Last week at the orphanage we were told that some of the children were being transferred. Now, I have known all along that First Stage Orphanage is a temporary stop for these children. Most stay three months or less, and during my time here I have seen children come and go. Still, we have had a little group of about seven kids that have been there since we arrived and a few others who came in early November. We know all their names and they know us. When we walk in, we can hear them shout our names and they run to us for hugs and to play.
So, over the weekend I was praying for the children who might be moved, especially for my little friend Valera, three little girls that are sisters—Ileana, Volya, and Veka—and a little girl named Anna, who is a troublemaker but who has completely stolen my heart. I was expecting that they would not all be there when we arrived this week. So, upon our arrival on Tuesday I quickly scanned the children in the room and all five of “my” kids were gone as well as some others who I didn’t even think might be moved. Honestly, I just wanted to cry. I was really feeling the loss of these children and just a great sadness. Oksana turned to me and said, “These aren’t even our kids,” so I know she was feeling some of the same emotions.
There were two new adorable little girls. When I first saw them I didn’t notice how adorable they were, I noticed what one of them was wearing. Sometimes, on Thursdays, we are at the orphanage during part of bath time. One of the workers will call over three or four children of about the same size and let them pick out their clothes from a little pile. One little dress is red and white checkered with a red apple on the front. When ever it is clean, Anna wears it. Honestly, most of the other clothing you will see on more than one child, but this little red dress I have only seen Anna wear. Tuesday, Leda was wearing it.
I honestly didn’t want to be there anymore. Oksana, Sasha, and I talked a little about our lesson, Sasha started to tell the Bible story, and then I led a game. When we finished the game, Leda and Jenya came over and wanted to play with me. Soon, Leda’s sister Nastya wanted to play too. We played for a little and then they went off to play with some toys. I was still feeling a little sad, so I sat down on a bench next to Oksana and she and I started talking a little about the children. Little Leda climbed up in my lap and wanted to play again. We were bouncing and wiggling and playing and she stopped and asked me, “Do you like my dress?” I couldn’t understand her but Oksana translated for me. In that moment I was struck with such a love for the beautiful and precious 4-year-old little girl I was holding in my lap and I was able to tell her yes, she had a beautiful dress.
God is so good to me. It is such a privilege to share His love with all of these children. I know He loves them far more than I do. I know He has a plan for each of their lives. I am thankful that God is using me to touch their lives and that He uses them as a blessing in my life. Please continue to pray for this ministry. Pray for Sasha, Oksana, Sarah, and me, but most of all, please pray for all of these children. I am confident God is also going to use other people in their lives, and I trust them all to Him.