Because there are an average of 45 kids in this orphanage (the number of kids is constantly changing) and because the funds available to this orphanage are limited, birthdays are celebrated once a month. Twelve times a year, the kids have a cake to celebrate everyone who had a birthday in the last month, and during that time small presents are given from the orphanage. I knew this and realized that Luda really would get nothing special on her special day, so that is why I decided to take action!I bought this delicious caramel cake, a bottle of Pepsi, and some plasticware and showed up (with my buddy Nelya, who is my right-hand gal) at the orphanage. We came unannounced with our little "party" and really surprised the girls! Now, originally I had planned to take Luda and her sister (along with Nelya) out to eat at a restaurant (which they have probably never in their life done), but she turned down the offer. I think she was embarrased and overwhelmed, so I decided to come up with "Plan B" in order to make her feel more comfortable. "Plan B" ended up being the best option!But the very best part of all, and the thing that has had me in jitters for weeks now is the gift we were able to present to her... her very own great-quality Bible! Awhile back, a sweet lady from Florida (whom I have never met) wrote me and explained that she is adopting a baby from Odessa, Ukraine, which is several hours from us. She has been following my blog and wrote to ask if there was anything she could do to help with our orphanage ministry here. So, I responded by telling her my DREAM for these orphans... to eventually buy every single one of them their very own, quality Bible. What better gift to give these orphans than a ROAD MAP for life?!
Marianne sweetly sent $40 for me to purchase TWO Bibles, and the first one I bought with her money was for Luda for her 16th birthday! (The Bible ended up costing a little more than I told her, but we gladly added the extra few dollars). The second Bible I get will most likely be for Luda's sister, but I am waiting for a special Bible I ordered to come in. Which brings me to this thought... can you believe that we have a Christian bookstore here in our city?! It is very small, but I certainly will not complain! And, it is too bad they do not do name-engraving here...
Before we presented Luda with the Bible, I asked Nelya to open it and write a letter in it. In the letter, Nelya explained that this Book would guide Luda through life, would help her through problems, big decisions, and anything else that would come up in her life. She encouraged her to read it daily and treasure it. I am sure she will!
The orphanage director has agreed to let us bring 10 orphans to teen camp with us this year... 5 young ladies and 5 young men! This will be the first year we have involved the orphans, so I am thrilled beyond measure at the prospect of what this week will mean in their lives spiritually. Luda and her sister Ira both want to come... so now we will just wait and see who the other 8 will be. PLEASE begin praying, even now, that God would do amazing things in their lives this summer!
Please visit Marianne at her blog here, and join me in thanking her for making a difference in an orphan's life! And pray for her, too, as she goes through her adoption journey to take home a little Ukrainian girl with Down's Syndrome to give her a better life. My hats off to you, Marianne!