Both Hands of Global Orphan Care–Ukraine

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Sometimes it seems like everywhere I go, everyone I meet, everything I read or see just seems to connect with Ukraine somehow.  It could be perceptual vigilance… I say it’s more God’s doing. 

I keep hearing so much about all Ukraine is doing for their orphans.  And the more I read, the more I come to believe that what God is doing in that country, with the Ukrainian believers there, is really something special.  Out of all the news I hear about global orphan care, Ukraine really seems to be one of the main countries in the world leading the way… they are showing believers around the world how to really care for the fatherless!

A recent article from the Christian Alliance for Orphans titled “Passion for Orphans Continues to Grow in the Ukrainian Church” cites how great this move has been in their country.  Even CBN news did a recent report on all that is happening there – see video. It’s so touching to see how the Holy Spirit is working in so many hearts to change the lives of orphans for His glory.

I’m so touched, blessed, and honored that God has led me to care so deeply for the orphans in this country where He has long been at work. He has gone before us and that means the best is yet to come!

Map of Orphanhood in Ukraine

In some sense, it may seem like this movement in Ukraine is a threat to orphan hosting and families in America.  But the way I see it, we are really working hand-in-hand.  We share the same mission – to reach orphans and share God’s love with them. 

According to the recent statistics, there are 96,000 orphans in Ukraine and 27,000 of those are available for adoption!   In 2011 (most recent data), less than 700 Ukrainian orphans were adopted into the US… and overall there’s been less than 9,000 adopted since 1999. (source: US Department of State) This is all wonderful, but we still have such a long way to go! This is a big job that can’t be done by just one agency or group of people. 

Prayerfully, if we can all work on behalf of the orphans, God will transform a country and his children will be able to experience his love!

«Відкривай уста твої… для захисту всіх сиріт» Пр. 31:8
"Open your mouth … for the protection of all orphans"
Pr. 31:8

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Summer 2012–Orphan Hosting Update

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This has been a great summer for New Horizons for Children’s 20th orphan hosting program! Here are a few numbers to help you get an idea:

  • 140 host families coast-to-coast
  • 183 orphans hosted
  • 103 from Latvia
  • 80 from Ukraine
  • 106 are single children
  • 26 groups of 2 siblings
  • 7 groups of 3 siblings
  • 1 group of 4 siblings!

Each number represents one soul that will be touched this summer! We praise God for all he has done so far.

I wish I could share all the great stories and testimonies from our host families. For a few of them, you can see our July newsletter here.

July 2012 Newsletter

We compiled some photos of the host children from their original photolisting picture and after their time with their host family.  The previous pictures were sad, a forced smile, or empty eyes. So many of the after pictures show children glowing with joy, peace, and freedom to be a child loved by a family. Behind each of these photos is a child with a story of abandonment and a host family who has been transformed by loving their host child. Be blessed by the photos!

One of the boys I prayed for all spring! Click to see more!

We also challenged host families to find a promise from scripture that speaks strongly to them about their host child and take a photo of the host child holding on to that promise written on cardboard. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to pray these promises of God over these children of God! May they be forever changed by the love of their host families and the truth of God’s Word!

We have learned we are not orphans… We are children of God!

Hosting Reflection #14–Rejoice When the Lost are Found

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Earlier this week, I was tuned into a live streaming of the Influence Conference.  At the end of one of the speakers’ sermons, a time was given for each person to sit silently, and listen to what God was telling each of them.  And for me, viewing online, the inspiring words people received showed on the screen.  They were all very encouraging to me, but one in particular caused me to pause and moved me to tears.  “Rejoice when the lost are found.”

Just think of the beauty in that.  Rejoice when the lost are found.  Just the thought of the lost being found, what a wonderful thing.  How could we not rejoice?

Then, just yesterday, I found a cover story about orphans in a Ukrainian magazine that is titled “Ты не будешь найден” (Ty ne budeshʹ naĭden / “You will not be found”).   The author writes about several of the problems the Ukrainian government has in it’s care for orphans and the barriers to adoption.   It’s not just us Americans who feel the hopelessness these children face, it’s also felt in Ukraine.   Little hope for a way out of the system, little hope for ever being found. 

What hope is there for these children to be found?  The most recent statistics (source) state that in 2010 there were 98,119 orphans in Ukraine.  That number only accounts for children whose parents’ rights were deprived within that year, so one can add to that number the tens of thousands who are living in orphanages although their parents may not have their rights fully deprived, plus many more street children, who are often unaccounted for.  Nearly 100,000 orphaned children.  And within that same year 4,865 were adopted (about 75% of those were domestic adoptions by Ukrainians).  Just compare those numbers for a  moment…

What’s a child to think in that type of situation?  How could they have hope that they will ever be found? 

My heart goes directly to the 118 Ukrainian (& 84 Latvian) orphans who were found by their host families this summer.  They were selected, specially chosen from the tens of thousands of children for this life-changing experience.   They were no longer lost in the seas of institutionalization, a number among the masses.  Each child was chosen by name, with special love and care by a family who wanted them.  Possibly for the first time in their lives, they were found and taken in, and given a home and a glimmer of hope.   I can’t help but rejoice for these young ones who have been found. 

What a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for each and every one of us.  He sees that we are lost, chooses us by name, brings us home, and we are found.  We are found forgiven, healed, and safe.  He will leave the other 99, just to find that 1 lost child.  What a reason we have to rejoice, all together for each and every one who is found.

So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.  When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
Luke 15:3-7 (NLT)

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