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Saturday, May 22 -- Finally Back Online!

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Day 9: Thursday, May 20 – On to Another Chapter in VISION’s ministry to Ukraine



The VISION team departed from Dniprodzerzhinsk Thursday by train. (If you think that city name is scary in the Roman alphabet, here’s how it looks in Cyrillic characters: Дніпродзержинськ!)




During the five-hour train ride, we had an interesting encounter with a man who heard us speaking English and introduced himself. His name is Sergiy, and he is an evangelical believer involved in orphan and camp ministries, including puppetry and magic illusions for kids. He was amazed to find a group of Americans on a train in the middle of Ukraine, let alone the fact that we’re believers and involved in similar ministry, and he felt it was of God. He asked if he could teach one of our team a few “magic tricks” with a length of red rope, so Lizzy took that on. These are used to attract kids’ attention, and also to illustrate simple Bible truths.




We arrived in Kharkov with no problems and were met by Vladymir (“Vova”), the Ukrainian director of Slavic Christian Ministries. Vova was my host a year ago when I had the opportunity to visit Ukraine for four days following last year’s VISION trip to Poland.




He, along with two translators, Natasha and Lena, delivered us to our next lodgings, two apartments about 2 miles apart, where we settled in and got a good night’s sleep.







Day 10: Friday, May 21 – Love in Any (or No) Language




The ministry of Slavic Christian Ministries (SCM) focuses largely on orphans, and our schedule with them includes several all-day visits to various orphanages. On Friday, we had a great day visiting Krasnakutsk, one of the best government-supported facilities in Ukraine, as Vova describes it. It was about 90 minutes northwest of Kharkov in a beautiful green and gently rolling landscape with many trees including pines.




The children there are very young, from age 2 to about age 9, around 60 in number. We tailored our performance to them, adding a flannelgraph lesson on Jonah, taught unrehearsed but very effectively by Liz Converse through an interpreter with materials provided by SCM. (I must report that Mike’s performance as the “strong man” in our drama “King of Hearts” was a little too intense for one of the young children, who ran cowering to one of the orphanage workers for protection.)




When we weren’t performing, we played a variety of group games with the kids, and generally spent time carrying them around, roughhousing with them, and just holding them. Their craving for a human touch was evident, and it was moving to see our student’s willingness to show some of God’s love to these kids. We so admire the women who serve in these facilities, giving the children the mothering that they so desperately need.




Many of the VISION members had tears in their eyes as they pulled themselves away from these precious orphans. They would have taken some home, if that were possible. (Vova says that very few of these children ever get adopted. For information on how you can get involved…just let me know!)



521 Francisco as the Goose




521 John Townsend explains kaleidoscope 




 521 Caleb and new friends




521 Francisco and kids 




521 Three reasons to smile 




 521 Musical Chairs




521 Lizzy with orphan 




During the day, it became apparent that Lizzy Byrd was not feeling well. She did her best to stay involved with the performing and game-playing, but by our late dinner in a cafeteria, she was experiencing tremendous abdominal pain. She has had bouts of a digestive disorder in times past. It apparently has to run its course and the only thing that can be done is to stop eating and try to relieve the pain. In the States, the treatment has involved hospitalization and IVs. We were able to contact her parents and get more information. At this point, the decision was to allow her to rest and sleep as much as possible, and try to ride out the pain. We had several prayer sessions over her and are praying without ceasing as we continue into Saturday.

Keep praying!

Larry Wilson
VISION Faculty Adviser



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