Our departure is a day away as we enthusiastically finish up final details and packing in anticipation of what the Lord has for the team as we head to Ukraine. Please keep the mission team in your prayers as we continue to prepare our hearts and minds to serve alongside our friends in Ukraine. Although we pre-plan our days in Ukraine with our ministry partners, our plans are His plans first and we leave any expectations at home and be open to new opportunities that are led by the Spirit.
Human Trafficking: My class that I am taking this summer for my Master’s degree at seminary is covering human trafficking. It has been a raw, emotional and poignant journey so far, leaving me exhausted after my daily studies. I have passionately talked about human trafficking very frequently in the past as it relates to our ministry. Through the studies this summer, the profound and overwhelming facts discovered in the readings, the videos, the stories that uncover the horrific evil side of humanity are being exposed and often leaves me physically ill at the end of my day just thinking about the suffering trafficked victims are forced to endure. It’s wrong. It’s evil. I have found myself praying and asking God what must be done in the circle of influence that Ukraine Orphan Outreach is a part of?
If you want to educate yourself as part of our journey together, this video, “Sex Trafficking: How it Works” was part of my assignment this week and talks about the situation in Eastern Europe. While it focuses on Moldova, Ukraine is a carbon copy of what goes on with trafficking. I have to warn you, the images are horrible, the stories are unforgettable, and it may haunt you as it has haunted me. After the fall of communism in 1989 and as the newly formed countries were finding their democracy and independence, a floodgate of consumerism brought with it sex trafficking. Sick. I am sure that many of you already know this statistic that is often stated about the situation in Ukraine that “60% of girls that age-out of the orphanage, sometimes as young as 16-years old, will be lured, forced or coerced into sex trafficking”.
Please come alongside our team as we discover what God has for us to work, advocate, fight for and come along side those who are the weak, vulnerable and potential victims of traffickers. Ukraine Orphan Outreach has been given an opportunity to work with aged-out orphaned girls who find themselves now being new mothers. They are living in extreme poverty and at high risk of their sweet babies being taken away into the orphanage, repeating the cycle of orphans making orphans. These single moms are also at a grave risk for being sex trafficked due to their desperation to survive and provide. Traffickers are predator’s who circle around waiting for their prey as they watch and wait for an orphan girl to get so desperate they break and give in to the lies of a better life that traffickers tell.
Shining His Light
Through the journey of orphan awareness and care, God has been so good to show us our next opportunity to serve in Ukraine. With the situation discussed above, do you see how God has prepared our hearts and minds through experience and awareness of the current situation in Ukraine along with knowledge and partnerships that allow us to DO SOMETHING? Furthermore, Ukraine Orphan Outreach has been blessed with a large grant from Foundations Church in Loveland, Colorado to be able to plan, develop, and implement a life-giving plan to help preserve, protect and educate single-orphaned mothers. While we continue to pray and discern God’s will in this new endeavor, this trip will give us the opportunity to explore possibilities and start developing plans for forwarding progress.
God is good all the time….all the time God is good!
What we will be doing….
Now for a quick review of what our trip looks like:
The second week we will travel to the east on an overnight train to visit our family at the House of Grace in Kramatorsk. We will be in great hands as Oksana, our Field Director, spends the last week with our team. Our plans in Kramatorsk are to hang out with the guys at the HOG and visit a handful of orphanages. We are also praying and meeting with the Agape team to learn how we can partner to care for the many single orphaned young mothers who are struggling just to survive.
The last two days of the trip will be back in the capital city of Kiev. Our plans are to meet up with old friends, make new ones, tour CBN (Christian Broadcast Network – Orphans Promise) and hopefully a few hours of sightseeing and learning about the history of this amazing country!
We would like to thank you all for your prayers and support as we GO. We are eager to see what God has already planned for our trip.
Personal prayer request…
As I embark on leading six missionaries, can I ask for prayer? My prayer is for health, stamina, and balance as I feel overwhelmed with the topic of human trafficking and the amount of schoolwork I must do during the trip. While I am blessed to study on-line, the expectations of reading, writing and group participation is exorbitant as well as exhausting due to the content matter. In addition, please pray for my stability of emotions as we as a team are exposed to the suffering of the people we love and serve in Ukraine. Please pray for our meetings and time together with our ministry partners as we come alongside and work together to develop and implement programming to save and assist single-orphaned moms, with the hopeful outcome of saving them from traffickers as well as their babies being institutionalized.
May, Julia, Mike, Alison, Tatiana, Natalie and Kris
Thank you all, and God bless!