Well besides roomates locking each other “Inside” their rooms (we won’t mention any names cough Rhonda and Gene) we awoke to a bright sun shinny day…our first. We heard through the grapevine that in 17 years no mission cruise has ever been rained on…well I guess we were the first and until today had missed “walkin in sunshine”!!! Guessing that we know those beanie hats and socks came in handy with the recent cold (40 degrees). We all decided that next year we are including sunglasses, baseball hats and sunscreen to ensure warmer days ahead!
Today we docked in Zaporozia and traveled to an orthopedic orphanage…home to about 80 kids all with bone or joint problems. They were between the ages of 4 and 15 and came from other orphanages for treatment of broken bones, scoliosis, or rheumatoid arthritist. It was incredibly wonderful to see these beautiful faces waiting to be loved…but even more painful to know the love they are not gettiing. This encouraged our hearts even more so…and in ways we could express His love…and a little of our own.
We gave the orphanage games, balls and sports equipment which gave us the opportunity to have a little fun. I think ALL the boys were blown away watching Andrea (head of our rec team) spin that basketball on her finger…guessing they thought a girl could not do it! Candace and Jenny played parachute games with giggling preschoolers…you should have seen those faces under the cloud of that chute! Forgotten Boyfriend Austin (sorry we forgot to mention he was the boyfriend in the skit yesterday), Rick, Chad, Troy, Chris, Alicia and Gene kept the boys entertained with soccer, karate, football and a variety of other sports. The kids loved it…and after all the desserts we’ve been eating the exercise is coming in handy!
Dan Dan Our Karate man spoke to the kids and demonstrated a few Karate moves. While doing this he told them how we are all weak without Christ. It was a testament of faith to kids who are physically week and want to be strong.
While all that was going on a few team members were asked to step inside the orphanage to speak to the 12 kids that were bed ridden or unable to go outside. They gave them a few gifts, sang, as well as performed the skit about Lost sheep. Joe, our shepherd, does a BAA..ry good job searching for his herd among the kids (they think it is funny they know where it is and he doesn’t) as Jill tells the story. Amazingly one of the boys inside started talking as soon as he saw the team. As Ira interperted his words the team realized that he remembered the team from last year and kept saying Sheila..who was not able to be here with us this year. Proof once more that these visits do impact their lives in powerful ways!.
The attachment these younger kids made with us in such a small window of their lives (ours too) was the shining light we needed to remind us that God’s grace is always evident…even in the storms and despair.
Last but not least…we surprised Birthday Girl Kim Allen with a special surprise at dinner…Cake and accordian singers!!! What an experience for all of us to share…now if we can only talk her into sharing her gift box of chocolate candy with the team!!!
Please continue to lift us up as we continue on His path. —-33 Amigos, Ira, Uri and Uri 2.