Future of Ukraine Orphans (double click for full view, turn off music below)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Well Im at it Again!

Here I go. Stepping on out there. Hoping God will use me to impact the lives of orphans. I'm so scared that no one will listen. I'm so scared that even if people read what I write, that they will shake their head and move on and do nothing. However, Im refusing to let fear get in the way. As I think about doing this, I think about Jeremiah. He was scared too. And if you dont know what God told him, I'll include the passage at the bottom of the post. I'm really excited to have something to focus on again. I've been through a fire and the fire is still burning. I'm choosing to be faithful even in the face of this fire. The love of Christ burns in my heart and I cant contain it. Obedience is all Im after. I just hope that this sweet child that Im advocating for will be eternally blessed by having people donate to her account and by having someone step forward to take her into their family. So what am I up to exactly... Im a Reece's Rainbow Prayer Warrior! Jenna is an orphan with special needs. Apparently she can do something with assistance like stand, walk, and sit up. She will be three in June. According to the Reece's Rainbow site, she will be moved soon to a care center where she will recieve therapies to help her with her delays. That's good news because many orphans do not have access to therapy. However, SHE NEEDS THE LOVE OF FAMILY!
Jeremiah 1:17 But you, dress yourself for work;[a] arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. ESV

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Life of Special Needs Orphans in Ukraine

Stephanie over at Jewels in My Crown (click the name to visit her blog)blogged about the living conditions of children in the special needs facility. I wanted to share her experience since there's nothing like one's personal experience to get the word about how important that people follow through when God calls them to do something, like adopt from another country. I'm so glad to know that there is an organization like Reece's Rainbow who advocates for special needs orphans.
Here is Stephanie's post.

Friday, October 1, 2010
My heart. Yep, this is long...

I've been thinking about this post for days. Like, obsessing! How do I communicate what is on my heart? How do I make you see and understand? And I think I've come to this conclusion, I can show you my heart, but only God can make you see and understand. So here I go...

I spent six weeks in the darkest place I've ever experienced. My journey in Eastern Europe was exciting and even fun at times, but darkness and hopelessness hangs over the place...especially in the orphanages, mental institutions, and nursing homes. I had the opportunity to visit a nursing home, but I chickened out. Not too proud of that.

The run down building where my boys lived was built in the late 1970's. Honestly, being there felt like being transported back to the 1930's. The wooden bars of the huge communal playpens are all gnarly from children gnawing on them out of boredom. Disposable diapers hang on the clotheslines to be used over again. Flies everywhere. Many children laying quietly in their cribs all day long.

Somehow...someway...many of the children retain a little spark of life. I was blessed to be able to talk and sing to them and witness that spark, though I was never permitted to touch or hold any of them. Not sure I could have handled snuggling with them anyway. It was bad enough to have to walk away from them after singing Jesus Loves the Little Children.

How do you do that? How do you tell a child in that place that Jesus loves them and then turn around and go back to your comfortable life? I promised in my heart that I would do what I could to bring attention to them and find loving families for them. And as neglected as these children are, there is something worse in their future if that doesn't happen. The institution.

Called the House for Invalids by the locals, the institution, or mental hospital, is the next stop for these children when they turn four years old. For many of them it will be their last stop for many of them do not survive the first year. The mortality rate is high and this is where many of our Reece's Rainbow children have died. Imagine tiny four year old children competing for food and attention. If the children do not yet walk or feed themselves how will they survive?

My little 14 pound Theodore was scheduled to be transferred to this place when he turned four years old in June. By the grace of God the director was able to keep him at the baby house until we arrived. I have no doubt that he would not have survived even a month if he were to have been moved. He can't walk, talk or eat on his own! Some of the children that I met and fell in love with will be transferred. Some of them will not survive long. It's only a matter of time and no one has adopted from the mental institution there.

Update: Vera has a family! YAY!

The links for Vera's page in the previous post below is no longer working! Her page has been removed and her family is now blogging about their journey to go get her. Unfortunately, it's a private blog. BUT it is so awesome that God answered the prayers of so many people who were advocating for her. Her status on Reeces Rainbow has been updated. You can read it here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Could this be your daughter?
This is Vera. She's six years old. Right now, she is living in an orphanage in Ukraine for babies to four year olds. Most children with disabilities are transferred at the age of four or five to a mental institution. She has been able to stay at the baby house since a family was in the process to adopt her. For some unknown reason, her family is not going to be able to adopt her.
Soon she will be transferred to a mental institution that is just like a holding cell. She will spend the rest of her life there if she is not rescued. Why would they send her there? Well, she has Cerebral Palsy, but doesn't seem to have any cognitive delays. However, in Ukraine children with physical and mental disabilities are locked away with out proper physical rehabilitation and no opportunities to pursue the best life they possibly can.

For more information on life at the mental institution/ special needs orphanage, click here. This is a blog of an adoptive parent who rescued her son from one such orphanage.
If you want to find out more about Vera click her name to visit a page that's been set up for her. Please pray that God will direct her family to find her.

An Elaborate Display of Affection

What would God do to bring you to Himself, to prove His love for you?
Well, He came to earth and lived a sinless life. He taught us about Himself through living example. He healed the sick and showed grace and mercy and love. He taught about the righteousness of God and He taught us what sin is. He taught that sins seperates us from Him. Then He taught us how to be reconciled to Himself.
Christ allowed Himself to be crucified so that He could bridge the gap between us and God. God died for us! Through His sacrifice, we can have a relationship with God. We can talk to Him and walk with Him everyday. There is nothing more precious than a relationship with God. There are so many churches here in the US and our nation is one of the richest nations in the world. Yes, we have been having a financial crisis, but so has the rest of the world. And they already have less than us to begin with. So what I'm trying to say is that we do need international missions. We'v been commanded by God to go and share His truth and we are responsible for doing so. There are not many churches in Ukraine and they need help sharing the Gospel. We should partner with them.
I recently read about a Ukrainian couple who are sharing the Gospel and using eleborate means, just as God did. Read this blog post by another blog and pray about partnering with them. They are doing all that they can and we need to do all that we can.
This original post was posted by Cindy at Life to the Full
Alyona and Slavik Built Rome in a Dayby Cindy on January 6, 2011
Last summer Alyona and Slavik set up a Roman Empire Camp along the Black Sea.

They literally set up a Roman Empire Camp.

Now you may recall that I am a Camp Girl, but my camp experience is nothing like what Alyona and Slavik did. They bought, transported, and set up fourteen tents, brought in port-a-potties, created all the activity areas, and even built an underground refrigerator. They built a Coliseum for all of their shows and evening devotions. They built a market where kids could sell the crafts that they made during the week

And then they welcomed 45 staff and 107 poor village children and orphans.

They took the kids to 1st Century Rome, to the first Christmas following Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. The kids participated in 1st century activities such fishing, carpentry, pottery, etc. Through the day they saw the love of Christ as the staff ministered to, cared for, and provided them with more fun than they had ever had. And in the evening they experience a compelling presentation of the gospel from stories in the book of Acts.

But, on the 5th day of camp, disaster struck. A hurricane hit. From Alyona’s email …
Everything was on a schedule untill the 5th day came and we faced a huge hurricane….that destroyed EVERYTHING….We had to evacuate the kids within 4 hours to 16 different villages. The children were in a panic as they saw almost all the tents on the ground, the trampoline flying away, all the wood parts that the Coliseum and a market were built out of. We tried to save as much as possible while 107 kids kept crying out of fear in a small church room. It all finished in 15 minutes and when we looked around it was obvious that this was the end of our camp that we have been working toward the whole year.
But we were happy and thankful to the Lord that NONE of the children or adults got hurt. But more than this, the day before two teenagers wanted to confess their sins and follow Jesus. It was very meaningful to us as we all understood (as we considered the hurricane) that we can face the Lord anytime and the most important thing would be “What choice have we made in our life?”
Alyona and Slavik literally built Rome in a day for the sake of sharing the love of Christ and the reality of the gospel with 107 children. They saw their work destroyed in 15 minutes. And they chose to rejoice in God’s care of the staff and children. They chose to rejoice that two teens had been welcomed into the family of God. They chose to take a terrifying experience, see the hand of God in it, and challenge themselves to examine their own relationship with the Lord.
Alyona and Slavik are willing to do whatever it takes to bring help and hope to the poorest children of Ukraine. Slavik becomes a clown. Alyona helps numerous children find families. They visit children to bring them fun in the midst of a dreary landscape. They deliver food, fun, and the truth of Jesus. They go into prisons, orphanages, and hospitals. And they are the hands and feet that found the “Lost Boys of Ananiev.” (More on that story tomorrow.)
Please consider becoming supporters of Alyona and Slavik thorugh a one-time gift or through monthly giving. Click HERE. You can pay by check or by credit card, but BE SURE and designate that your gift is for Alyona and Slavik.
If you would like to be added to Alyona’s list for ministry updates, email me at cynthiafin@gmail.com. I’ll reply and give you Alyona’s email address.
Alyona and Slavik want to build Rome again this summer. Will we help them make this dream a reality?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Minister to those Left Behind

Minister to Those Left Behind

On my first trip to Ukraine. I ran into this young man. He tried to take something out of my hand. He was speaking to us in Ukrainian and sense I don't speak it, I was intimidated by how close he was to me and that he actually was bold enough to just try to take my bottle. I think he was the dirtiest person I've ever seen. ( I feel really bad saying that, but he was) I'm not sure how old he is and it makes me so sad knowing that he lives on the street. The sadder part is that he may be handled by someone who is using him to make money begging outside of the old church buildings in the city. So there's no way to tell how bad his life really is. We can only begin to image it. This picture is only a glimpse into the life of people in Ukraine. I try to look past what he is doing and his appearance, because after all he is a young teenager. He might even be twelve. Unfortantely this life is a reality for many people his age. There are a lot of kids living on the streets and in orphanages in Ukraine.
The purpose of my blog is to share about the need for ministry in Ukraine. It's also a means to follow, pray for and cheer for families who are adopting. These familis have truly embraced the gospel by being obedient to what the Lord has led them to do, make a lifetime commitment to a child, to be a parent and love a child born an ocean away.
I've recently found out about a project that will be an ongoing ministry to people in Ukraine. Which very well may end up reaching someone just like this young man. And hopefully, this project will prevent other young people from being lured or forced into such a life.
Each year, 117,000 people in Ukraine, mostly women and children, become victims of human trafficking. This is just one fact shared through the video embedded above. It was created by the Ledford family, missionaries to Ukraine.
The Ledford family has also made a lifetime commitment to live in Lviv, Ukraine and share the gospel with people there. They have been involved in many types of ministries. They have taught english in clubs, building relationships and giving the opportunity for Bible study. They are involved in ministry through local churches and minister in orphanages.
Their new project is a community center. You can visit their website and read more about it here. Did you know that there is not even a word for community in Ukraine. It is really an unheard of concept there. After a lot of meetings with officials and explaining their plan and purpose, they were actually shown a place where they can establish the community center. This center will be not only be a place for safe entertainment (as opposed to very dangerous stuff), but a place where "they can experience Christian love and find their own relationship with Christ". You can read the newsletter article and see pictures of the building here.
I have installed a Chip In Widget that is a secure way to give to this community center. All you have to do is click the chip in button and create your own pay pal account. All the money raised will go to establishing the community center.