Five years ago Kory and I made our first trip to Ukraine. A part of my heart will forever be attached to that country and the people we met.
Lifesong for Orphans sponsored the trip. Our purpose was to minister to orphans. We helped run a camp of sorts (you can read about last year's trip here). I don't know if our purpose was fulfilled. I have a feeling the American team were the ones truly ministered to.
Since that first trip, 4 teams have returned to Loubetein orphanage. Kory has been a part of two of those teams. I have been a part of one.
Last Sunday, we had a reunion. I knew some of the people who attended. Others, I knew of by name only. Regardless, we all shared a love for a group of kids living in Ukraine.
During the reunion we shared memories of our time at Loubetein. I shared a story about a girl I met on the very first trip. Her name is Valya. You can read that story here.
I still pray for Valya. I know seeds of truth were planted in her heart because of the presences of Lifesong staffers at Loubetein. I also know she has made heartbreaking choices since leaving the orphanage.
But I will always pray for her. I feel like God placed her in my heart for a purpose.
I believe my Heavenly Father knows Valya intimately and He loves her regardless of the choices she makes. I think He connected my heart to Valya's because He wants her to be remembered and prayed for. I get to partner with Him (in a small way) in Valya's life.
My connection with Valya strengthens my belief in a God who cares.
I suppose you could argue that if God really cared, Valya would not live in an orphanage. Orphans would not exist. I don't want to get into that kind of debate in a blog post.
But let me share this thought: We are a broken people living in a broken world. Despite our brokenness, the God of the Universe reaches down and touches lives in personal ways. Sometimes he uses other people to fulfill this purpose. Regardless, He makes himself known and available to those who seek Him. He cares.
He cares about me. He cares about Valya.
I will probably never hear what happened to Valya in this lifetime. But I pray that someday in Heaven I will run into a small girl with long blond hair and brown eyes. She will tell me her story and I will tell her mine and we will rejoice together because we serve a God who cares.