Friday, May 23, 2008

A walk into reality and questions

Today is Friday, May 23, 2008. David is gone for a trip the entire day. I wanted to stay home to catch up on a number of writing tasks and to spend time reflecting on the experiences of this past week and the impact upon us.

I think what we have seen and participated in has had an emotional accumulative effect. We have seen so very much in terms of incredible poverty and desperate circumstances –all which seems so utterly hopeless. The best way to describe my feelings (I will let David speak for himself) is utter sadness. David asked me earlier this week if I was depressed. I told him it wasn’t depression, but an overwhelming sense of incredible sadness. Thinking again, maybe in one way, it was depression, but not one to draw me into myself, but one that led me to the next question-“Where, Lord, where can we best step into Your Work here for us?”

David also asked me if my feelings had anything to do with wanting to go home. Being so far away from home – yes, that was an appropriate question, but the answer to his question was no. I thought about it and my answer to him was “home to what?” – grandkids, great friends, a beautiful home, a great job –all wonderful, marvelous things. No, not yet. Stay here with electricity that goes off and on all day, water we have to boil to use, no clothes dryer, amidst all of what we see...Yes, I want to stay. We are just getting grounded. I can sense and see what God has yet for us here. Home will be later.

What We Saw this Week

On Monday we went to Red River orphanage – home to well over 200 children of all ages. The people who run the orphanage are doing their very best in very difficult circumstances. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

John Wright and his family minister in three or four different orphanages every week.

These little guys are probably around six or seven. They followed us everywhere. The far on on the left is available for adoption we understand. He will need alot of recontructive surgery and speech therapy.
This is Amare....his best friend was adopted by an American family and is now in America. We understand that a family is considering him and live close to his best friend. They had been together since toddler days.

Christiana works as a translator and goes everywhere the Wright family goes.

Never a missed opportunity for a hug.

Bekah and lots of her friends. I have never been as impressed as I have been with Bekah and her older sister, Emma. They took six months off school to spend the time in Krygyzstan. They will go home changed forever. Emma is 17, Bekah is 14.

Boys are the same everywhere!

Natalia, our translator and new friends.

The urte- a historic nomadic home

Meeting a Young Mom and Her Children
After leaving Red River orphanage, we stopped with the Wrights to drop off food to a single mom, her husband, like many, many fathers is absent from the family. She leaves in a remodeled barn and will be evicted this fall because the owner wants it now. When we arrived she wasn’t home, but her three young children were. The oldest, probably nine, ran down the street quite a distance to get her mom from work. She was planting tomatoes to make an income for her family – maybe a $1.00 a day. We were told the story that when her youngest started to crawl, she would tie him to a tree before she went to work so he would be safe. Our mind would say how could you? But I have never had to make the choice – to stay home with my children and care for them or to go to work to feed them.

When we left this beautiful young mom and her three children, I turned to John Wright in the van and told him “thank-you” for seriously disturbing me. The eyes of the children I saw today are locked in my heart and memory.

David is praying with this family.

I think it is time for me to reread that chapter on being seriously disturbed in Kay Warren’s book – Dangerous Surrender.

The journey continues…

On a totally frivalous sidenote:These pictures look like we both have gained a whole lot of weight! Actually, we haven't, we've lost weight. Cameras don't always tell the truth!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beginning the new week - Experiences from Sunday

David was asked to preach in a very small village church about 30 minutes from where we live. It was a great joy to be in this small church, led by a single woman pastor. She is also an adoptive mom and we met her two children, Veka, age 6 and Timothy, 1. I will share a prayer need for her at the end of this blog.

From David
Jayne and I were picked up this past Sunday morning, May 18, and driven to a small poor village about 30 minutes east of Tokmok. The pastor is a lady named Elayna whom I had met on an earlier trip. She was in one of the pastors’ conferences at which Jerry Heatherly and I taught.

There were about 35 people at the church. Very poor, very trapped in a lifestyle of extreme poverty and needs of every kind. I’m always asked to pray for individual needs and the stories I hear are heartbreaking to say the least. I have no answers or solutions except to touch them, bless them, speak words of life to them, pray for them and break the curses that have bound them. Once again, there were no men in the church with one exception – only women and children.

We had dinner at the pastor’s house, which is also the church building. She served fried eggs, dried fruit, bread, tea and nuts. It was her best and we loved it. We blessed her for it. We left her small gift, 500 soms, about $14.00. She was most grateful.

Briefly allow me to relate what I spoke about in the morning service. My text was from Colossians 2:6-9.

Verse 6 says that having received Christ, we are to continue in the journey by walking in Him. So many times we begin, but, tragically never finish. Verse 8 says that we need to be mindful of the deception of this world that has the capacity to pull us back into it.
I then took the liberty to share with them how it is that I have walked with Christ for 43 years.

My walk with Christ has continued to this moment by my…

1. SHOWING UP- no matter what else is going on-or not going on
2. PAYING ATTENTION – to what God is doing and saying
3. DOING WHAT I AM TOLD – the key to the miraculous (and I have seen many)

When we see what we see here, feel what we feel here, we simply say, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”

Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement…the journey continues.

A need: Pastor Elayna is a single mom, pastoring a church, caring for the sick and elderly in her village. She also is the spiritual coordinator at the orphanage for disabled children. Elayna is in desparate need of health restoring dental work. We are attempting to find out how we can help her. If you would be interested in helping us with her dental care, please email me at

Keeping a Promise

Robin, we kept our end of the bargain :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Week of May 12- An Incredible Friday

We have heard of it for years. We participated in it for years. But we never got to see the results - until Friday. What are we talking about - the delivery of Samaritan Purse's incredible shoeboxes. We visited a Chinese muslim village on Friday, enjoyed a school performance and had the great joy of passing out the shoeboxes full of wonderful gifts for the children. It was an experience beyond words!

Getting ready to load the truck.
Filling the trucks with boxes for 500 children at the Chinese muslim village school.

These boxes, we understand arrived from England. The ministry spans the globe.

Over 500 children packed the auditorium for a beautiful program.

Scenes from the program. I hope to have video of this added next week.

These beautiful young girls are 2nd graders.

Opening the shoeboxes. One of the things we learned is that there is a general shortage of boxes for boys. We will pass that word on.

The children were so excited and so apprecitative. It will be a day we won't forget!

The Week of May 12 - Highlighting Thursday

Last Thursday was the quietest day of the week for us. We went to Bishkek for shopping and to deal with our lugguage situation. We had no resolution and without a mirculous intervention, it is lost. Our next issue, which we are finding equally as hard, is trying to get compensation for the loss. We are getting the run around again and it is so difficult to try and manage this with the language barrier.

We have moved on from the lugguage/compensation issue in terms of trying to deal with it almost every day. There are so many more important things to focus on and we have made the conscious choice to do that. Right after we made that decision we had an incredible offer for help and that is two adoptive families are coming to Krygyzstan and to Tokmok on May 25th. They had offered to buy clothes for us from a list we will send.....what a gift to us.

The picture below is our group that met for lunch on Thursday at a very nice restaurant. Two of the couples are adoptive families visiting children they will be adopting in July. One of the unexpected things we will be doing is meeting adoptive families who come to Tokmok. I am excited about that!

Thursday was a great day...
The journey continues...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Week of May 12 - Highlighting Wednesday

Wednesday morning I had the privilege of speaking with four classes of students at the nearby School of Blessings, a Christian school founded by Mercy Foundation. It was a great time of connection with the kids and their teacher, Galina.

Later that day, we returned to the Olovoka orphanage, dropped off Emma and Bekah there and went to call on some village folks. Here are the sights we saw on Wednesday afternoon.

Off in the distance is a cemetary. They bury their dead high on a hill so they can still watch over their flocks.

This is a a typical barn scene. We also see lots of cows and sheep walking down the road, right alongside of cars, trucks and donkey carts.

A typical village backyard.

Farming the fields of corn.

The cadillac of the village.

Sharing a drink of sour milk...actually it was good (with alot of sugar!)

These last two pictures are of a family we called on. They asked David to pray for the grandmother.

The Week of May 12 - Highlighting Tuesday

This past week was so full of new and interesting events, we wanted to share it in pictures.

Here's Tuesday
David has been asked to fill a leadership role as spiritual director in the new Professional Institute in Tokmok. This school is to open in the fall and promises to be one of the top schools in Krygystan as it grows.
Each Tuesday, the Professional Institute board meets. Dr. John Clark (blue shirt) and Dr. Kamilla, founders of the American University in Krygyzsstan, are now key people guiding the development of this new school.

We spent Tuesday evening at the Tokmok orphanage eating dinner with the kids, playing games and having a great time. We understand one of the children will leave there in June for her new adoptive home in the US.

After a fun-filled playtime, the children gathered for a devotion and prayer time.

We don't know anything yet about this incredible little seven year old, but he captured my heart!