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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Three Months Ago today, I left Ukraine….This is my thoughts for today


          Over the past year I have worked for Ukraine Orphan Outreach, the biggest highlight and success has been our mission’s trip.   If I could choose one verse that speaks clearly of  this year, I would choose Proverbs 3:5-6 which says:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths.  I have witnessed this over and over this year as I have to rely on his guidance.  It has only been in looking back that I can see his hand of guidance as I have sought one direction and He gently directs and makes changes until it is what he desired in the first place.

            If I could sum up this year and this missions trip I would simply say it was a result of being willing to commit to saying Yes.  Every team member who went on this trip at some time had to be willing to say Yes to what God was placing on his or her heart.  Maybe it was there first time saying Yes or maybe it was a series of Yes’ or maybe it was just an unconscious Yes but somewhere at some point each of them said Yes.  The word Yes is one of the most powerful words when it is followed with an alignment of Gods purposes.  When we choose to become a part of Gods agenda in this world we become a part of the "working" body of Christ and our lives become an adventure full of purpose and direction. 

            Last year in December, Grace Place and Ukraine Orphan Outreach began planning their first mission’s trip to Ukraine.  At the time, UOO was in the beginning stages of pursuing a transition home and it seemed like the perfect project for a mission’s trip.  As time went on it became more and more apparent that this would not be possible and that God had began to redirect.  Through a tremendous amount of support through Christian Broadcasting Networks in Kiev we began to put together a camp for 50 children who were either orphans or children from very hard places.  What we found out was that children from very hard places are children who are in living environments that are surrounded with Alcoholism, Abuse, Violence, Lack of Food and Poverty.  For these children, becoming an orphan is just a matter of time and in many cases they are better off in an orphanage.  An orphanage presents some stability, security, food and safety.  But for a child stuck in the unknowns of life, it is a very scary place to be.  It was in this place we were able to enter their lives and minister love and compassion.

            It is impossible to put on paper all the many details and life changing events that happened but I will give you a sample of the week.  The team arrived in Kiev 2 am on Saturday and got a couple hours of sleep, showered and prepared for overnight train ride to Kramatorsk.  We left that afternoon on a train that is lovingly called the “shake and bake” by those who have ridden on it.  Arrived Sunday morning in time to dress for church, shared a message with congregation and meet the leaders and team who would be running camp.  We also visited two local orphanages and delivered donations.  This time was the beginning of being overwhelmed with the generosity of those we served in Ukraine.  We were honored by a dinner put on by the local church the size and lavishness of a typical local wedding feast.  Later we hopped on buses and heading into the dark of the night to a camp deep in the woods of Ukraine.  The camp was primitive with hole in the ground toilets, cold showers fed from rain barrels and plywood cabins with no heat.  The next 4 days we set up camp and assisted in running the camp with the local ministry.  We played and supervised the children as well as the camp activities.  We left camp with many lifelong friends and many tears.  We spent the next couple of days in Kiev touring local historical sites, museums and being tourists.  The team left Ukraine with a well rounded view of what life is like in Ukraine and an understanding of their history both very important pieces to understand when serving in a foreign nation.  This team endured many days with little to no sleep (first 4 days no one slept more than a total of 7 hours) hot weather, squatting toilets, very cold showers and a lack of knowing what the next day would bring.  It was a total honor and blessing to lead this team!  A team that came together because of the decisions to say Yes to their call to serve.  What will you life look like if you answer the call and say Yes as well.  Stay tuned, we should have final dates and agenda set for our 2013 camps late January. 


Ps: Many thanks to Oksana Gorbunova of CBN, Grace Place Church of Berthoud and all those who served in Kramatorsk for their countless hours of support and love.  May God richly bless you for all you did and accomplished.


Check out our website for ongoing updates: www.ukraineorphans.org


Vision for the Children International 
www.VFTCI.org

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Just a cup of Joe

I read recently a thought provoking statement "If money is the only problem then there is no problem.". I had to really dwell upon that for awhile to understand the meaning.  For the many of us living paycheck to paycheck, money is the problem but is that what it is trying to say?  I think what it implies is if it can be fixed by money then the problem is fixable and really just an issue of resources.  Look at it this way,  if the problem is hurt, emotions, lack of love, or loneliness, well money cant buy you love as the great Beatles song says.  For the many of us in non profits who care and spend every waking moment passionately pursuing the needs of others, I have found there are plenty of individuals who will give there lives but lack the resources to get things done.  This is when money becomes the problem that binds our hands and feet and makes us unable to put into action sometimes the most obvious solutions to the problem.   But is money really the problem?  I don't think so, there is plenty to be had and in my great country we spend it like water.  Day after day we buy stuff that ends up in our trash cans or stuck in a closet until we decide to get rid of it.  For me it's the three dollar Starbucks coffee I am unwilling to part with.  I have been told that for 5 dollars I could save the life of a child by providing necessary medicine and food.  Who among us could  look at a child in front of him with a price tag of 5 bucks on his life, who would not gladly sacrifice their cup of joe in exchange?  So is money the problem or just our indifference to the needs before us the real problem?  As the good book says "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. "(Matthew 7:5 NIV). So I speak to myself and any willing to listen.  


Some of the greatest changes and moments in history are a result of not one man or woman but of many who were willing to do there part to make a change.  For some they gave it all, for others they gave what they could and for some they just gave a little BUT the whole of them accomplished something great.  Such are the needs of this world!  For me the needs of this world are so great at times that it can be insurmountable to comprehend a solution.  As a result, it can bind me in fear, excuses and the incapacity to move out in faith toward a solution.  It is only when we break down the need into smaller chunks, that we begin to realize we can conquer this world of need.  It still so often times comes down to money.  Money money money, such a powerful word.  Yet like the world of needs that surround us, if broken down into smaller sizes, then money becomes easier to manage.  Do you realize that 100,000 individuals giving 1 dollar or 10,000 giving ten dollars can build a family style orphanage in Ukraine?     It doesn't take much when we share the load to change the world of a child and set them free to enjoy healthy productive successful lives?  $5000 can build a well in africa that serves clean water to 500 or 50 dollars a month can feed a family for an entire month in many third world countries.  In these cases money can buy you love!  It is true much of the love needed to heal others needs money to move the love into place.  Anyone can afford a dollar and many of us can afford to give even more sacrificially.  So why don't we? Why not give a dollar or 5 dollars?  Are we ashamed to give small or is it that we feel that our contribution wont do much?  Let me encourage you as well as myself to sacrifice a cup of coffee or some small indulgence every once in awhile and give to a charity.  Take the time to find a charity and support them.  Be apart of the change.  Let's make a difference in this world we live in.


Blessings,
Christopher Green
President/CEO
www.vftci.org

Please consider a donation or sponsorship to Vision for the Children International  and help a child in need.  


Vision for the Children International 
www.VFTCI.org



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Time I dusted off the virtual typewriter

       So its about time I dusted off the virtual typewriter and started blogging again! So here goes..... For those who have read our blog, you know we have adopted two wonderful challenging awesome children from Ukraine. As a direct result of this adoption, we find ourselves increasingly busier; okay insanely busy is more like it. Go Figure! Life has gotten very full for us. So this said, let me catch you up a bit....

       After Monique and I adopted from Ukraine, we knew that this would not be the end when there were so many more children just like Daniel and Lydia who were in need of love and care. Many of you may not realize this but shortly after returning from Ukraine, I accepted a Field Directors Position for Ukraine Orphan Outreach (UOO). UOO is a non-profit 501c3 organization in Northern Colorado formed by adoptive parents and others with a concern for the future of orphaned Ukrainian children and orphans in general. UOO is currently transitioning into a more "on the ground" approach focusing energy and resources into the further development of aged out orphans in Ukraine. So, we are now in the process of creating transitional homes in Ukraine that help aged out orphans learn life skills that support them as they pursue higher education that can give them a degree or trade school education that will give them the best opportunities to get a job. They learn independent living skills, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and how to wisely take care of property and possessions. The goal is to show them the love of Christ by supporting them in all aspects of their life, just as parents would, making sure they go to medical appointments, provide legal help they might need, encourage them with homework and school attendance and assist them in job searching opportunities and daily devotion. Without these types of intervention from outside organizations the statistics are staggering. Over half of the girls become prostitutes, and over half of the boys turn to crime. Anywhere from ten to fifteen percent commit suicide in the years after graduating from orphanages at Many become addicted to drugs and alcohol. the age of 16 to 18. It is a vicious cycle that can be broken.

          As Field Director, I have been tasked with two primary goals. Over see the building of a transition home and the second to lead groups of like minded individuals to Ukraine to work with orphans. July 19th (2days from now), I will be leading a team of 10 missionaries back to the Donetsk Oblast (region) to help minister love and support to orphans and local church ministries. With the help of UOO, Grace Place Church, CBN (thanks Oksana) and a local pastor in the region, we are now hosting a camp for 50 orphans from very tough backgrounds. It is our desire to minister and show them the love of Christ. It will be a difficult and tiring time but worth it as we reach out to these children in need. During this time, I will also be meeting with government officials to hopefully finalize the legal processes necessary to start our first transitional home in this region. This has been a 12 month process and it is exciting to see things begin to take shape and move forward. I wanted to thank you all for your support and love through this process. Let me incourage you to look inside and see how you can help or affect a child. It is Gods nature and heart to help the orphan, the widow and the stranger. James 1:27(NIV) says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” John 14:18 says “I will not leave you as orphans I will go to you”. So please join me as I travel back to Ukraine.....



For more information, check out our website:
www.ukraineorphans.org


Vision for the Children International 
www.VFTCI.org