Today was our last day at the orphanage—difficult to leave. I made sure to hug as many kids as possible while we were still there. Today the kids got new shoes and socks and goodie bags. They were so ecstatic about the shoes. Ruslan, one of the team favorites, got a pair of light-up spiderman shoes. You couldn’t believe how happy he was about this—he stomped his feet as much as possible to make them light up! In the younger group there were two girls who were sisters, Olena and Masha. I suspect that more of them were siblings, because there were several who looked alike and stuck together. So many sweet kids in this place—I so wish it was easier to find homes for them. Even people who desperately want to adopt have a difficult time adopting from Ukraine. There are so many hoops to jump through and the regulations are so tight that it takes years to finalize everything. As we were leaving it started to rain, but we still tried to squeeze in as many hugs and pictures as possible--I gave Oksana a big hug before I had to get on the bus to keep the kids from seeing my tears. When we were pulling away they stood out in the rain to wave goodbye to us. Hard day.
This evening was filled with the chaos of packing once we returned and saying goodbye to our Ukrainian friends—I was just glad that I didn’t have to say goodbye for good. I’ll be back in just a couple of weeks. During devotion, each person was given a chance to say what he or she has learned from this experience, and I said that, being given the chance to stay here in Ukraine for an extended trip and traveling to new places, I have been able to see so many new things. I have had the pleasure of experiencing the fact that God is doing great things in all parts of Ukraine, and all parts of the world. There is still much to be done, but there are many soldiers of Christ hard at work. I was glad to have the opportunity to meet Jim Clark and hear about his orphan ministry, and I am excited to go to Uzhgorod and find even more amazing things there.
After devotion the youth team members and Ukrainians went to Stepan’s pond for swimming—I only watched! It was still fun to be around everyone having a lot of fun on their last night here. I wish the Nixon team safe travels and continued blessings in their ministry here.
|Sisters Masha (right) and Olena (left)|
|Alli putting on Ruslan's fancy new shoes|
|Just before we left|
|Oksana modeling her new shoes|