Another post I found while "organizing my blog labels" that was never published. I think this might be what you call perfect timing! Let me introduce you to some of the great kids I get to see this week! Please keep them (and me) in your prayers.
The kids at Loubetine (like all orphans) have had hard lives. Somehow, when I am with them it is easy to forget this. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of the camp, enjoying fun interactions with the kids, laughing and smiling with them and forget about what brought them to Loubetine in the first place. Denis (head of Life International Ukraine) shared a few stories with us.
Tonya lives with Denis and Tonya right now. She is one of three kids they are fostering over the summer. Denis told us that she was forced to get her meals from garbage cans until she was found at the age of 12 and taken to Loubetine. Today she is a Christian (and was recently baptized). She lives with Denis and Tonya over the summer and holiday breaks (during the school year she still lives at Loubetine). Once she is out of Loubetine she will probably move in to the Transition Home (more on that tomorrow). She has a hope!
Vanya (pictured with Kory) has grown up in the orphanage. He never knew his father or mother. His last name is the name of the town where he was born. He actually grew up in an orphanage in Saknoshinah, but they only teach the kids through the 9th grade making it impossible for them to go on to college. Because of Life International (LI), Vanya and two other boys, were transferred to Loubetine so they could finish high school and move on to college. Vanya speaks very good English. He and Kory would go around camp singing American pop songs to each other! He goes to church, but is not committed to Christ at this point. Keep him in your prayers.
Andrei (pictured below with Kory) was one of the most friendly guys I have ever met. Every morning he would make it a point to personally welcome all of us back to Loubetine. He would come up, shake our hands and say hello. He was transferred to Loubetine with Vanya. He is a Christian. The day we left camp, he came up to me at least twice and said "You are a good sister". He is a special kid!
Pictured with me is little Tonya (there were about 20 Tonya's!). Kory wanted to take her home with us. Her dad brought her a bag of candy while we were at Loubetine. But, he doesn't want to be involved with her beyond that. There was a family who wanted her to come and stay with them on weekends, but her dad wouldn't let her. He doesn't want to be involved in her life and he doesn't want anyone else to be either.
Alla (pictured with Mom) is a girl my parents have kept in touch with ever since our first trip to Loubetine. Many of her friends have made the decision to follow Christ, but she has held back. She knows the truth. And sometimes, she will go to church. She seemed so sad at camp. So unhappy. Denis said she had just spent a month with her sister who is a prostitute.
So many of the kids have relatives who have made bad choices. So many of them seem destined to make the same choices. It can seem hopeless. That is why LI's work is so important. God is using the LI staff in huge ways in the lives of these kids. They are being taught of God's love and given the tools needed to break the cylce of hopelessness. They are given hope. But, it still comes down to their individual choices. It is not easy. Keep them in your prayers. Natasha (LI Staff who works at Loubetine) told me as we left to pray for the older girls specifically. "They are broken" she said. I am asking you to pray for them as well. Pray that God would heal them and put them back together again. Also, pray for the LI Staff, that God would give them wisdome as they interact and work with these special, broken kids.
Before I go today, I thought I would share about the two girls I asked you to pray for. I didn't get to see either of them (probaly the biggest disappointment of the trip for me), but I did get to talk to Varya on the phone. At one point, she apologized to me for hanging out with unbelievers. Keep her in your prayers. She, like Alla, knows the truth. They have so much baggage to overcome, but with Christ all things are possible! There is hope!