On our last Monday in Ukraine we visited some of the children in the rural villages as well as one of the Roma settlement in the city. To be able to see where these children lives helps us to have a greater understanding of their challenges and pain. When we hear a story of how children saved their drunk mother from drowning by keeping her head above water in a watery ditch, it is truly heart breaking. Our hopes and prayers is for the gospel to reach deep within these family's lives and also into the system that enslave them.
An important thing I've learned is that it is sometimes easy to show and display the needs and poverty of a people group versus their strength and assets. But by doing that, we may inadvertently lower their dignity and value. If our mission is to participate in the restoration of humanity's relationships with God and our value as being made in the image of God, we will need to shift our focus toward the other's strengths and potential as opposed to what they don't have or what they can't achieve. The depth and width of what Christ has done go beyond our broken spirit and individual salvation, it is big enough and powerful enough to change the world, and with it, the transformation and reconciliation of political systems and social structures.
On our last evening together, we had a great evening of fellowship with board games while children played out in the field. It is interesting to see how everyone comes together to form this community. Their desire to fellowship together is not a program, but it grows out of a commitment and love to be together. They are not together because of services rendered; it's not because there is a children program while parents meet, or a great speaker for the meeting. But there is a deep desire to serve and love one another as a family. As I consider what it means to have hope and faith on this trip, I am challenged in that maybe my hope is too small and too narrow. If my hope is based on a narrow view (N.American perspective) of what family and community mean, then I may have missed out on the rich meaning of being adopted to into the family of God. Reflecting on my time spend here from my first trip in 2009 to today, I've learned from HOM and their families of what being adopted into a family means, and that a community that flows from the love of Jesus is absolutely powerful even in the midst of darkness.
As we take photos with some of the youths we've seen grown up, we give thanks to God for how He guided their paths. We pray for all the little ones that they too, will know the loving presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and that one day, we can gather together to share what God has done in their adventure with our saviour.
- We will be leaving for Budapest tomorrow, please pray for a good journey home.
- Pastor Adriel has developed a dry cough that's not getting better. Please pray that he will have rest and healing.