… You and I can live out James 1:27.
In Odessa, Ukraine, Alyona and Slavik await the birth of their second child.
They work, play, and attend to all the ordinary things that ordinary people do. But, without fanfare they do the extra-ordinary.
Partnering together they are the hands and feet of Jesus to
- place the lonely in families
- visit orphans and widows in their distress
- clothe the naked, visit the sick, bring a message of freedom to captives
They minister in village orphanages, run summer camps for orphans, and visit hospitals and prisons bringing hope into places that have been long devoid of hope. They bring whatever donations they receive – fruit, treats, clothing, medical supplies – and purchase what their income will allow to care for these forgotten children. They, filled with the presence of Christ, enter dark places and bring light and life to those who are perishing.
Alyona and Slavik are precious to us. Alyona facilitated our adoption of Katya with politeness, persistence, and prayer. Slavik drove us all over Odessa. They hosted Bill and I, and then Katya and I for dinner in their home. On their wall is a map of Ukraine dotted with tacks of varying colors. When Bill and I asked, Slavik explained this map is color-coded for their missional work. One color is for orphanages they currently visit. Another is for orphanages into which they are praying for entry. Through God-orchestrated events, on December 28th, the tack marking Ananiev changed colors.
This week I will unabashedly advocate for the orphans that Alyona and Slavik are reaching. I will share with you stories of children whose lives they are transforming and amazing tales of Christ-ordained connection. Since most of us are not able to adopt, or even visit widows and orphans in their distress, I will tell you how you can join Alyona and Slavik. I will ask you to pray. And I will ask you to send money.
You may not be able to adopt.
You may not be able to visit the forgotten orphans of Ukraine.
But because of Alyona and Slavik you can feed the hungry children of Ukraine, you can clothe the freezing orphans, and visit the imprisoned and infirmed. Because of Alyona and Slavik, you and I can live out James 1:27.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.