Yesterday Jim and I, along with Allyson — another missionary in Kyiv — took a short trip to look at some property just outside of the city. In ways that only God could orchestrate, we learned of available property and also discovered some others who have a burden for orphans who are HIV+. Some of these children are abandoned and some of these children are true orphans. But they all need loving hands to care for them.
I have been blessed over the years here to spend time each week with these children when they are hospitalized for a secondary illness. In Ukraine when a child is admitted to the hospital, a parent stays at the hospital as well. It’s up to the parent to provide additional food and drink, a change of clothes, and entertainment for the child. The orphans have no parent to give them individual attention, but several of us join forces and snuggle, kiss, dance and laugh with these precious ones.
Back to yesterday…
We went to see property that has a shell of a home on it. Two floors actually. And lots of land. It’s a long narrow lot, but lots of potential. Add additional homes. A garden. A barn. The property even adjoins a small lake.
Our dream is to have a home where HIV+ orphans can live. With real parents. Fostering has become a much more normal situation here, but as of yet I have not found any parents who would add an HIV+ child to their home.
This property is walking distance from the small village church. The pastor and his wife have a small children’s home already where they have added 8 children to their family. We hope to speak with the pastor this week to hear what he thinks about our idea. We definitely want them in a church setting!
But, we also know the stigma that goes along with AIDS and so we’re hoping to have the opportunity to share a Bible study book entitled Time to talk about AIDS in the church. We have had it translated into Russian and have just learned that over 1000 copies have already been sold, mostly in Ukraine but also into other Russian-speaking countries. Exciting, eh?! We’d like to go through this study with the pastor and any of those in the congregation who might be interested. Education about AIDS needs to be passed on here…clearing up myths and stating facts. It would be fabulous if a family from this church would desire to be the parents in the home.
Again, as only God can do, we have been put in touch with a church who is looking for a building project specifically dealing with orphans. They have been challenged to consider this home. We also have been speaking to a missionary who trains mentors to work with children as they leave orphanage settings. We are hoping that she will also meet with this pastor and determine whether her program could be put to use in the already-functioning children’s home.
AND we might have a camp (or two…or more) for these sweet HIV+ children this summer. Not just for orphans, but also for those who are living within their families. I get excited just writing about it! Can you believe that we have been made aware of several teams who want to come this summer and run camps? (Now, wait until we suggest OUR children!)
All of this to simply say that God is so obviously moving in mighty ways throughout Ukraine. Please join us in praying for these children. For His vision to be our vision.
And we will be quick to give Him all the praise, glory and honor.