Fun. Laughter. Extravagant love. Joy. Triumph. Compassion. Excitement. Tears. Healing. Hugs and more hugs. Potatoes and buckwheat. Creativity. Singing. Rejoicing. Miracles. Awakened hearts. And….more love.
A little girl, nonverbal, barely in control of her body and unable to walk, claps her hands with joy when she sees her volunteer at breakfast in the morning. She tugs at his beard and rubs his face as he beams with delight over her, like a proud father.
Six sweet souls from Romaniv run and swing and slide without a care in the world. I think they laughed for eight days straight.
Weary moms walk with a new spring in their step. Every day they hold their shoulders a bit higher. They smile with tears in their eyes as they see their children loved with abandon- just as they are. “I didn’t think anyone could ever love my child like that.”
Addy runs across the grass holding hands and laughing with Ryan, a most special young man. Their giggles echo across the field. Addy gushes, “I love you Ryan!”
Vlad, a little guy with special needs, his first time at camp, holds his head high as he belts out the Ukrainian national anthem for a room crowded with people. His mom cries as thunderous applause fills the room.
My own children’s hearts fill with love and compassion as they grow to know these special people God has placed in their lives. They truly begin to understand why we live here in Ukraine and tell me “We have to stay here. The boys at Romaniv need us to love them!”
My prayers are answered.
Ukrainian volunteers give their whole selves to serve and love those who their society has cast aside. Beauty beyond measure.
I stand in the back watching a slide show of pictures throughout the week and realize there is no place on earth I would rather be.
A week absolutely full of glimpses of God’s Kingdom breaking through into earth.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
Mission to Ukraine hosts two summer camps each year for people with disabilities. The first camp is for children, and the second camp, which starts on Monday, is for teens and young adults. Children with all levels of ability are present and loved. I can’t begin to describe the beauty. Today we head back for the second camp and our hearts are bursting with anticipation. May the love of God fill every single corner of every single heart. May each soul know the love of the Father like never before. May mother’s hearts be renewed and strengthened. May it be on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you for your prayers!
Visit MTU’s Facebook page to see many more beautiful pictures, and a picture of Romaniv boys doing a traditional Ukrainian dance!