Saturday, August 23, 2008

From Invisible to Visible - David's Weekly Perspective

Jayne and I had the privilege this week to see a vision come into reality, from the invisible to the visible. Several years ago, Elder Yang, the founder of Mercy Foundation in Kyrgyzstan, saw a need for an institution of high learning. This institution must be built on integrity and educational excellence. The facilities, staff and equipment must be the best they can be.

On Friday, August 22, I sat in a classroom at this institute watching the students come in for student orientation. The vision has become a reality and now a new story will be told and lives will be changed

For the past two months, I have met with the staff at the Institute sharing core values and leadership principles. In one of these sessions I talked about vision. I shared that a vision...

1. Comes to life in the mind and heart of a person.
2. A vision often comes out of one’s own experiences and history.
3. Visions, of the good sort, always adds value to people
4. A true vision will miraculously attract resources from many sources

Such is the story of the vision for the Professional Institute of the city of Tokmok in the country of Kyrgyzstan.
Elder Yang addresses the faculty and new student body of the Professional Institute on Friday, August 22.

David is addressing the staff of the Professional Institute just before orientation began an hour later.

Students gather on the steps of the school preparing for orientation.
Bekah meets Altynai and her new roommate.

John Clark (in the blue shirt) and Camilla have been instrumental in guiding the staff and faculty in the creation of this new institute.

A Healing Moment

Allow me to share an amazing story about a young boy, around 12, who lives in an orphanage here. The orphanage director, quite concerned about him, asked me to talk with him. A month ago, I began meeting with him on a regular basis, asking him questions and then listening to the answer.

I heard a tragic story of loss, brokenness and trauma that had created much anger and hurt in his heart and mind. We talked a long time and then I asked him if he would allow me to ask God to take all the hurt and pain away. “Yes,” he said. So I simply asked him to feel all those emotions that he carries every day and then we would ask the Lord to take them.

He did this and I asked the Lord to take them. He looked up at me and told me he felt them leave. The Lord also had spoken a word to him. For the past several weeks I have checked with him on how he’s doing. Peaceful and calm, he reports.

During our most recent visit, I asked him, is there anything you would like to share with us? “Yes,” he said, “thank you for making my pain go away.” I quickly told him it wasn’t me, it was the Lord. I told him to always remember that God is real and knows our needs, is present with us and speaks to us.

We rejoiced with him concerning the fact that his pain was gone. Like all the children that we see regularly at this orphanage, this young man has captured our hearts. They all carry the pain of rejection, abandonment and trauma at some level. We truly count it a privilege to touch one life at a time.

This incredible young man represents so many youngsters living in orphanages throughout Central Asia.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bekah's Journey Begins

Very early last Wednesday morning, David, Nastya(from Bekah's host family) and Valera, the Foundation driver, were at the airport to pick up Bekah Gibson.

Bekah is a young, 23 year old student from Treveca Nazarane University, where she is completing her Master's degree in Counseling. We have known Bekah since she was about eight years old and are so excited to have her here for a few weeks. She has had numerous international mission experiences, so this is nothing new to her. However, in an email she wrote to us just before she came, she told us, "there is a mystery in my heart about Kyrgyzstan." Perhaps God will reveal that mystery to her while she is here.

Nasta, left and Bekah....a 5:30 AM arrival at the Bishkek airport. Bekah will be staying with Nasta and her mother, Elenya, who is vice-president of the Foundation. They live in an apartment just above us.

We wasted no time in putting Bekah to work. After a little rest following her thirty hour travel trip, she joined us at the Tokmok orphanage, where we teach English twice a week. While here, she enthusiastically agreed to handle both the English lessons and crafts with the kids. I just get to go and love on the kids and she gets to do the work.

Each youngster took their turn at introducing himself to Bekah.

Victor is one who captures everyone's heart when they come to the Tokmok orphanage...actually all the children do!

A game of "around-the-world" with the English alphabet.

On Thursday, we just began working with the kids at the Orlovka orphanage on lifebooks. We are so excited to be able to do this with them. Bekah will work with the same three girls twice a week as they record important information about themselves, their families and their history in a book they can keep.

Bekah will work with these three youngsters for the next two weeks as they write their lifebooks.

This is the first time the children have had the opportunity to work on the lifebooks. Last year, Lynn and Ruby Johnston trained the staff on this needed tool. They have been wanting to do it since that training and are so appreciative of the time given to help them accomplish it.

Friday, we had the opportunity to join the Foundation people at the mountain camp for a weekend retreat. It was a fun time for all of us and gave Bekah a chance to meet many more people. She speaks Russian and that has been so helpful for her to connect with kids and adults, alike.
David shares with the Foundation staff at the weekend retreat.

Natalia, our translator (and much more than that) and Bekah are becoming good friends.

A game of water ballon volleyball....

...we lost

in the mountains...

We have planned many activities for Bekah while she is here, but they are only plans. We want most of all for her to hear from God on what He wants her to do, to see, to hear, to experience.

Thanks for sharing our journey....