Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Thousand Words

I'm not sure how to begin telling you about my trip to Ukraine. I've been thinking about it all week, processing...

There is so much I want to share. I feel compelled to write about the special kids I met in the hopes that maybe your heart will be pricked and you will get involved.

But it is so hard to know where to start.

Thank you for your prayers is probably the place to begin. I felt them and God answered them.

To start with, the day we arrived I was reunited with Varya AND Valya. I truly believe our meeting was a miracle, orchestrated by God. I will tell you more about that later. Like I said, I'm still processing.

For now I am not going to write much, just show you pictures (with captions). As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so hopefully these pictures will make up for my current lack of words!

Me and my girls, Valya and Varya!

Dad interacting with the kids at an orphanage near Zap. His favorite phrase that day: Yabba Dabba Do. If you ever hear a young Ukrainian child repeating that phrase, you'll know where they learned it!

Me and Corinna - One of the kids I was drawn to immediately.

Misha - our driver for the week. An amazing man who knows first hand what it is like to be persecuted for your faith.

Sept 1 is the first day of school in Ukraine and involves a big celebration. All the children dress in black and white. Programs with "important people" are held at schools across the country. We saw a very abbreviated program at the orphanage in Zap. Abbreviated because of rain. They asked my dad to say a few words.

He said, "Thank you for inviting us. I will talk long while you get rained on," just as it started to pour. They laughed nervously and were glad when he ended his speech one line later.

I stayed at one of the transition homes. These are homes Lifesong for Orphans has built for kids once they graduate out of the orphanage. To live there, they must commit to certain rules of conduct. The alternative is state-run dorms which are nasty places.

The kids I stayed with are amazing. More on them later too! Here I am with Galya and Natasha.

Playing Phase 10 in Transition Home #2

Denis (president of Lifesong for Orphans, Ukraine) has a vision of creating a camp for kids from the surrounding orphanages to visit. The site is beautiful. You can see the house in the background of the picture below.

An older couple will live there. The ideas is giving the kids a chance to visit "Grandpa and Grandma's house." To give the kids a chance to experience a piece of family.

Our last day in Ukraine we took a tour of a botanical garden with some of the kids from Loubetein.

And then we went to spend a day in Vienna Austria.

Talk about culture shock!

We went on a tour of the Schoenberg Palace. You can tell how excited everyone was from the picture below!

That's all for now.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but these pictures seem inadequate leaving so much to tell!


Alesa said...

I can't deny it...I'm pretty jealous of you right now. Thanks for the post! Glad it went well.

Jill said...

So fun to see the pics! I love reading about your trip!

leah said...

extreme jealousy. :)

i'm thrilled you had a nice time and that you made it home safe & sound.

i'll be anxious for your upcoming posts!

love you!

J Gutwein said...

I really loved seeing your trip. Love, J

Unknown said...

More...I need to see more! Amazing...those kids!

Sue Heimer said...

Can't wait to hear more! Love the pics.

Genny said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing these. I'm excited to learn more about your trip. It looks like it was amazing. Your heart shines through these photos!

J Gutwein said...

Hey Megan... OUr blog URL changed. It is:

Love, J

Tami said...

those look so fun! i laughed at the picture of your parents sleeping in the bus because of the lady in the background looking at them! looks awesome!

Unknown said...