Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stop for the One in Front of You

On the airplane ride here, I read a book given to me by my friend, Sherry Ballard. It was written by a missionary to Africa, Heidi Baker. In that book, she told of how she learned to "stop for the one in front of her" in terms of ministering to the needy.

Heidi compassionately related the story of walking down the street in an African village and passing a small boy huddled on the sidewalk. She felt God telling her to stop and minister to that boy. She did and as it turned out, the boy was a street child, an orphan. That was the first orphan child their ministry touched and from that one touch, they were called to build a many orphanages in Africa.

Well, yesterday, David and John felt compelled to "stop for the one in front of them." They were visiting a small village about 15 miles from town and a young mother brought her son to them.

He is a little fellow, around three and suffers from a severe cleft palette. Both David and John "stopped for this one."

Today, John consulted with a doctor regarding the needed surgery and will know on Monday what the cost of this restoration miracle will be. We will share in the cost. If God speaks to you regarding this young man's need, please visit John's Look for the USA donate button and put "village boy" in the donation line. Also, you can email us with any questions.

May we all learn to stop for the one in front of us....

This little fellow's entire future will be changed with restorative surgery.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Time of Reconnecting

Last summer, we posted a picture on the blog of a little girl. Her name was Marina. The first time we saw her she was scavenging through the city dump. Our hearts were deeply moved by what we saw.

Just a few days later, we learned she and her little brother were safe in the home of a volunteer, Larisa. We spent time with them the rest of the summer. AND ON MONDAY of this week, we were finally able to reconnect with a dinner at the Wright home. It was wonderful to see them looking healthy and well.

This is the first time we have seen the children and can Valera stare you down!

Aksana (l) also lived in Larissa's home last summer. These are special children to us.

Although they are now living in a local orphanage, Larisa stays in very close touch, seeing them two or three times a week and calling them regularly. Through a translator and my attempts at Russian, we were able to learn about how they are doing. In the weeks to come, we hope to be with them on a number of occasions.

One of the extreme highlights last year was visiting in a village near Tokmok. It was the village where Possiblities International, (John's group) provided the necessary fiances for a water line. They had been without a water source for 15 years and had to walk long distances to get it. While there last summer, we were able to share in the delivery the Samitarian Purse shoe boxes and spend several hours on a number of different occasions.

WELL, TODAY, David was able to reconnect with the people we knew from last summer. One mother was so pleased that David remembered her son’s name! David and John Wright went there today for a coffee hour with the villagers, hoping to reconnect with them and offer encouragement and support to them. They plan to return on a weekly basis until we leave.

The first coffee hour in this small village.

Someone recently called David, "the baby whisperer" because he has such a special way with children.

We understand that this little girl heard the team was coming and wanted her hair all fixed up. I think she is about three.

While coming home, David and John passed by this elderly gentleman. They stop to inquire about him to learn that he is homeless…living in the shell of the building in the picture. It is hard to understand, but this man, who was offered a warm bed and a place to stay turned it down.

Only Because David Insisted
One of our most joyous activities is spending time with the children at the Tokmok orphanage. Tonight we stopped in to share dinner with them. Someone asked me last year, “I thought you went to Kyrgyzstan…where are you in the pictures.” David is determined that I show up in a few of them…so here is one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Journey to Rekindle Hope

We have no idea what it feels like to be homeless. We have no idea of what it feels like to be elderly, with no source of income and HOMELESS. We can only begin to imagine. Our first week here, we had the opportunity to visit a shelter for the elderly and homeless. In our first “What Love Looks Like,” we wrote about Tonya and her family, who almost by themselves are providing shelter and loving care to abandoned seniors.

On Friday, we had the opportunity to participate in something absolutely incredible. As a result of a number of financial gifts, including one from the Institute for Human Services in Columbus, Ohio, David, Lynn and John went on a hunting expedition. Their assignment - to find beds for the shelter. After spending several hours in Bishkek, they called. They not only had enough money for 15 beds, but for couches and chairs. We eagerly drove to the shelter amidst a traffic jam, to await their arrival…..two cars – stacked to the top and two small trailers. No one at the shelter knew we were coming.

The traffic jam on the way to the shelter for the homeless seniors.

The beds, couches and chairs arrive.

Before carrying everything into the home, we all gathered for a picture and then began to unload….through the open windows. The grandmothers sat down for a picture with the social work team from Cleveland.

Furniture unloaded and ready to move it all in.

The fastest way in.....through the first story window!

The furniture moved in and the grandmothers and grandfathers join us for a picture.

Well, Friday night was just the beginning. With a financial gift from one of the team members, Michelle, we all went on another shopping trip – to do a “kitchen shower” for the shelter. With all the new kitchen tools, we planned to take dinner to them on Saturday evening. We all pitched in to prepare a spaghetti dinner (Ruby’s creation), salad, cheese, sausage, and of course cake. What a joy to serve these precious people.

After the Saturday morning shopping trip for the "kitchen shower." Thank you, Michelle

Dishing out the wonderful dinner!

Waiting to be served.

Waiting to be served.

A gentle touch lets her know she is important to us and to God.

Enjoying every bite.

What could be better than ending the evening with chocolate cake!

For a brief moment, we wanted to let them they were not forgotten….God knows their names and knows their needs. One grandmother told me that “her children have no use for her now.” Maybe, for one brief hour, she felt important to someone. When you visit an orphanage or a shelter like this, we usually get the same question - will you be back? and the answer is yes! It may not be us, exactly, but our team and others who are called here to serve alongside of us for we all are an extention of the family of God.