Our trips to Ukraine are blessed, exciting, rewarding, and most of all busy…
We stay up late, have Bible camps, attend meetings, plan, spend time with our Ukrainian family, with our PHA family of kids, orphanage directors, refugee centers, local churches, local Christians, random Americans we have connected with who happen to be there when we are, cook American (by that we mean Mexican) food, pray, love, go over financials, hear needs and get up to speed on the ministry.
All that to say time flies by often too fast and so many things come at you in one day it’s hard to stop and think. Actually stopping and thinking about all you hear, see, and experience is the absolute last thing you feel you have time for. One, just one of the many things/ situations is enough to drive you to your knees, make you fight through tears and pray for days without ceasing. And each trip it seems we are met with a countless number of these “situations,” these “stories”. You want to tell others. You want them to know “what our kids go through”, “what our Ukrainian family has to help with daily”. But you can’t. You can’t show the emotion. Take the time. You can’t stop leading the team or being the face of personal relations for PHA or the shoulder for the PHA Family.
You want to explain all the “behind scenes” stuff to the rest of group but you can’t. You can’t stop, you can’t take the time to process you can’t. You want to take more time. You want to actually sit and visit with the elderly refugee lady at church longer, the kid who just graduated from the orphanage longer, your Ukrainian family longer. But the day fills and fills…
And then you get home. And all of a sudden it hits you…
The kid who gets abused (you know the name and have hugged them). It’s one thing to know the theory, it’s quite another to have it confirmed. The kid who made more bad decisions. The same kid you thought had come through the flames. The kid who you know got beat when they returned “home” from summer camp. The unkind words spoken to those you love. The misunderstandings you wish you had taken more time to explain.
How to share the story, how to keep it confidential, how to use it for Gods glory….?
You hear- “I’m glad you are home.” Where “So am I” would be the appropriate response it’s not the one you can honestly give. “I’m glad you are home” comes with love but even though it’s nice to be home your heart is still there. Still needing to hold and pray and love. To sit and listen and try to help those who help daily. But your job, your real mission is here. Sharing with others what goes on there.
So you share the stories and you pray. You plan to go back… And it all starts over again.