With his head bent low and hands in the pockets of the suit he wore earlier in the day for his graduation from school at Shpola Orphanage, Vlad contemplatively walked up and down along the tall grass in the woods away from the celebratory bonfire and smores everyone else was enjoying. The sight of him pulled at my heartstrings. Was he thinking, "This is the only place I have been provided for and felt safe. What now?" Did he feel frightened and forsaken?
The children in the Ukrainian orphanage system “age-out” and graduate after completing 9th grade (average age between 15-16). Hope Now USA realizes the need for these children to have support as they transition into the “real world” and has developed a thriving ministry to assist them as they enter the next phase of life. Hope Now helps with housing, schooling, clothing, advice, and financial needs all the while building a community for the graduates to come together regularly for spiritual growth and connectedness.
Sponsoring Vlad in this critical juncture in his life has taken those pulled heartstrings I felt on his graduation night and applied them in a practical way to help him succeed; vocationally, personally, and spiritually.
Earlier in the day of his graduation, my translator and I shared the Gospel with Vlad by making a Salvation Bracelet. I noticed he was listening intently. I could see in his eyes he was engaged, and not just stringing beads on a piece of leather. Perhaps that was a seed that came to bear fruit three years later when Vlad came to faith in Christ. Glory, hallelujah! Through Hope Now’s ministry (reaching out, providing financial assistance, sponsorship, prayers, inviting him to social activities, Youth Group, and church) Vlad was shown love and “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He accepted Christ as his Savior! Praise God that Vlad’s eternal future is secure, and he does not have to be fearful about his earthly future. He now knows he is never alone, and God will never leave him or forsake him.
Having witnessed first-hand the impact that Hope Now USA has on the “least of these” as they serve and strive to be the “hands and feet” of Christ has been extraordinary. If you would like to join me in partnering with Hope Now through prayer, volunteering, or financial support, please reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by going to their donation page.
I have learned in a profound and wonderful way that one act of kindness, or one invitation, or one need met, or one missional trip across the pond, or one sponsorship can make the difference between fear and peace, between existing and thriving, and between life and death.
By: Becky Terry
Here I am on the airplane from Amsterdam heading home to Atlanta, and I want to write down a little memory of camp before I forget it. It’s so hard to think of individual moments because the entire week at Kompas Park was momentous.
I remember it was my team’s time to go to the beach. When we got down to the river, I was asked if I knew how to kayak. Sure! Two of the girls, Larissa, and Marina and I, went out in the kayak...
When I think about my time as a volunteer at Kompas Park camp, it is very difficult to narrow my thoughts to one event that would describe my experience. I could have never expected the connection I would make with each of the children in my group in such a short period of time as well as the impact we would make as a group.
The most poignant moment to me occurred on Wednesday evening as the boys in my group were preparing for bed...