On a cold December day in 2001, Ed Dickson was working with the orphanages in Ukraine and wondering, "What am I going to do for Christmas". That is exactly when he got an idea that changed everything for the orphans idea of Christmas.
In the last few years, McDonalds has opened a number of flashy new restaurants in the former Soviet Union. In the city of Krivoy Rog, Ukraine, the McDonalds is the place where the "elite" folks eat! Poor folks and certainly the orphans in the city only dream of being able to enter the golden arches.
That cold December day, Ed Dickson thought, "Why not take as many orphans as I can to McDonalds for a Christmas party?" What a thrill that was! The first Christmas there were 46 orphans, who had, of course, never been to a McDonalds before, taken out for the time of their lives!
The kids were so excited they were shaking in their seats as they waited for their Happy Meals! After the kids finished eating they put their cups, straws and wrappers into their bags to take back to the orphanage with them. I watched in amazement as they even folded up the little paper placemats.
As I was busy getting the kids to the bus, Olya, one of our workers came to me saying, "Ed, these two little girls have something to say to you." I thought they were going to thank me for the special meal and I didn't want then to say that because I wanted the kids to know that this was all done because GOD loves them. Then the two little girls looked up at me shyly and said, "We just want you to know that we had been praying together that God would allow us, somehow, to go to McDonalds someday."
It was with Ed that we first came to Central Asia. Over the years we have watched, and hopefully learned from Ed. He has a philosophy of ministry that just made sense to us . It was the success and impact of the Mcjoyful Christmas that got us thinking about Christmas parties with the kids in Kyrgyztan, but we have no McDonalds .. then the pie challenge came about in 2008. This challenge allowed us to take Christmas to almost 500 kids that first year ... the challenge has grown from there as has the Mcjoyful Christmas Right now we are sitting in an airport hotel with 7 bags packed with mostly Children s Vitamins, heading for Central Asia in the morning . Then less then 24 hours later a couple more from MN will be joining us with another 200 lbs of Vitamins. In fact people are boarding planes for the Ukraine as well . Ed , Back in 2001 when you were feeling alone , and God brought you to McDonalds, did you ever think that a time would come were people would be travelling around the world to join you in that mission. This year , between the McJoyful Christmas , and the pie challenge, well over 5000 orphans will be reached, and "the kids know that this was all done because GOD loves them".