Day 2: Met and had lunch with the group from Bible Orphan Ministry, explored the city.
Just to let everyone know, we should (God willing) get to meet Valentin on Monday 4/23. Right now we are in the capitol of his country. Tomorrow is our referral appointment where they will show us Valentin's file and hopefully a baby picture. Our official referral paperwork will not be ready until Friday afternoon and because of the weekend we will not get to meet him until Monday :(
We woke up to rain this morning, the most beautiful birds singing outside our window, and the realization that we are in Valentin's country!!! We were so tired yesterday it really did not sink in until this morning. Although he is still many miles (or should I say kilometers) away, there is something comforting about being nearer to him.
We have been very blessed with great internet service and have been able to Skype with the kids. I think they are taking the distance much better then we are. I am so glad they are having fun with Nana and Pa and I know they are very well cared for and very loved over there. It is heartbreaking to be away from them but God has given us tremendous peace about it all. He has set our feet firm in this mission and has equipped us beyond measure to complete His work here. Plus, Tyler and I set our minds before we left that we were going to keep a good attitude about it all. We miss our kids already but we are taking this opportunity to spend some quality time together and enjoy our time as a couple. It has been lovely.
The group from Orphan Bible Ministry drove up to meet us for lunch. We were so excited to meet them and hear more about them and there ministry. It was delightful! They suggested a great restaurant serving local food and I tried Borscht for the first time, very yummy.
After some great food and great fellowship the group offered to show us around the city.
They took us to this bridge, who's name evades me right now. Bridge of love? Locks of love? Love bridge? Lock bridge? I forget. But the tradition is for couples to inscribe their names on a lock and once locked they 'throw away the key' literally throwing it over the bridge. Cute really.
After meeting the team of Bible Orphan Ministry I am ever more convinced of the amazing work of God they are doing. They talked so tenderly and lovingly about the orphans they go to visit. While most shun special needs orphans into mental institutions, they are visiting them, providing them with shoes and necessities, they teach them about Jesus, and they give them love and affection that no one else is offering. They are the only ones showing these children that they are loved. And they should know, they too lived in orphanages. They are using their sad experiences in the orphanages for good as they work to transform the lives of others in similar situations. Over many years they have built great relationships with orphanage directors and so they do not share much about what goes on in the orphanages because they must keep those relationships in order to reach the children but just the little they shared is so very sad. We spent the whole afternoon talking to them and are honored to now call them friends.
You are probably going to hear this a lot from us because we believe so strongly in what they are doing, but would you consider helping them? They are a full time ministry and provide a lot of material items to the children and as you know it all cost money. You can donate on their website two ways; through PayPal for just a general fund or using their chip-in for current projects found on their homepage (right now the current project is Gifts for Graduates). At some point we want to do a donation drive to provide the materials and supplies they need too. When we asked how we could help they simply asked for prayer. We can all do at least that :)