August 8, 2006
David Hendrix and I are leaving this Saturday for Ukraine. I will be flying: Atlanta/Paris/Kiev/Odessa...and then a 3.5 hour van ride. Pray for us. We will be spending most of our time in Kherson but hope to make new connections with a ministry in Odessa. So, in a little overdays we fly out. I am really hoping that I can also sit down with Nastya for an hour or two and get her story on tape.
This problem is so huge and few people know about it. We hear about the kids in Africa, China, and South America, but the problem is immense in most countries. I love the Russian and Ukraine people and understand that they would not want the world to know they have this problem. They are a proud people, yet they do need the world's help. The kids should not have to live and die in the streets waiting for the political process to awaken. Now is the day to reach out to those who are forgotten by the world.
Today I watched "Schindler's List" again. It is the story of one man's quest to save as many Jews from the Holocaust as possible. The end of the movie is heartrending. Oskar Schindler is saying goodbye to 1,100 people saved from a horrible destiny. In the end he collapses in tears saying, "I didn't do enough". His good friend hands him a ring with the inscription, "He who saves one life, saves the world entire".
It never feels like enough. With so many thousands of kids living alone in darkness -- right now, at this moment -- it doesn't feel like we are doing anything to help. My daughter and her husband just sent me a book by Heidi Baker called, Always Enough. I look forward to reading it. Yet, how can we save them? What can we do? Our hope is to save just one. And that is enough. Yet, it is not.
There are many needs around us today, but we pray that the needs of these kids will not go unnoticed. We pray that God will not only provide for our trip needs (which are just about covered). But, we also pray that He will provide for extra funds to help with supplies and needs while we are there. Any amount will bless. You can donate on our PayPal connection or through the mail.
And above all - please pray for us on our trip. Pray for safety. Pray for us to see what the Father sees.
July 18, 2006
the orphanage, the children's hospital, interviewing staff and of course spending lots of time with the kids. We also plan to take several thousand pictures. David and I feel very strongly that this trip is of God. We ask you to pray with us for the confirmation of the timing.
One of our directors, Dr. David Hendrix, and I are praying about a trip in three weeks. Our goal is to collaborate on a book about the hatches kids. We would be traveling to Ukraine and gathering data, interviews, and observations. We are hoping that by the end of this weekend we have confirmation support for our trip and can confirm our tickets while they are still available. To date we have heard from some of our partners in Russia and Ukraine who think the book idea is an excellent approach to raising awareness about the street kids. If we go we will
July 12, 2006
he has been living among the primitive enemy long enough to realize that his own culture is not so advanced in their own sense of human kindness. When I go to Ukraine and see the peeling paint, stinking sewers, and wild dogs wandering the streets, I thank God for my country. Yet, there is another side to Ukraine. There is some new construction, blossoming vision for industry, and then there are the people.
This morning I viewed my annual The Last Samuri. Something about this movie inspires me. At one point Tom Cruise returns from captivity and looking over his own army's aggression he says, "I need a bath". The point is
In the movie, that is what Tom Cruise falls in love with -- the heart of his enemy. He begins to understand them. He begins to see the simplicity of their lifestyle. In Ukraine there is a simplicity, a slowing of the human race that is refreshing. When I go to see the children -- that is what I see. My computer is left at home. The cable television that steals so much of my time is turned off. I have no mail to check. All I have time for is the children. When I am there people want meetings and set up programs. That is all good. Yet, it is my time with the children that slows focuses my vision. When I am there in front of them I can see something clearly. In their eyes I sense a simplicity of purpose and desire. Their purpose is to survive a few more days. They simply want someone to love them. That is their desire.
Back home I boot up the computers in our office, flick on the television while nuking some lunch, and pull a pile of bills out of my mailbox. The simplicity of a child's heart begins to fade. It isn't long before my culture overwhelms me with distraction. It all leaves me thinking it was just a dream. Regretfully, it is not a dream. I have seen the children. They are real and in need. My goal is to wash away as much of the distraction as I can. So many days I look around at my culture and wonder about our kindness. We say we want to help. We cry a bit. And then we turn on the television and just forget.
We will not forget. We will try hard to be an advocate for those forgotten. Please help us, help them.
July 6, 2006
It seems like everywhere we go people are moved by the plight of the street kids, and for good reason. We are receiving reports from all over the world that the problem is getting worse. Here are several excerpts:
Appalled by the rate at which some parents are dumping their children onto the streets of Rundu as if they were "puppies", a group of four concerned young white women has resolved to come to the rescue of these unfortunate street children. http://allafrica.com/stories/200607050637.html
A Catholic organisation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has organised a "Love Summer camp" for 1500 street children which involves singing and hip-hop dancing. http://www.cathnews.com/news/607/24.php
One man said he had a dream twenty five years ago that he was working in Russia and there were crowds around him. When we presented the street kid problem he said something clicked. He will contact us. We also met Rick Ellis who has worked with orphans, building orphanages, for seventeen years. A great man in the Kingdom. Another contact was Jeff Chandler whose group has just been signed for a recording contract. He was moved by the plight of the kids and may set up a benefit concert. They have a myspace site.
It always moves me when I look over at our display and there is a young child transfixed by the slide program or pictures. There were several at Living Way. It seems the plight of the street kids moves the children. We had a six year old collect thirty six dollars after hearing us on the radio. Nine year old Rachel traveled with her mother and our team to Kiev this summer. Seed planting for the next generation? Maybe they will be the ones to end this tragedy.
June 6, 2006
Our good friend Steve Wilmot recently traveled to Kiev with a team from his church. He wrote about his trip in his newspaper. Read it here.
June 15, 2006
I am already missing them. It has been less than one month since we returned from Kiev and I am already missing the sight of the kids who live in streets and are forgotten by most. I just had a thought. Dr. Haaz foundation is trying to raise funds to renovate a center for older children. They would actually be able to live there, learn a trade, catch up on education and be cared for by people who love them. We need hundreds of such centers -- right now! However, we start where we are. I am actually hoping that maybe Nastya will become one of the residents. Who knows.
So, here is my thought. The center needs a minimum of $10,000 just to open the doors of the center. The building is sitting there empty while kids are sleeping in sewers. This isn't right. I was thinking if we could raise this amount right away, I might put together a small team yet this summer to take it over to Alla and maybe do some work on the center.
Do you have an extra $10,000 that God is prodding you to use for His children? If just one person would sell their second vehicle, or camper, or ???? Maybe you know someone who has it and you could present this need? Maybe God is putting their name in your heart right now. What do you think? Can we get some kids off the street? Let me know.
June 7, 2006
Summer is here. It is a time to review the past and consider the future. It has been three years since I first saw a video clip with Nastya living in the sewers of Kherson, Ukraine. It broke my heart. After a trip to Russia and meeting the street kids first hand I had to do something. So, Shepherd's Purse was born. Over the past three years we have shipped clothes, purchased needed equipment for hospitals and kid's centers and taken teams on four trips to Kherson and Kiev. ven though we have "begun" to peak interest in the U.S. about the plight of these kids, funds and help is just trickling in. Everywhere I speak I see tears in people's eyes. They cry for the babies abandoned in the hospitals. They cry to think there are actually children sleeping in sewers and abandoned buildings. They cry...but never actually help the children...not even with one penny. I understand this. There are so many requests for our money and time. It is overwhelming. Yet, I am so frustrated knowing the kids are suffering like they are.
Yet, something feels terribly wrong. E
I just checked a website of a new organization that has been in the works about six or more years. Just in the past couple of years they have bought washing machines for orphanages, a new furnace for one, provided hundreds of boots and thousands of coats. This is all sooo good! Yet, I found myself sinking into frustration. I know these people have a strong sphere of influence among those who have means to help here in the U.S. Feelings of failure began to settle into my soul. We are doing so little and cannot seem to stir the big deals for the kids.
Then of course I woke up from this pity party and realized it is God the Father at work in all this. It is Jesus who is stirring hearts and if the hearts are not stirred to action