Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
In this post we talked about the strong support system we had in Ukraine and how we prayed for God to bring others alongside us at home to fill that deep need as we left Kyiv. He has more than answered that prayer. We arrived home to a refrigerator full of food, meals from neighbors and friends for days, gifts of clothing and so many precious friends continuing to pray for and encourage us.
Our friends, the Meiners, have stepped up to the plate. They are coming alongside us each step of this journey and it is beyond incredible. They adopted 4 children, 2 each trip, 10 years ago and they are now teens similar in age to our four. We are joining them for worship each Sunday. They had us out for dinner and a special event last weekend and then yesterday invited our children home for the afternoon to play and work. We had previously planned to meet at the park in our small city for a picnic and fireworks last night so it worked perfectly to meet back up there after the two of us enjoyed lunch at Cracker Barrel and a nap in the afternoon. It was a priceless gift and time of getting outside the box, regaining our perspective and being ready for the new week.
Church is still a struggle for two of our children. It seems to be the thing that hits them hardest. This is spiritual warfare that was intense in Ukraine and we knew it would intensify when we arrived home and they began this new life and opportunity to know the love of Jesus and family. They have been heavily indoctrinated with the teachings of the Russian Orthodox church and the differences in the styles of worship and teachings are tough for them. We are so thankful for our Christian friends who are coming alongside us and sharing the passion for willing their hearts to Jesus. We cannot do it alone. We will plant the seeds but it will take many to water and God to give the increase. We will be patient, give it time, never give up and watch God work in their hearts. We are looking forward to the beginning of a small group Bible study for teens they will participate in on Wednesday nights this fall. A young married couple lead the group who are passionate about coming alongside us in this journey. We are so blessed for God to send so many.
For being home a day short of two weeks we are all doing incredibly well. Beyond what we could have envisioned. Lest we paint too rosy a picture, it is not all easy. We have tough times and some defiance from one. She is lazy, complains about most everything and is also adept at pulling the others into her misery. We pray for wisdom to diffuse those situations and that God will protect and guard the hearts of the other three. The fun afternoon yesterday was such a blessing because they saw that other families work together and live much as we do and it was a time of diffusing the intensity of their reaction to church. They really enjoy time with this family and their children are rising up in an incredible way to minister to our children and come alongside them. We were amazed at the perception of their youngest son and his passion for seeing our children come to know Jesus. This family is also drawing us into fellowship and support with other adoptive families who share their stories and battles on this front line of warfare. God knew we needed Christian friends and cannot do this alone and He is meeting every need.
We are so grateful for each of you and hope that we will one day be in the downhill stretch of this process and can pass it forward to other families that follow the call to open their homes, hearts and lives to those who have no one to call Mom and Dad. The road is not an easy one and will likely get rougher as the newness of home wears off and the reality of their former lives becomes more of an issue for them. But, we are in…for the long haul and on a mission to see each of them totally sold out to Jesus and living every minute of every day in relationship with Him. That will be the day of Freedom for them and we cannot wait to celebrate that independence day!!