Vovkavinci for the 3rd time!
My third trip to Vovkavinci and I fall in love with my kids even more. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely difficult and a faith challenging trip, but God opened doors for me. When we first got to the camp, neither of my two favorite kids were there. Sasha wasn’t coming back and Dima was away playing soccer till the next day. When all of this hit me at once, I was so surprised at how content I was with the situtation. There was a calmness in my heart, which definitely didn’t come from me, and I was ready to make new relationships with different kids. I knew that if my two boys weren’t there, there was a reason for it and I’m pretty sure that reason was to create new relationships.
This time I was not in Dima’s group. I was in the oldest group which had mainly girls and 4 or 5 boys. This challenged me the first day. I was wondering if I should be in Dima’s group or if it would be better not to be. But I know now, there was a reason for me to be in the group I was in.
The first couple days at the camp were difficult. Not just for me but for the whole team. It’s a very dark camp and most of the children come from the street. A lot of the kids feel like they have nothing to live for. They waste away their days going to the club, drinking, and smoking.. But by the grace of God, about 14 kids accepted Christ by the time we left.
I don’t think I have ever been as excited as I was to hear that someone accpeted Christ. Knowing that one person’s life had changed because of God bringing our team back to that camp, is mind blowing but around 14 kids? That’s a miracle. Yanick hadn’t been there the last 2 times I had been there because he had been at home visitng his mom and sisters. He has been at the orphanage for 6 six years and now he’s leaving. He wants to be a soccer coach and actually do something good with his life. I cannot wait to see what God is going to do in his life.
Even though a lot of my time was spent playing volleyball with Yanick or just walking around finding a translator to talk to him about God, my relationship with Dima grew even stronger. When I first saw him I was so scared. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen and how he was going to act. Well, he kind of shrugged off the fact that I was back to see him and didn’t really talk to me the first 2 or 3 days. This, of course, bothered me but with God and prayer I got through it. I just let him have his space and eventually he got over whatever it was and warmed up to me again. Just being with Dima makes me happy. He is worth all the drama, all the layovers, the countless hours in the airport, and all the worries I have about him. You can see God working in him. Dima is trying so hard to be a Christian, but he doesn’t have the positive influence in his life that he needs. One kid told us that when our team leaves, their faith leaves as well. How sad is that? Dima wrote me a note and gave it to me by the end of the camp and it basically said that he is trying really hard to read the Bible and have a relationship with God but that’s it’s just really hard for him. I know God is inside his heart, he’s just having some trouble finding him and trusting in him completely.
Vovkavinci will forever be my home and comfort zone in Ukraine. The kids there are family and the love that I have for them is undescrible. I cannot even imagine how much God loves them.