Tuesday, September 1, 2009

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Last Day in Ukraine

On Friday, we got up early and headed down to the local market. We had extra money and we wanted to spend it!! One thing that we had noticed that the children really needed was undergarments. So...along with our translator...we went and bought many, many items for both girls and boys. We also wanted to buy shoes for the children. They are in desperate need of shoes. Many of the shoes they wore are broken, and I honestly do not know how they keep them on their little feet. We purchased around 40-45 pair of shoes. I was a little disappointed because things were not as cheap as China! I was hoping for a market where I could barter a little...but...nope. They were firm on prices! But, we left that market with bags galore!

We drove to the orphanage and delivered the gifts to the director. She was very grateful. The children were busy with chores and such, so we did not see them again. I think it was best. The night before....it was so very hard to leave them. I just couldn't do good-byes again.

We headed out on our way on a mission to see a special needs orphanage. We drove about 2 hours south...and finally located the place. Jami and I sat in the car while our facilitator went in to ask permission for us to visit...my stomach was turning flips just thinking about whether they would say yes or no. I prayed that God would have His way...and if we were to visit...then so be it. If not, I knew that this was His plan.

Well, we were told no. I was devastated. My heart just sunk. I wanted so badly to go inside and scoop those babies up and hold those precious children. But, this wasn't the place or the time. We had to trust that God had a bigger plan.

Our drive that day back to Kiev took 14 hours. Yes. That wasn't a typo. We drove all night on bumpy Ukraine roads and even our driver got nauseous. He took us straight to the airport and we just stayed there (for 4 hours) until our flight departed. Jami and I both passed out and slept the whole way home to Atlanta.

We were greeted by our sweet husbands and children at the airport. My granny was also there. It was a sweet time. I didn't remember my children smelling so delicious. I just wanted to eat them up.


We have had so much interest in this blog. Please, if you have any questions about any of these children...you need to contact one of us. I am going to continue to post pictures for the next week or so. All of these children are waiting. They are waiting for one of you to come and rescue them.

In Christ,
Aimee and Jami

Saturday, August 29, 2009

We have arrived home safely! I will update the blog in the next day or so. There are many more pictures and stories that we want to tell you!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last full day in Zaparozhye

Sibling group




Today, we drove about an hour outside of town. Mile after mile we saw nothing but flat farming land. It was very, very rural. This orphanage was located in a small village. There were about 65 kids that have returned from summer camp. The other half of kids will stream in during the next few days. When we drove up, we were not greeted like the days before. The director ushered us inside and explained the history and condition of the orphanage. There are lots of needs. The building is very, very old and needs lots of renovation. Because this orphanage is located in the middle of nowhere...they get very little visitors and/or support. The kids gave us a tour, and they were very proud to show us their home. Each bedroom held 16 beds. The floors are wide planks with several layers of paint.

Next, we went outside and they all gathered around us and asked us lots of questions. We couldn't help but chuckle when they asked us if we liked President Obama. They wanted to know if America was really beautiful and how we treated our children. They asked us how much each piece of clothing cost that we were wearing. They asked about our jobs and how much we made...and even if we had "rappers" on the street??? One little boy wanted to know how long it would take him to ride his bicycle to Alabama. We told him he needed to know how to swim really, really good. The kids laughed and told him he would never make it because sharks would gobble him alive.

Most of the children asked nothing about adoption. They were clueless. Its just not a common thing for them to witness. They have accepted their life as an orphan. There was ONE exception. A beautiful nine year old girl came up and asked us directly, "Are you here to adopt me?" Ugh. We told her no. Its hard to say that, but its more cruel to give them false hope that we are coming back. They asked us to pray for them. We told them that we do and that we will continue to do so. We were able to share the Gospel with all the children. They really listened intently and soaked it up. We gave all the children a yellow sheet which tells them plainly, and simply why God loves them.

Leaving today was easy. (for them) The children just walked away. It's heartbreaking to see kids like this. They have lost hope. They are certain that nobody will rescue them.

"Vindicate the weak and fatherless, Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:3-4

Tomorrow, our plan is to go to market and purchase some shoes and clothing for the children in the 1st orphanage. Their physical needs were greatest. After we deliver these items, we are going to visit our last orphanage.

I am very excited about this stop. This is really where my heart is! We will be visiting a special needs orphanage on the way back to Kiev. The children here are mostly Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. We asked that you pray that we are given access to visit the children. It has not been approved as of tonight (Thursday).

Thank you for you prayers,

Aimee and Jami

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Orphanage- Day 3


Handsome little guy

Making MORE bracelets and explaining one bead at a time

Waiting...and hoping.

Explaining each bead of gospel bracelet

Older girls washing windows

Reading the Gospel in Ukrainian

Sweet boy in need of family

Entrance to orphanage

Today, we went back to the 1st orphanage. We wanted to spend some more time there and really get to the know the children. These were the children that were at “camp” on Monday and have now transferred back to the regular orphanage building. The orphanage sits way out in the country at the end of a long gravel road. There are lots of weeping willows nestled around the building which makes me think that even nature is crying. The children ran up to our car and opened the door for us to get out. They took our hands and showed us where they “live” or a better word…”survive”. We walked down the long, dark, halls which were lined with doors on either side that led to bedrooms for 12. The bathrooms were in need of repair and a serious dose of Lysol. They were so proud as they showed us all of their knitting projects. They love to do crafts that take a considerable amount of time. I guess it’s a good way to cure boredom. After lunch, we did nothing but play with the children. I must say that this has been my favorite part of the trip. No questions…no expectations…just kids, being kids. I had to push aside my strong desire for these children to find homes and enjoy them as children. We laughed with them…tickled them…sang with them…and shared God’s love with them. They all gathered around as we went through the meaning of each bead. They listened intently…hanging on to each word. They are searching for something to cling to. Hope is all they have.

“For now Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You. “ Psalm 39:7

Our hearts were wrenching as we climbed back into the car. We had to pry the children off of us. The director even asked one child to come inside because she was sobbing so hard. Jami and I didn’t say too much on the car ride home. We just kinda stared out the window trying to process our emotions.

One thing that God has brought to mind is the many missionaries around the world. Folks, they need our prayers. We have done nothing but fight one spiritual battle after another. I wonder if its because we spending more time in prayer than we do at home. Probably. As we draw closer to Him, we hear Him speak to our hearts more clearly. We also see the “obstacles” that are around every bend. I am tired. We are both tired, mentally. How do missionaries do this as life-time work? We should be sure to remember these people that are on the “front line” for Christ.
Tomorrow, we are getting up early and going to one of the poorest orphanages in the region. I can’t imagine what we will encounter. It will be hard, but nothing compares to how millions of children suffer around the world. They sit waiting and wondering if a mama will ever rescue them from their endless hell. Problems in my own life are starting to look utterly meaningless. We live in a nation that is blessed with God’s grace. We live in houses that are warm and safe. We have shoes that fit our feet and clothes that smell good. We have food available to us at any time. We have health care that will treat any problem we have at any time. We have clean water that does not have to be boiled. We have churches that preach God’s word. We are blessed. Beyond measure.
We must take what God has blessed us with and use it for His glory.

Aimee and Jami

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 2- Zaparozhye

Saying Goodbye

Orphange from the front

This is where they eat.

Group shot! They LOVED to have their picture taken.

Here we are "chatting" with the chilren through our translator.

The children are enjoying a banana

Today was bittersweet. We spent the morning with the same group of children as yesterday. When we drove up...they came running! They opened our doors and carried all of our bags! We took some puzzles, coloring books, crayons and bananas. They rarely get fruit, so this was really a treat! They gobbled them up quickly! They ask us to paint their nails again and of course, we did! The kids were much more relaxed today as compared to yesterday. They began to open up and talk more. There was lots of laughter. They wanted to know all about America and if we were going to be able to find them a family. And yes, several of the girls (and boys) asked if we would be thier mama. Oh dear...be still my heart. It was tough. It was hard to leave. Their eyes were so sad as we drove away. The teachers had to call them in again and again. They just didn't want us to go...the situation is so sad, and honestly, the whole set-up reminds me of a prison camp. Its like the kids have a life sentence and no parole. So, what motivation do the children have each day? They just "wander" around looking to see if the car that is driving down the dirt road is carrying their freedom.

We had one teacher ask us about our faith and we had the opportunity to share with her. She told us that she could tell we were "good" people. We explained the only thing good in us was Christ. We hope our words will cause her to reflect over her own spiritual condition. She was such a lovely lady. All the women were so sweet and kind to us.

We were able to visit 2 other orphanages this afternoon. But, the kids were arriving back from camp and we decided to return again in the morning. One of the orphanages (#3) was amazing. We were stunned at the conditions...in a good way!!!! The director told us that many churches have come in and helped this orphanage. ( a team from a church in Virginia arrived today!) Oh...it was clear that God's hand had been here!! Church groups from USA have come in and done an amazing renovation. It made my heart go pitter-patter to think of what Grace Fellowship could do!! There are 29 orphanages in this small region and they need more churches to help!!!! You just would not believe it until you see it!! Its amazing what a few American dollars can do over here.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. (Double click to enlarge) We will have more pictures tomorrow as we return to the 1st orphanage again to work with some younger children. I think on Thurday we will be going to another orphanage. We have a busy, busy week!!!!!!

We also want you to remember that these faces represent the millions (147 million) children who are all alone and without permanent family.
Love you all,

Aimee and Jami

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 1-Orphanage

Sibling group

Waiting on us to arrive..

Sleeping quarter for young girls

Showing off pretty nails

All these faces are waiting for a Mama and Papa

Orphan Summer Camp

Hello! Its been a long day, so this post may not make a whole lot of sense. We are exhausted... both physically and mentally. I also have uploaded these pictures to a smaller size..you can double click on them to see them bigger...with that said...I will tell you about our day.

We had a great night's rest. Thank you for your prayers. Believe it or not....we are sleeping 8 hours each night. For those of you that have traveled over seas....you know how awesome this is! We got up early and had prayer time before we left. We were anxious to get to the orphanage. We drove out of the city...to a very remote camp site where the children stay during the summer. Here...they just sort of sit outside all day with not much to do and "wander". They were very happy to see us. We gave them some toys that we had picked up at the Dollar Tree...and you would have thought it was Christmas. They were going crazy for the simplest things. We played badminton...frisbee....sidewalk chalk....and painted the girls fingernails (which was a hit!) We also gave them the beaded bracelets and shared Christ with these precious children. They read the Gospel in their own language and even asked questions. We were able to leave the cards with them to read again and again. Many of the children asked for the cards to keep in their rooms. We stayed with the children all day... Its late now (almost 11:00pm) and we need to rest. Our day begins early tomorrow.

I don't think I can really share my heart at this moment anyway. I feel like anything I say will not convey what my heart feels. I need some time to let my experiences settle in me. God is working in our hearts and we want more than anything for you all to be here with us. We want you to taste God's love in this way. We want our passion to be your passion.

So, instead of more words, I will leave you with pictures ( if they download...we have horrible internet)

We love you all and appreciate each and every comment that you have left here. Somehow, when you are thousands of miles away from home, a comment on a blog makes you feel like you are at home! We feel loved and prayed for!

We will post again tomorrow.

Aimee and Jami