… God was paving the way for our connection.
Our plan was to travel to Ukraine in June of 2009 and bring Katya home. God’s timing was different. And although we never would have chosen it, His timing opened the doorway for connections that even now still leave me amazed.
Many of the orphans in Odessa go to a “camp” in the summer. But it isn’t camp as we think of it. Basically, it’s another facility where the kids are sent while they clean the orphanages and prepare for the next year. We knew that Katya would be at this camp until we arrived.
I’m pretty good with “Google” and managed to figure out that the name of Katya’s camp was Camp Viktoria. With a few clicks of the mouse I landed on Pam’s blog and read about their trip during the summer of 2008 to Camp Viktoria. A quick back-and-forth of email resulted in a care package being overnighted t0 Pam who hand-delivered it to Katya from her “Mama and Papa.” This was amazing enough in itself, but through Pam, we were also first connected with Alyona and Slavik. Here’s from one of our rapid fire emails when I asked about churches in Odessa.
There are a few churches we go to there. One is a little Baptist church and I’m not sure of the name. Our sweet sweet American friend, who we minister with there, goes to church there. It’s a Russian speaking church but our translators translate for us. Alyona, Valerie, and Igor are three of our translators who go to church there. The American woman who I mentioned is Lela.
She is 84 years old and has been there working through Harvest International since she was 69.
(Did you get this? Lela is an American who moved to Odessa to work as a missionary when she was 69 years old!)
A few months ago, Lela fell and broke her hip and had to go home to her family in Florida to have surgery and go to rehab. I’m afraid she will never be able to return to the Ukraine. She didn’t even get to tell her kids goodbye. She ministered at #4 and showed them the unconditional love of Jesus. It was her dream to build a home for boys who age out and that home opened this year. It’s called the House of Hope. Anyway, her memory is dangerously bad and that’s the main reason she will not get to return. It was getting worse and worse and her family was very concerned for her.
Bill and I had the privilege of eating dinner with Alyona and Slavik in Lela’s home!
When she had to leave Odessa, Alyona and Slavik moved in as caretakers. While Bill and I were enjoying their gracious hospitality, they shared with us about Lela and her ministry. In a very real way, Alyona and Slavik are Lela’s children. While I’ve never met Lela, I’ve been blessed by the heritage she laid in Alyona and Slavik.
Harvest International is more than willing to accept donations on Alyona and Slavik’s behalf. All the money donated, minus the credit card fees, will go directly to Alyona and Slavik. You have two ways that you can pay through Harvest International – by check or credit card. Either way, check or credit card – you need to specifically state that the money is going to Slavik and Alyona. Please don’t leave this part off your donation! The link for Harvest International is HERE.
Julia, as techo-savvy as she is has already added a button on her sidebar. I need Adelyn, my in-residence techno-chick to take care of this for me. But you can EASILY just click HERE and make your donation to Slavik and Alyona.
More stories about Slavik and Alyona are coming. As I mentioned, I am unabashedly asking you to support Alyona and Slavik in their work. They are going into place that we can’t, ministering to hundreds of children who, in the eyes of the world, are throw-aways. You and I know that they are not.
But will we rise up to put resources in the hands of Alyona and Slavik?
Will we join them in fulfilling Jesus’ mission as He proclaimed in the synagogue?
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1-3
I pray that we will.