Monday, September 21, 2009

Visiting Ukraine - Transition Homes

In Ukraine, kids age out of the orphanage around 16 or 17 years old. The government will typically provide the opportunity to go to school (depending on grades) and a place to live in state-run dorms.
On the surface this sounds good, but in reality...
  • The dorms are not nice places to live and

  • The kids are released into the world with little if nothing to catch them when they fall.

So Lifesong started building transition homes (to see pictures and learn more go here).

The transition homes provide a wonderful environment along with CCP staff who live in the homes with the kids. To grab a hold of this opportunity, the kids need to be serious about their lives. They need to commit to staying away from drugs, alcohol and prostitution. They need to commit to going to school and becoming productive members of society.

And the kids who live there are absolutely AMAZING!

You could see the pride in their eyes as they showed us their rooms. We got to hear about their goals and what they are becoming: gardeners, mechanics, contractors, teachers.

They are breaking the cycle of hopelessness. The cycle in which orphans create orphans.

Instead they are becoming orphans who mentor orphans.

Take Ruslana. Ruslana grew up in orphanage #4 (one of the tougher ones in the area). Today she is a Christian who is on Lifesong's staff. She lives in Transition Home #1 as a mentor and she works at Loubetein coaching the kids in various sporting activities with the ultimate goal of winning them for Christ.

The afternoon we spent at Loubetein was special. We did a craft project with the kids and then got to play basketball and volleyball with them. While we were playing in the gym Kolya showed up. Kolya stays in Transition home #2, he came to volunteer his time, to mentor those who were coming behind him.

I am telling you, these kids blew me away. Their amazing smiles and gentle spirits. I so wish you could have been there, to see them. They are the fruit of this ministry. A wonderful, fragrant site to behold!

Don't let this little girls face fool you. She was a sweetie with a mischevious grin. She will most likely be adopted by a family in Ukraine. Her brother lives at Loubetein with her. You could tell right away he was also her protector. Pray that the family who wants to adopt her will want to adopt him as well.

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3

1 comment:

JennyMac said...

What a touching and poignant post. I really enjoyed reading this..sounds like an amazing and life-changing endeavor.