in an orphanage in the capital city of Zaporosha. Another nearby city Primorsk also has two orphanages, one for handicap children and the other is a permanent orphanage. And, I have heard about so many more orphanages in so many other cities. It is hard to fathom so many unwanted children.
But that’s the thing; many of the parent’s of these children just cannot take care of them. Some because of addictions, alcoholism is a huge problem here. For some, drug use is also a problem. Some just can’t afford to feed and care for their children, the economy here is not very good and most of the people I see work very hard for very little money. I can’t imagine coming to the place where I would need to give up a child, but please pray for all of these parents. I am sure they are all hurt and lost and I know that only through Jesus can they be found and that hurt be healed.
People here really don’t feel foreign or strange to me. Yes, I see differences, but mostly everything is the same. People just need God. All people everywhere. Ukrainians were lied to and told for generations there is no God. I am so excited to be in Ukraine right now, when doors are open and we have the opportunity to share God with people who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel.
I am so blessed to be able to be a part of a church in Ukraine that is working and serving. Sasha and Sveta are church members who go to the orphanages each week (Larissa, is another church member who has been a part of the orphanage ministry, but she is currently on Maternity Leave). Please pray for Sasha. Sveta, Sarah, and I as we partner in service at the orphanage.
Truly, I am more amazed by God now than I have ever been before. His love for people is beyond understanding and I am so thankful I get to experience that love and share it with others