Update from Anika and Open Arms

May 25, 2008

Hello Friends!

So I figured since I actually have real internet now, I thought I might take the time to write a good update and let you all know how things have been going since we got here. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to do a good job of concisely putting into words all of the thoughts, emotions, stories, misadventures and workings of God that are all running through my head right now but I will do my best.

Life. Oh life. Living in Ukraine has been beyond anything I would have ever thought or even wanted to imagine it would be. Every day is a challenge that stretches me further than I know how to go and with each new day I am more confident in the fact that this is where I am supposed to be right now. And also more confident in the fact that I might be completely out of my mind. At almost any moment of the day, if I stop and look at what we’re doing or where I am or who I’m with I just laugh and think, “What is my life?!” This country, the food, the culture, the people, the kids… it’s all pretty insane.

Yesterday marks 8 weeks since we left America. It’s funny because on one hand it feels like we just got here, and on the other hand it feels like we’ve been here for forever. The things we have already seen and experienced and dealt with and cried over and learned… it’s more than I could have thought possible in 8 weeks time. Some of it has been truly amazing. Some of it has been extremely hard. Every day’s emotions seem to often include every possible emotion. I wish I was good with words but I don’t feel like I can really communicate any of it. God is working here. Some days it is much harder to see than others. There are moments where I am so excited to be where I am, and then there are moments where I wonder what in the world possessed me to move to this country. I am learning to cling to the good moments and hold on to them when things aren’t going as smoothly as I might wish them to. These kids… There are so many scars on each of their hearts and sometimes, or more often then not, the hurt from those scars comes out in less than pleasant ways. We keep telling each other that this is going to be a long road with these kids and I keep reminding myself that nothing is going to change overnight, but wow… some days it just seems like the road gets longer every day instead of shorter. The abuse, neglect, hatred, anger and nightmares these kids have lived through is more than I could ever imagine. Every time I hear just another part of one of their stories I feel like I see just a little deeper into the pain of their hearts. And I feel an even greater need to love them. 99% of the time I feel so utterly clueless as to how to help them. I daily wonder if my pitifully frail example of God’s love will ever be able to help change them at all. Praise God that it is His love that is what will really change them and not me. Praise Him that I don’t really have anything to do with it and He can work through even the most helpless 21 year old college drop outs who are completely ill-equipped to do the job.

There are a thousand stories I would love to share, but I don’t know where I would even really start. So here’s the deal. I don’t feel like all of you will want to read my rambling attempts to communicate on a super regular basis… thus I have started a blog. http://ukrizfoshiz.blogspot.com/. As of right now, there is nothing there but a picture of my face but I fully intend to start putting some stuff there ÓËÏÒÏ – soon. Maybe even tonight… But right now it is 1:32am and I haven’t had a good nights sleep in a while, so I just might go to bed. So this is not the most amazing update you have ever gotten, but if you have made it this far congratulations, you’re almost done! Thank you so much for all of you who have been emailing me and praying and supporting! I am so thankful for all of you! And if you haven’t been doing that, maybe you should get on it. 😛

Prayer requests: We’ve had some issues with kids drinking while they are here at our apartment. We’ve set up rules and consequences but they aren’t really having much impact right now. We are trying to think about and pray about what other things we can do besides what we’ve already been doing. So please pray for wisdom and direction in that and that we would come up with a new/revised plan soon. Also pray for Roman Yeremenko – I don’t fully understand what is going on because of a lack of discussion with a translator, but I guess he’s in the early stages of TB. The doctor told him not to drink and not to smoke and he should be ok… He’s on medication but that’s about all I know. Pray that God would heal him and that he would do and have the strength to do whatever he needs to keep himself healthy [he, like most every other Ukrainian, smokes a lot and doesn’t really have any intention of quitting]. Pray for more financial support as we are being given more and more kids to minister to and thus, more and more money needed in our budget.

Ok this is officially really long and I am going to stop, for all our sakes. I love you guys. Thanks for all your support!



For all our posts on this ministry to Ukrainian orphans, click here.



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