In the middle of singing the above mentioned song in service this morning, I felt a tug on my sleeve. Without taking my eyes from the words on the screen, I leaned down to see what the child sitting to my left wanted. "I'm nervous," Kristina whispered. "Of what?" I whispered back, "The words are right there on the screen." She rolled her eyes at my attempt at humor and went back to singing.
We were invited to worship at Petal Harvey Baptist Church and speak with one of the Sunday School classes about orphan ministry. Kristina would come with us to the presentation and she was afraid she wouldn't know what to say. Quite frankly, so was I. After worship, we made our way to the upstairs classroom. Robert spoke briefly about what the Bible says concerning adoption and then I shared our personal journey with a room of about 30 young married couples. We played the video we made of my first trip to Ukraine. Its always difficult to watch the video. You would think it would be easier after seeing it countless times, but it never gets easier because I know the need now is even greater than it was then. I tried very hard to stay composed, but when I saw Kristina tear up I felt my own emotions welling up.
It is interesting to see her come to the point where she is able to reflect upon where she has been and where she is now. Some orphans embrace their bleak future and begin self destructive behaviors as at a very early age. We witnessed children who were already prostituting themselves, numb to the hope that there could be any other way for them to be loved and needed. Other orphans, like Kristina, refused to see things for what they truly were. For many months, we battled "the lie". The lie that someone would come for her eventually, that somehow she wouldn't be one of the girls who would sleep on the street at the mercy of others. We understand that her clinging to "the lie" was a defense mechanism. Its what kept her from crossing over into the abyss of hopelessness.
Although she was terribly nervous and had moments of stage fright, she was able to share a little bit of what life was like in Ukraine. And like me, afterwards she thought of a million other things she wanted to say to the group. Because she was in the room, Robert and I specifically didn't share the horrors of her personal story and some the details of much of what these children face. We trust that what we were clumsily allowed to share will plant a seed about adoption in the hearts of others.
For months we've been trying to figure out why God has brought us to Mississippi and why we have borne one difficulty after the next in coming here. But this morning, we were reminded that perhaps God's plan has yet to be revealed. If just one family who heard our story becomes involved in orphan ministry or adoption, would the sacrifice not have been well worth it? God showed us today that he indeed has a work for us to do. Pray that He would open more doors that we might speak with other groups and churches to share the message about adoption. This is what Kristina was brought here for: Gloria in Excelsis Deo - Glory to God in the Highest.
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."