Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stories from the Spring Trip to Ukraine

Today, Taryn is winding up her last days in Ukraine on behalf of Grace to Ukraine.  She and her small team have visited all the orphanages where we serve.  They have also made time for outreach to individuals and families in a variety of difficult situations.  Every trip to Ukraine brings back hosts of stories of despair as well as encouragement.  Today I  want to share with you one of the more encouraging stories.

For well over a year, Grace to Ukraine has been providing Jesus Storybook Bibles to the orphaned and poor in Ukraine.  When someone purchases an English version of the bible from us for $20, we give  a Russian version  to a child in Ukraine.  One of our partners in Ukraine is a young woman by the name of Lori Jackson.  Lori delivers our diapers each month to the special needs orphanage, among many other things.  She always takes a Jesus Storybook Bible with her. Some would question if the children there understand these stories.  But today, I received this wonderful message from her about her time at the special needs orphanage with Taryn:

 Suzette, let me tell you...we were all in the room there at the special needs orphanage, and you know how chaotic (in a good way) it can get in there, but I'm playing ball with one kid, interpreting across the room for Taryn for another kid, trying to listen to the conversation Terry and Anton are having behind me all at the same time. Next to me on the floor is the Jesus Story Book Bible, and one of the little boys scoots up beside me, opens it, pushes it towards me, points at the picture on the title page of Jesus surrounded by children and says "Jesus." 

I stopped worrying about what Anton and Terry were talking about, I told Taryn what had just happened, I threw the ball to one of the other kids and turned to Danya and said "you want to read about Jesus?" and with the biggest smile on his face he nodded his head and said "DA!"

When I'm there I mostly play. I always take the Bible, and spend maybe five minuets out of my two hours actually sharing it's stories with the kids and even that is a minute here and a minute there with whichever kid has brought it over and sat next to me for as long as their attention will hold them, then it's onto the next thing. 

With Danya today, it was the same, we didn't spend long looking at the pictures or talking about who God is, but what a gift for me to see that He KNOWS what's important. Mostly you just want them to know that they are LOVED, but you wonder how much they understand. Today  I asked Danya who Jesus loves and he said "me." I asked him if Jesus loved me. He said yes. I asked who else He loved and he said "everyone." 

Oh me of little faith.

What a gift today to get a glimpse of what He is doing! So thankful for those who came before me and for every person who has held a child there and told them that they are loved.

Glory to God.