Saturday, May 31, 2008

Celebration day with our friends

We had a great day of celebration today in the village. It is children's day tomorrow, but the festivities started today.
There was an incredible program of dancing and singing put on by the kids . I was asked to bring greetings on behalf of all the foreign support that the orphanage receives. Later we had opportunity to visit with our friends and government officials, They were so appreciative of all the support we are bringing them and we assured them that we are only a very small piece of the big picture. Speaking of picture's ,This is a photo of Julie and I with the Area Judge, a Representative of the village , the chief and deputy chief of police . There really are people in government that care and that want to help the kids. Later we had lunch with the Governor of the region ... Here is a photo of him with our translator Christina. ... His is not an easy job, We look forward to continuing to assist him in any way that we can . Next week we have been invited to his house in the mountains for supper... It will be a date that I am looking forward to. ...After lunch while talking with the Government social worker who is responsible for the adoptions in the region... They asked us to assist them with implementing a foster parent system here ... something that is so far out of our league, but it was great that our friends David and Jayne were there because Jayne will be a real resource to them ... She has worked to help train the Foster families in the Ukraine, and has all the manuals in Russian here with her. They were so excited... there will be lots of business meetings to follow. All in all it was a very fun and productive day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Paying it Forward

I remember a movie... it was something about "Paying it Forward." well a few weeks back we were touring around with a few of the families that were in Central Asia to adopt.... we visited the orphanage in the village and the tower... When they left, One of the couples gave us some money and said .. "Please use this to do something fun with the kids. " Well today we had a chance to do something really special with them ..... We have friends here for a couple of weeks, so we took the opportunity with the extra hands to take a bus load of the kids to the Museum at the tower, then we took advantage of the beautiful day , and went up into the mountains for a picnic. What a wonderful time we had... The kids were so overwhelmed with everything. They had never been to the tower before, or up to the water falls for that matter.... They skipped and ran... and played until the were all tired out ....and starving... some of them pounded back 6 and 7 shashleek with all the trimmings... it was so great to see them have such a good time.... Julie had a reality check as she saw a few of the girls playing.... They had this brief moment to be free... to be normal kids... to forget that they are alone in the world.......a moment to forget things that no one should ever remember....

The bible says that if we say to these mountains to be removed and we have the faith, they will be removed..... I am going to claim that and ask that these precious minds be wiped clean of all the filth of life that is tormenting them.... that the feeling freedom that they experienced today will last them a life time..... That the mountains be removed from their lives....

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Blasting Holes in the Darkness!

Just because we have not posted in a few days does not mean we have not been busy...
We have had a very busy and exciting week so far... We have some Internet friends here to pick up their new babies they are adopting, but we can't show you photo's yet until the finish all the court stuff. We have also been putting together about 30 simple dreams for the new web sight ...... but can't share them either until the sight opens on Sunday June 1... Oh ya and we bought a house... what an incredible story of how this all happened and who will be blessed by it... but I have to wait for a few days to share that as well... the investors have first crack at that story..... Lets' see what can I tell you... Oh I know ... This week we had two other prayer requests answered... We have a sponsor for new shoes for the entire village orphanage. ( 150 kids) Then the same day I received an email sponsoring new soccer shirts and shorts for them all as well.... We even have the sizes so they will all fit right... Now we are going to make arrangements to bring the vendors from the market to set up their stalls at the orphanage for the day and let the kids choose their own... how fun is that... We will try to get it all set up to happen next week... ... We have also planned a shashleek pic nic in the mountains with 4 adoptive families ( that brought us stuff like K-D...Honey nut Cheerios.. tuna..peanut butter.. craft parts... they even brought a full suit case of brand new replacement clothing and personal items to replace the bags that Aeroflot lost on David and Jayne ) and a bus load of kids from the orphanage... The girls are busy as well they have taken 2 bus loads of kids to the capital city for who knows what! and for who knows how long! but I am sure it will be exciting. And for some strange reason they forgot to turn off our electricity today so Julie frantically got us caught up on laundry and dishes..
So that sort of catches up on the last three days....

Having a blast till the money runs out!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Home away from home

Our friends are getting settled in their new apartment here in town. Maybe by tomorrow we will have their wifi set up, then it will really feel like home. For One it was a special treat when she had supper in front of this photo of San Fransisco bay....where she now lives ....Just imagine traveling half way around the world to have lunch on the sky line of your home town.
We look forward to getting to know them better over the next couple of weeks while they are here to complete their babies adoptions..... how fun is that!
cold When they got here, they began unpacking bags.... It was like Christmas morning...Vitamins... meds for babies , craft supplies, CRAFT DINNER.... PEANUT BUTTER...TUNA . then it happened....TWO BOXES OF HONEY NUT CHEERIOS ... and not just any boxes... the big ones... Well Julie was so excited she raced home and had a couple of bowls.... It is a good thing that I don't have my big mixing bowls here or she would have used them .... I thought she was going to cry.....
Once they were ready to face the day, they came over for eggs Benedict ... As we were talking, Ivy shared how she had brought craft supplies with her at the last minute to make jewelry.... wouldn't you know just last night we had gotten out the supplies we had for making jewelry, to get ready to make neck lasses and earrings with the girls at the orphanage... Ivy will be great to have here when we do that craft.....We really are blessed

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Today we celebrated Emma's birthday with the kids from the town orphanage. They were so excited that they were shaking... They knew that we were coming to take them out to the market , but everything else was a surprise.

We had given Ishar the day off because we have to go to the Airport early in the morning. The kids thought that meant we might have to walk.... Boy were they excited when the horse and wagon showed up..... in fact I think that the owner of the horse was as excited as the kids. There was one more person today that got excited, that was The man at the shirt store. He has been really great with us and was ready for the rush of kids. We noticed how the kids did not allow themselves to show emotion... as if at any second it could all disappear, then one by one the smiles broke through as they picked out their shirtsBefore heading back we all got an orange and a's important that you have one more thing then you have hands to hold them.... At the end of the trip, they all came out with their new cloths and gathered around to wish Emma Happy Birthday.....

Do you remember what you got for your 17th birthday?...I am sure Emma will never forget!

Friday, May 23, 2008

An adoptive mother needs help !

I have mentioned before that every day we come across , are told about, or get phone calls about people asking for help... Some we are able to work into our budget, and we just cover them, some are just so ....well...I can not even write about them, and others just slowly sink in and torment you until you have to do something about them. Elanya is one of those people... I guess when we find someone that has dedicated their life to helping others, it is extra hard to see them suffer. Elanya is a single mother.... not by circumstance or bad choice, but because of doing the right thing. Against the wished and recommendation of family and friends, she has adopted two little children Veka 6 and Timothy 1. They each have their own story that we will not discuss. Along with raising these two would be orphans, Elanya is the pastor of a very small northern church here in Central Asia... In a country with so little social network, this is a very big job. She also helps out at the orphanage for disabled kids. All that she has is on the line...... She is now facing some serious health issues because of some bad teeth. It is amazing that a dentist here is so cheep, but when you have nothing , it is still out of reach. David and Jayne are going to see what they can do to try to find some help for her, but in the mean time we can all do what we are so often called to do here....Pray and wait upon the Lord.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I never knew food could taste so good.

Today we were in the capital city, and we knew that The director from the village was in capital city with some of the kids from the orphanage. We gave her a call and arranged to meet them at the Metro Bar and Grill. They were very excited to be joining us, and even a little over whelmed by the menu. The menus there are English...which is one reason we like it there.... We were able to get a few Russian menus for them, but told Altynai that she had to use the English one. They ordered chicken casadias, chicken Kiev, burritos, even T-bone steak... Altynai had potato skins with cheese and bacon.... When they were done, Altini said that this was the best food she ever tasted, then she leaned over and put her head on my shoulder and quietly said with great contentment...

Back at the Dump

In case you are still thinking about the dump challange... Check out the latest at Possibilities International

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Please Sir.....May I have some more?

I want to take a moment and again thank Our friends at the Burger Hut in Norwood. They sent us of with a mission to "LOOK AFTER THE KIDS" .the BURGER HUT is our favourite restaurant in Canada, it's not fancy, but the food is great and you know they care! we thought it would be fitting that we would cook good quality home made meals for the kids here in town . The kitchen here has a 2 burner electric hot plate, and the hydro is off every day from about noon to 7, but at least it has a schedule... you never know when the water will be off. These problems coupled with the rising cost of food here, has made things difficult for them .

Family night at the town orphanage has just gotten a little bigger.. David and Jane and there translator Natalia have been joining us.... and bringing the drinks. ... ( since our paths are crosswing so much, you can also follow along and see more photos us on their blog ....The Journey Continues)Here we are enjoying a meal of Poached Salmon, Rice and a Mediterranean Salad . We are now 24 with orphanage staff ... and I cook for 40... Man can those kids eat... and it';s always gone!

So far we have had :

Cheeseburgers and fries
Chicken pot pie
Prime rib with mashed potatoes
Shashleek and Craft dinner.
Poached salmon
Banana splits
Peanut butter and Honey sandwiches with Caesar salad
Baked Palmini and salad
Fresh strawberry shortcake with ice cream
Shashleek in the mountains
Shashleek at the fishing pond

Not bad when this is what you find at the market.........

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We CAN all make a difference .

This is a photo from the dump in the village. The girl on the right was asked why she was in the dump and not in school. She said that she needed a uniform and books before she could go to school. She said that if she stayed in the dump for the summer she hoped to earn enough before school started next fall..... about $100..... Well the race was on . Both Sam and Kevin went for there wallets. She was told it was time for her to go home now... She later told our worker Laurisa that she feels that God has set her apart.... Maybe one day they can all feel that way !
Here is a MUST SEE video over at the Possibilities International web sight .

The New Balcony

We are enjoying the new balcony ... the trees have started to fill in . We have been looking around town, and see just how blessed we are. We are on the first floor, which is crucial, in a good location, have a sit down flush toilet, and we are close to everything we need, and the new breakfast nook just makes it perfect . So, thank you to all those who helped with this project. We think Ed will love it.

Here is a view from outside . We have tomato plants, pansies and some jade trees in the windows. Our living room window is on the right.

We had them put full windows in the front and it really opens things up

This is standing in the kitchen looking out .... notice the nice table cloth ... one that made it past the Xxxxxx airport security...

While having breakfast, it does not take long for reality to strike. We still are reminded daily of the plight of those around us .

Living here .... if not already, You sure learn to be Thankful.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Visiting our Friend

This week, we were blessed with a donation delivered by one of the families that is here to adopt. They simply said to use it where it was needed. Today I had a chance to visit my "new " old friend Amir. Amir is at the village orphanage . The director there is a wonderful lady and loves the kids so much. she has a good staff, and a nice facility. The budget there is just to small to cover the basic needs. Food and clothing are the two daily struggles for the director. We were there to discuss arranging help for some necessary operations for a few of the kids, and took that opportunity to do a little shopping on the way. We picked up 30 jugs of oil and 4 cases of cookies.... The amazing thing is that the kids were more excited about the many of our kids know the importance of oil in there daily diet...... Amire is doing well and sends his best to his friend Kenny. He brought us around the orphanage and introduced us to many of the other kids. Do you remember this little guy?We visited his classroom .
Then he showed us the project that they are working on right now. A church in the capital city has donated the cement and the roof tiles for them to build a washroom, and they have everything else that they need .... except a load of gravel and a crane to put the pieces together. ..... when was the last time your kids got excited
about building an outhouse....
After visiting the Oprhanage , we still had a little money left so we went over to visit Auxana and introduce our friends David and Jayne to her. We brought along a bag of groceries... we were all blessed.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Are we in over our heads?

Since we started this journey, I have firmly believed that God would equip us as we needed it.

The longer we are here , and the more lives that we have opportunity to impact , we are reminded time and time again, that this is not a game or holiday! At times there are literal lives hanging in the balance.....We received a donation this week and right away we contacted the orphanage to inquire about the operation for Angela's Mom. Unfortunately that day they had learned that Angela's Mom had just died....Instantly what runs through your head is ..Could we have done more. What if we had not waited ... what if we paid for the operation ourselves...What if....What if...

God has given us some wonderful examples here that I am sure faced this question over and over....Vera lost 6 of her Babushka's this year....Geneesh lost five of his street men.....Sergei and Anya have lost people of all ages, infants to old men......Why does this have to be part of the equation.

On the adoption front , it seems that every week, we are getting emails that start with "I know that this is not your area of expertise...but...."Julie looked at me this week and said .... we need help.... Well usually God has started answering prayers before we have asked....and this one he has answered.

David and Jayne have been her a few weeks now. They work with our friends Lynne and Ruby that we know from Canada. We know that our paths have not crossed "By chance".. but they are part of the puzzle ...
David has two Master's Degrees from Olivet Nazarene University and a Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling from Master's Graduate School of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. He currently serves as a professor and Dean of Pastoral Studies with Master's Divinity School.Sharing in the pastoral ministry, Jayne's heart is ministering to the family. Her particular calling has been to work with families formed by adoption and foster care. She has had the opportunity to publish five books on foster care, adoption and family life issues and the privilege of speaking across the country.Jayne received her Master's Degree in Life Issues Counseling from the Master's Graduate School of Divinity in 2004.
Their published resources : The Whole Life Adoption Book - revised and updated - just released (NavPress)Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Children (Greenwood)Journeys after Adoption (Greenwood)Mom, Dad, I'm Pregnant (NavPress)Announcing a new book:Embracing a Love Like No Other: The Impact of Parenting Traumatized Children on Foster and Adoptive Parents - due out in 2009 (NavPress)
On the bottom of some of our correspondence with them is this prayer...
“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may wish for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done"!A Franciscan blessing taken from Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren
Yup ... That's me Uncomfertable...angry...and foolish.....I guess we are on the right track!

You can follow David and Jayne's progress at The Journey Continues
For those on the Yahoo Adoption group.... I know that they will be a great and willing resource .... Jayne will be introducing herself to the group shortly.