“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” —Elizabeth Edwards
Hello UOO supporters,
We hope that 2021 has been kicked off to a good start, with health, provision, and a covering of inner joy! As we enter into our 15th year of ministering to the marginalized in Ukraine, we are humbled and stand in awe of how God has carried us through the years! Both Clarke and I know, feel, and see that it is only in His power and will that we have made it this far! We continue to remind ourselves to stay in a posture of leaning into our Lord to discern and follow His will for our work, which we are so privileged to do in Ukraine.
With all honesty, we have both questioned “how much longer can we continue our work in Ukraine?” We thank God that He has provided for Ukraine Orphan Outreach and remind ourselves of how blessed we have been to be a part of something so much bigger than we could have ever imagined.
As we reflect back and look forward, we wanted to share a piece of our hearts and how we have been changed because of working with the least in Ukraine.
Faith -When we first decided to adopt back in 2002, we took our first big step in faith. Faith that this was the right choice for our family. Faith that paperwork, finances, and processes would all align. Faith that God already knew the outcome of what our adoption would look like. Through it all, faith has been the common thread of our adoptions, orphan advocacy, and awareness. God has always been one step ahead of us, being the light at our path. We give thanks to Him for His never-ending faithfulness.
When we look back at our journey through our adoptions as well as our orphan ministry, God has been all over it with His hands. There are so many tangible instances in our ministry where God was clearly orchestrating the bigger tapestry of His will, while carefully weaving us into his masterpiece. It is so beautiful to reflect upon His goodness and knowing He will do the work necessary for His glory. We give thanks to God for his everlasting Providence.
Provision - In all instances, God has provided what was needed for each moment during our journey. His provision has included not only the finances to be able to do the work we have been called to do, but He has given us rich relationships of dear friends, new and old, that together, we can cultivate and grow His Kingdom here on earth for the least to see His wonderful works through all of us. We give thanks to God for his endless provision.
Seeds- God is our Great Cultivator. He teaches, encourages, and shows us how He desires seeds to be planted to expand His Kingdom. He will make them grow and flourish. As we are all ambassadors of Christ, through us, God will nurture, develop and grow His children with the desire for the least to find their identity in Jesus Christ. As part of the cultivation process, God truly does break our hearts for what breaks His. When our hearts are broken it is then that we are rooted deep into a passion that turns one’s life upside-down, with the vigor, anger, discontentment, and call to justice to do something.
That seed for Clarke and I was planted on April 3, 2003, in Lugansk, Ukraine as we completed our first adoption and left Natalie’s orphanage for the last time. The seed that God had planted deep in my heart haunted me at night for months once we returned back home. I would dream consistently of orphans innocent eyes as we waved goodbye to those left behind. My heart cried for the orphans left behind, as I started to understand they need to just be KNOWN. Who would tell their story, who would be their voice, their protector, or their advocates for the sweet souls? Our passion was rooted and started growing. We give thanks to God for planting seeds in our hearts to live out His will through our lives.
Fruits- As we look at our past and see how God clearly planted the seed in our hearts, we have also seen seeds planted in those who have been a part of Ukraine Orphan Outreach. Whether as a volunteer, a missionary, an adoptive child, church members, the orphans that we work within Ukraine, or our very own families, we have been a part of something bigger, orchestrated by God. While we are blessed to see the fruits from seeds that have been planted, we may never know the eternal impact from all the planted seeds. What a joy, though, it is to see the fruits of God's work here and now. So many celebrations of fruit to be recognized as miracles! From adoptions, to aged-out orphans leading fruitful lives as they start families of their own. We have a handful of young adults that lived in the transition homes who now are serving overseas as missionaries! There are so many celebrations to be had of the fruits of God’s providence and provision through UOO, I would love to share if you would like over a cup of coffee! We give thanks to God for the fruits that He has cultivated and allowed us to be a small part of.
Community- This is where we are reminded how blessed we are to have such a wonderful community that surrounds us as we continue to pursue His will and work in Ukraine. We are forever grateful to those God has brought to us that support us in so many different ways. Through the community’s acts of service, prayer, collaboration, and provision, countless times we find ourselves in awe of how things always seem to work out! While being co-founders and the leaders of Ukraine Orphan Outreach, as humans, we carry a burden. This burden is a bit of a double-edged sword as it can weigh us down. Yet, on the other side, our passion continues to be fueled as we grow and stretch our faith while we get to witness His perfect plan for us! We give thanks to God for YOU and for your support over the years. God’s work could not be done without your love, prayers, and commitment to serve the least! Thank YOU!
As we look into 2021, we are planning loosely and with an open posture to see if we will be able to travel on a mission trip hopefully this fall. We also have a goal to keep all our sponsors/donors updated quarterly as to the “news” from both the House of Grace and House of Hope. We also would like to ask for a prayer request for the first quarter of 2021. In December of 2020, the van at the House of Grace was totaled. We are praising God that Maxim (the house dad) was the only one in the van and was slightly injured. He has recovered from the crash, but the van now needs to be replaced. We are currently raising funds and God is so good, we are 64% funded. Our goal is to raise $21,500 for a new van. We covet your prayers. We also ask if you know of any churches in your area that may offer financial assistance through any grant programs, please let us know. (Flipcause – please insert the campaign link her for the “van”)
Thank you so much and we love you all! Many blessings to you and your families in 2021.
Eternally adopted by HIM,
Kris and Clarke Stoesz