Thursday, March 29, 2012

More passports came in

The 4 children from Belarichenski got their passports yesterday.  Every little step brings the kids one step closer.  I have a special place in my heart for the children from "Bela".  The first year we were involved with Reach Orphans with Hope, 12 children from Bela came to Birmingham.  It was then we first met two of our children, Roman and Vicka.  I have invited a special friend of mine to be a guest blogger here at Grace to Ukraine and share the story of her involvement with Bela.  Join us in a few days on a trip down memory lane; I think learning about where Zhenya, Alosha, Andrey and Alona are from, will enable you to know them better.   Here they are, the day they went and got their passport photos made.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

What is Grace?

I came across this quote today by John R. W. Stott (1921) and had to share it.  "Grace is love that cares, and stoops, and rescues."  What a beautiful picture of what we want to do here at Grace to Ukraine.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Passports are Rolling In

The guardians received their passports last week.  We expect the children's passports to all be ready by the end of this coming week!  In less than 3 months, the kids will be here! We are working on getting activities lined up and a schedule posted.  Please continue to pray for the children.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For God Loves a Cheerful Giver

This is a portion of a message I received today from Rachel Harborth of the Adullam House:

I was going to ask also if you had any help yet with finding bikes? I thought about it today and asked my own girls (who got new bikes for Christmas) if they would give them up for a month to let the Ukrainian children use them while they are here. Then my girls mentioned it to some of the kids at AH and they all were asking me today ...'can I give my bike up for a month too?' I really thought this was awesome because they all use their bikes a lot and they were wanting to give something of their own instead of only asking others to help them give. We would love to do this if you still have the need! They all have nice bikes, and I told them that they might get broken or scratched if they are used a lot in those 4 weeks, and that they could lend their bike if they wanted to but didn't have to ...but they all were 100% for it.

I bow my knee to the Father of the fatherless both in Ukraine and Wetumpka, Alabama and I pray:  Lord,  I thank you for these little ones who so cheerfully give.  Bless them for their love and generosity toward other children they do not even know.  You love a cheerful giver. Now, may You,  who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food,  supply and multiply these children's seed for sowing and increase the harvest of their righteousness;  may they be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through them is producing thanksgiving to God.  In Jesus' name,  Amen.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Adullam House

I got an message late Sunday from Rachel Spackman Harborth of the Adullam House.  Our family has personally been involved with this ministry for about 6 years.  They have a home for children of incarcerated mothers. Rachel is one of the daughters of Pete and Angie Spackman, founders of the Adullam Hosue.  She offered to fill several welcome bags for the kids who are coming from Ukraine this summer; she offered to take us to the McWane Center; she offered to donate some toys and do whatever else was needed.  The offer just really touched me,  They, too, are a non-profit entity ministering to children and have many needs of their own; and, yet, they think of us in a huge way.  May the Lord bless their cheerful giving.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Know More Orphans

Today Terri Garver and I had the privilege of attending the Know More Orphans conference at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.  Terri is Secretary/Treasurer of our Board of Directors at Grace to Ukraine.  The conference was sponsored by Altar 84.  We were introduced to several Ukrainian ministries like Mercy's Hope, and Lifesong for Orphans.  We caught up with old friends and made some new ones.  We most definitely saw God's hand at work in the people he brought before us and the conversations that we had.  Several people offered to help this summer in various ways and  we are looking forward to seeing God's provision in the days ahead.  We are thankful for such an encouraging day spent in the presence of gifted musicians, speakers and orphan advocates.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Passport PicturesTaken

How exciting it must have been for the kids in Ukraine this week to go and get their passport pictures taken.  I don't care what anybody says about America, people all over the world, even remote parts of Ukraine, dream of coming here.  And then to be a child living in an orphanage, knowing that soon you will be on an airplane flying across the ocean to that place you have heard about.  Excitement.  But with some fear mixed in I am sure.  Did you know that rumors fly around in the orphanages of Ukraine that we adopt kids from there so we can sell their body parts?  My son Roman came to America the first time on a hosting trip when he was 9 and he fretted that whole 9 hour flight that we would sell his body parts when he got here.  Then to be going into the unknown where there is a different language and new people.  Lets pray today for those precious kids as they anticipate their summer in America.  Pray for us at Grace to Ukraine as well.  I was standing in line at CVS after printing these pictures and as I looked into the faces of these children I was overcome by the sense of responsibility we now have for them.  We must serve them well.  Not only as Christ would serve them but as though we were serving Christ.  May God give us the grace to do so.


Monday, March 5, 2012

The beginning of the vision

I was first drawn to the idea of hosting in the summer of 2007.  My husband and I, along with our 3 children, volunteered with Reach Orphans with Hope, an organization which had been bringing orphans from Ukraine to Birmingham since 2003.  I loved watching the children relax and simply have fun, all the while hearing the gospel and experiencing the unconditional love of Christians in the community.  It was a perfect picture of the local body of Christ coming together to accomplish the Great Commission and as well as the Biblical mandate to care for orphans. 

Out of that experience, however, my husband and I were lead to adopt 3 children over the course of the next 3 years and due to the travel and adjustments involved, hosting was put on the back burner.  My family and I were blessed to participate the last 2 years with Be Joyful in Hope, another hosting program based in the Birmingham area, even having 10 children stay in our home for a week last summer. Finally, this year, everything is coming together for the inauguration of our own hosting program, Grace to Ukraine.

In 2007, while volunteering with Reach Orphans with Hope, I met many wonderful people who were also faithfully carrying out God’s command to minster to the fatherless. Two of those people were Terri Garver and Cathy Stafford.  Terri had previously been on the board of Reach Orphans with Hope (formerly known as Hope for Orphans of the World)  and was in the process of adopting a sister and brother from Ukraine.  Cathy had heard about the hosting program through her business’ involvement with Student Life, and had traveled from her home in Lexington, Kentucky, to spend a good portion of her summer helping with the many demands of caring for the group of children visiting from Ukraine.  Both of these ladies became dear friends of mine and we are now all serving on the board of Grace to Ukraine together.   

We are learning together what a huge undertaking this is; however, we are committed to continuing the wonderful ministry we saw in place with Reach Orphans with Hope.  We were inspired not only by their summer hosting program but by their efforts at continued contact and ministry to the children after they returned to Ukraine.  Although many children are adopted as a result of hosting programs, adoption will not be the focus of Grace to Ukraine.  The focus, rather, will be on building relationships with individuals and orphanages in Ukraine, seeking to meet the physical needs of the orphan in Ukraine, and, most importantly, sharing the saving grace of Christ with all those we meet along the way.

Just as was the case in 2007 when we first became involved with hosting, such is the case now:  this effort requires a coming together of the local body of Christ in order to truly carry out our mission.  It is our hope and prayer that many of you reading this will see how you can impact someone on the other side of the world right here in Birmingham, Alabama, and come along us at Grace to Ukraine for a wonderful summer experience. 

Grace to you all,
Suzette Davie