Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm going back!

    Okay, I admit.  I’m addicted to Ukraine!  But in all seriousness, God really has knit my heart to this country.  I’m constantly praying for the orphans I’ve met and come to love, and I’m staying in touch with the university students I’ve built friendships with over the 3 times I’ve been in Ukraine.  I have the opportunity to return to Ukraine next month, this time as a team leader of a group from Northland Church, and my little sister, Lizzy, is coming too!  I’m ecstatic. 

          Orphans in Ukraine have little hope for their futures.  There are approximately 105,000 children residing in orphanages, and statistics show that only 1 out of 10 of these orphans becomes a functional member of society. The rest are lost to drugs, crime, prostitution, and suicide.  This makes my heart ache!  God has birthed a passion in me to defend the helpless.  He brings me again and again to Isaiah 61; “the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

          Through two camps, we will bring Isaiah 61 into action, sharing Bible stories, playing various games and sports, acting out skits, doing crafts, and being a source of love and provision for these kids and students who desperately need to know the love of Jesus.  But so much more is taking place beyond camp.  The organization we partner with, Hope for Orphans, is preparing to build a facility where they can nurture orphans all year round, and a trade school where older orphans can learn skills that will enable them to provide for themselves and have a tangible hope for their futures.  I had the opportunity to see and pray over the property this past January.  God will bring incredible restoration through that place!

          Our team will leave for Ukraine on July 29th, and will return on August 19th.  Please pray for the children we will meet (or reconnect with- we're going back to Vovkovinsiy!), for the Ukrainian team, for our team, and for me- this will be my first time leading a team, ack.  
Pray for justice!  Pray for restoration!  Pray for deliverance!  Pray that God would be glorified!