Hello family and friends,
It is summertime here in Ukraine. The leaves are on the trees; the children have completed another year of school; and they are enjoying the day camp programs that the city runs in June. The weather is in the 70s and mid 80s. Mixed with a rainy day, the cool sea breeze floats through the streets of Illichevsk. In the midst of the economic problems in Ukraine, there appears to be plenty of activity. I don’t hear grumbling or discontent. The great challenges that they face bring them back to the life that is normal for them.
Eight years ago when I first visited Marganets, I met Pastor Oleg through a classmate of his in Seminary. His friend taught at the missionary school that I attended, and he gave me his address. Pastor Oleg’s charismatic church was only a handful of people, but had a vision for the city of Marganets. Three years ago, we met again. At that time, he had a translator in his congregation of 150. His church has a powerful outreach program to heal the needs of the community. They agreed to run a drug and alcohol prevention program for our children at the orphanage. This was the beginning of a wonderful relationship between them and MUCH.
When I communicate with their translator, Inna, an invaluable team member of mine in Marganets, she updates me on what is happening with our children at the orphanage. Recently, she sent pictures of the “You Are Special” program that they presented for the children of the city. She told me that most all of the children from the orphanage attended and were delighted with the program. From what I could see, this was the beginning of some big changes in the lives of our children.
The Baptist church in Marganets will have Vacation Bible School in July, thanks to the support of Concord Baptist Church in Granite Falls, NC. I believe that the youth group will also invite our children to participate. They have a close connection with our children. It has been a slow process in eight years time, but MUCH has made the local connection. Now, the physical needs as well as the spiritual needs of the children are being attended to. I am seeing the children change. It is wonderful to see and experience.
We are all God’s children, but some of His children are in greater need to receive love than to give love. My need, as is with the people of MUCH, is to give love. In giving, we receive, and as the children receive, they give. Little do they know how they bless us as they receive our gifts of love; but sometimes I think that the love that I receive from them is greater than what I have given. I hope that is experienced by you, also.
Blessings of love and healing,