Saturday, June 21, 2008

Natalia - Our Translator and Her Important Role

We just got home about an hour ago from dinner with Natalia, her mother and brother. It was wonderful to meet them. I have been thinking alot this week about Natalia, her work and what she means to the ministry here. Actually, without her, not much could happen. It is such a blessing to have such a competent, commited, trustworthy young person with us. I don't want to miss an opportunity to tell her publicly how much she is appreciated.

Natalia, to my left, her mother, her brother, Jenia on Saturday night.

We have been here two months and from the first day, she has stayed right with us. She works hard, loves the kids and goes right in with us to difficult places. I made a mental list of the jobs she has done and the places where her help has been crucial just this week. It is like this most every week!

Here's a short list and this doesn't reflect our entire week :)

On Monday, she translated David's teaching, went with me to translate a meeting with a social worker in Orlovka, went home to work on translation work and came back to help with the ESL class.

On Tuesday, she translated David's teaching. We left there for our social worker training, which lasted three hours. She went home to work on translation, came back to help with the ESL classes and then went with us to the orphanage to help with crafts, etc.

The children absolutely love her. When we go home, part of Natalia's job will be to teach English a number of days a week at this orphange.

On Wednesday, we are at the Red River orphanage observing the incredible work of John and Julie Wright as they distributed shoes and sports clothing to the children. Natalia jumped right in and helped the kids sort out what they wanted. We came back from that to speak at a cell group meeting, which lasted two hours.

Natalia helping some of the children sort out their choices of shoes at the Red River orphanage.

On Thursday, we stopped at a home to pick up a burn victim. A young woman with at least 2nd degree burns on her face, head, chest and arms. She had many infected spots, but Natalia stepped right up to translate for her. It was difficult for me to see, but Natalia did what was needed. The hospital option is so scary, we couldn't get the woman to even consider going there.

On Friday, she helped us get around Bishkek, a huge city and find our way to the cancer hospital. She helped David minister to Pastor Elenya at the cancer hospital and has made numerous calls to check on her for us.

David is praying with Elenya and Natalia translates in the background.

On Saturday, Natalia translated for a counseling session and went home to finish the translation for my training needed by Monday morning.
On Sunday, we start all over again.
I wanted to share this with you to let you know about one very important person to our ministry here. We thank God for her - for her character, her commitment and her care of the people we meet.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Update on people you've met

Mariana and her brother

We have great news about nine year old Mariana and her little brother, who were hiding in the dump the day we visited there. She and her little brother are now in the foster home of the village social worker, Larissa. Their mother gave custody to Larissa last Sunday. The children are confused and sad, but safe and couldn't be in better hands to nurture them. Larissa has participated in our trainings the last two weeks and the material we covered on attachment, separation and placement couldn't have come at a better time for her. She was very grateful for the support.

Pastor Elenya

We have shared with you regarding Elenya and her need for dental care. After visiting the dentist, he referred her to the cancer hospital for a possible jaw bone tumor. It appears now that is the case. It is hard to get the complete story. We do know that she was scheduled for extremely serious surgery today, but it could not be done because someone stole the oxygen equipment from the hospital. It is possible that this complex surgery will be done tomorrow. We plan to be there tomorrow and hope to be with her before surgery. We are very concerned for her, how they will do what they will do and her prognosis. Please pray for her needs - physically, emotionally and financially. She is the single adoptive mom to these two beautiful children.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Saying Good-bye to Nastya

On Wednesday morning, June 18, Nastya leaves for America. She is being adopted by a family living on the East Coast. It was sad and exciting both to say good-bye to this precious 12 year old. Her life, her future will be forever changed as she steps off the plane in New York.

Gulya, the orphanage director and Nastya
We met Nastya at the orphanage where we go each Tuesday night. John, Julie, Emma and Bekah Wright have been going there each Tuesday to prepare dinner for them, do a craft or play games. They invited us to come, but they didn't tell us we would fall in love with these awesome children. It is absolutely one of highlights of each week. We soon heard of Nastya's pending adoption while there one evening. We had hoped to be able to meet the family. That won't happen due to the schedule of picking her up tomorrow. We were not able to find out much information about where she is going and exactly where she will be living. From what we understand, she doesn't know much either.

If we had met her parents, we were have told them that the little girl they are adopting is a young person with a promising future and a sweet, generous spirit. They will enjoy being her parents.
The Wright family, Gulya and Nastya

So, Nastya, we had our final hugs tonight and for you the journey is beginning. May God bless you, protect you and guide you.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

David's Perspective

Greetings to each of you. Thank you for being there and sharing this journey with us. A fellow pastor friend of mine in Ohio asked in an email, what it felt like entering into, and living in, a different culture.

That is a good question, but not easy to answer- at least not for me. I guess you could say one experiences all of the emotions, in one way or another. The one thing that I do know is that these are beautiful people and something of importance is happening.

I teach and counsel at Mercy Foundation and its many employees nearly every day and speak somewhere nearly every Sunday. Interspersed with all of this is as much time as possible spent with the people, though they are in orphanages or adult invalid home or any number other places.

Jayne is making amazing connections with governmental officials, local and national, who have great interest in and need for, the very things she has spoken about and written about for many years. Her trainings have begun and continue to grow.

I would like to take a moment and share my sermon outline with you from this morning, June 15.

My text was from Proverbs 23:7 that says “As a man thinks, so is he.” My point was to demonstrate the truth of this passage. How a person thinks sets the direction, quality and affect of his life. The receiving of Christ is to be followed by the renewing of the mind.

I used as an illustration the life of Paul in Acts 26:9-13. Verse 9 indicates a belief system that determined his behavior, v 10, and created inner rage and destructive conduct in verse 11. As Paul believed, so was he, and so did he to the detriment of many others.

Of course, after he received Christ, his mind was renewed, the direction of his life and the affect of his life changed. From rejecting Christ to accepting Him; from hating believers to becoming one of them; from hurting people to healing people.

Later he spoke of all this with a much younger man named Timothy, in I Timothy 1:12-15. He never forgot what he was, what he had done, what Christ did for him and how his life changed.
What a transformation, wouldn’t you say? “A man thinks, so is he.”

You are important to us, deeply appreciated and missed greatly.

Children gathering for dismissal to Children's Church.