It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. -Mother Teresa

Monday, April 25, 2016

Serving Others

When you live in an orphanage, also known as a boarding school, in Eastern Europe, you don't usually have a lot of extra curricular activities. Especially long breaks like winter and summer don't usually offer many activities at all since regular classes aren't meeting and the teachers aren't there.

My children have some great memories from these long breaks though because others volunteered time and money.

First of all, my girls were allowed to and chosen to participate in orphan hosting through NHFC. That meant instead of sitting around the school all break, they were able to travel in America. This allowed them to experience so many new things...and to leave the school.

Yes, leaving the school is a pretty deal for some kids like mine. Their school was pretty self-contained and travel is very, very difficult. Michelle and Stacey only left the school a handful of times each year. (They didn't leave for school, they didn't leave for church, they didn't run errands...) They spent

Secondly, volunteers would come in and either take them to camp or host events at their school. Think summer camp.
Think Vacation Bible School.
Yeah, it was fun stuff with people who were choosing to be with them voluntarily. That probably doesn't mean much to you but it meant the world to them.

While we were "in region" in Ukr*ine during our adoption, our lawyer had a translator who sometimes traveled with us. Because of road conditions we may only travel a short distance but be in the car together a very long time. We got to know each other a bit...and she shared that she had personal experience with our girls...because she and her husband run a ministry, The Nasledie Heritage Foundation,  that hosts these camps.

You guys, she had memories of our girls! She had been praying for them. She had been serving them before they ever had an adoptive family. Even as I type this, this mama's heart is overwhelmed with the enormity of that.

We have been able to follow up with this ministry since we have been home. They have so many exciting things happening as they prepare for this year's summer camps.

They have 600 orphans who they plan on ministering to this summer. It only cost $60 US to send a child to camp. (I am spending way more than that to send my kids to camp this summer here in the US!) Only $60 for a child to have a chance to leave their school...have fun...make memories...just be a kid!

We sponsored one child as a family. We told the kids that we would match whatever they donated if they wanted to help individually. During the week, each of my three oldest daughters handed me a $10 bill. Each week these girls earn $10 by helping me with a cleaning job at a local business. For each of them to give me $10 means that they each chose to give every single spending dollar for the week.

With each one, I stopped whatever I was doing and helped them "send" the money online. When you give through the organization's YouCaring site, it asks if you would like to leave a message. Michelle and Stacey both said, "Yes!" That really surprised me. They searched for words in English to tell how much the camps had meant to them.

Sigh. (Mama's heart about to burst.) 

I know that I have said it before but I am going to say it deal.

Serving others is a blessing that many of us take for granted. My oldest children grew up in a culture that required you meet your own needs first otherwise they won't get met. All this putting others first stuff is new to them.

We model, talk about, and suggest opportunities for the girls to serve others and  I am delighted when I see them come up with something on their own!

Sometimes it is easy for us to see a need and know how to meet it.

Sometimes we need someone to model, talk about it and suggest it.

So my kids who just last summer lived an orphanage and were ministered to by Nasledie Heritage Foundation, are modeling, talking about it, and suggesting it to you....sponsoring a child to attend a camp is a great way to serve! Please join them!

Nasledie Heritage Foundation's

Facebook Page

You Caring Page

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