I got to go back to the place that God used to stir my heart for kids, especially orphans.
Yet, though these kids live at the orphanage, they are no longer orphaned...many of them have found the love of the heavenly Father-which has been the goal and purpose of this orphanage.
Not only to fulfill God's commands of caring for orphans, but to lead them to an eternal hope and salvation in Jesus Christ!
A majority of the time in Ukraine, I was in Litin, about a 30 minute ride from the city of Vinnitsya where the orphanage is at. But my team did get to have a couple visits to see the kiddos, and at the end of the week, some of the older ones joined us for a shish kabob party at a friend's house.
My husband got to spend most of his days with the kids at the orphanage.
and guess what, he fell in love too.
It was SO incredible being able to share my love of Ukraine with him. Such a treat and oh, so special!
Especially watching him fall in love with the same kids:)
I'll share more about what he did in Ukraine a little later.
But, since he did get to meet the kids and work with the kids at the orphanage, number 7 on my bucket list is now complete!!!
[7. Introduce Ryan to the kids at the Vinnitsa orphanage in Ukraine]
Here are some old and new pics of the kids...
(This one is one of my faves...I don't know who was holding the camera for either pic, but they took pics when I was hugging Ira goodbye the last time I was in Ukraine...and when I saw Ira for the first time in 2012!:))
And a big part of going back to the orphanage was reuniting with dear friends, Evnika and Masha...I have had the joy of working with them as they shared their lives and hearts with the kids and were translators. They are amazing!
Over the years, they didn't just become friends, they became family.
Natasha and Alla always seem to take my camera, year after year...so many of these pics are some of their handiwork:)
Tota Luda and Djadja Nicolae - seeing them again was precious!!!
I don't know why I'm in such awe how quickly these kids have grown over 4 years.
I left them as little ones, and they've all grown up!
I guess I'm at a point of life where I've stopped growing, but I can see everyone else around me growing up and changing....
I can guarantee, it won't be four years til the next time I see these sweet faces again.
Four years was way too long.