Thursday, September 18, 2014

A way to help Igor!

Thank you to all of you who have joined us in prayer over the last two weeks.  After I posted last Tuesday, I wanted several times to go back and delete that posting.  I felt like I had been a little too "real" in expressing my emotions.  But I would be lying if all I expressed in this blog were statements of faith and assurance.  In reality, this journey has been full of ups and downs.  There are days when I am confident and peaceful and willing to accept whatever God's plan is in this story He's writing.  And there are days when I cry and beg and plead with God to please hurry up and bring Igor home because it just hurts too much.  It's those days that I cling to God and His promises and remind myself that this is all about God and His glory.  He is Sovereign.  He knows Igor's needs better than I do.  He is doing things I can't begin to understand.  So last week when I asked friends to join us in fasting and praying, I think God knew that request was for my sake.  As I fasted and prayed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, a sense of peace and trust returned to my heart.  I came to the point on Thursday where I was ready to hear whatever our facilitator in Ukraine told me in regards to Igor.  I held my palms upward to God and once again released my grip on Igor and my desire for God to bring him home.  I got to the point where I could pray the prayer that never fails..."Father, your will be done...not my will but yours be done."  When I got to that point,  I ended my fast and I wrote to Nastya to see if she could tell me if Igor was indeed permanently transferred and if she had been able to track down his paperwork.  Here is her reply:

Hello Kimmie, we don't know where their paperwork is but SDA is telling us that no adoptions can be completed before they make a decision considering these changes. Odessa regional authorities are telling us adoption could be completed but SDA is still not giving appointments for these children. We will continue to follow this situation and let you know when it clears. 

So that's where we are right now.  Continuing to watch and wait.  But, God has laid in our lap a way to help Igor and the Pishana orphanage where he's living.  And we want to recruit as many of you as we can to help as well!!  I wrote to my contact from the Nasledie Heritage Foundation (the ministry that posted a picture of Igor) to see if there was a need for supplies and if there was a way for us to give money to them so they could purchase supplies for Pishana Orphanage.  I will copy her reply, as it's easier than trying to summarize it:

 Thank you for your generous offer to help with providing things for the orphanage. Slavik Puzanov, the director of Nasledie Heritage Foundation, recently asked all of the directors of the orphanages we work in what their needs were now. He also contacted other organizations and people that he knew were helping because of the refugee situation. He has found that of the orphanages in our region that accepted the new children all have some additional support at this time except for the Pishana orphanage and the orphanage in Kilia. So we decided today that we would direct our funds towards these two orphanages.

She went on to say that Pishana now has 107 children.  They received 48 refugees at the end of August.  They need toiletries, clothing and school supplies for all these refugees as they have not been given any additional money to care for them.  To purchase all the supplies they need would cost several thousand dollars.  The Nasledie Foundation will be able to help with some of their needs but not all of them.  I know there are many of you who love Igor and pray for him daily.  Please pray over this opportunity to donate money to help take care of him and the other refugees at Pishana.  Your donation would be tax deductible and you would actually be participating in the fast that God desires in Isaiah to the poor and needy.  The Nasledie Foundation plans to take these supplies to Pishana on October 18th.  So please take time to make your donations in the next week so they will receive the money before they begin to purchase supplies.

Here is information on how you can donate:
Any donation from you will be used to purchase these supplies. You can donate online by following the link. Or you can send a check to International Messengers PO Box 618 Clear Lake, IA 50428.  Please send a note with your check noting that the funds should be used for Pishana orphanage supplies. Also, note that the funds should go to Slavik and Alyona Puzanov. If you donate online, you will need to make these notes in the program section.  If you do not make these notes your donation will not go to the Pishana Orphanage but will go in the ministry's general fund.  

If the above link does not work, go to and follow the prompts to donate.  Don't forget to note Pishana and the directors names when you make your donation.  Let's work together to raise enough money to purchase all the supplies this orphanage needs as they care for these sweet orphans.  Because we will not see when you donate online we would love for you to drop us a quick note to let us know you are joining with us to help Pishana.  You don't need to tell us how much you donate.  We'd just love to know who is partnering with us in this.  Thank you!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fasting and Prayer

I have known for a couple days that I needed to update our blog to let our friends and family know of the latest developments with our adoption.  We have some things we are rejoicing over and other things we are continuing to agonize in prayer over.  So let me first share some good news with you.  Last Thursday our adoption coordinator called us to report that Igor had been permanently transferred to a new orphanage in the Odessa region.  At the end of the summer, all the children who had been moved from Lugansk to camps in the Odessa region were to be moved to new orphanages to start school.  We knew this was to be at the end of August sometime, but we weren't sure when.  For a couple weeks we tried to find out where Igor would be transferred to.  Finally, last Thursday, Tonya called to tell us the location of his new orphanage.  She said that he was legally under the guardianship of this new director.  When I asked if his paperwork had moved with him, she said that some of it has, but that the director was too busy with absorbing 70-80 new children into their orphanage and school was getting ready to start so she didn't have time to look through it.  Tonya told me to check back in a week and see if they knew anything else.  I was ecstatic at receiving this news!  This was the "impossible" that we had been praying for since the beginning of the summer.  At that time we were told that the only way our adoption could continue was if Igor was permanently transferred to another region and orphanage. That had never happened before as far as our facilitator in Ukraine knew and she held no hope for that to happen for us.  Praise God!  He had done the impossible!  As we were rejoicing over this news, the very next day we received another gift from God.  The friend I have referred to as Ashley, who also has a Lugansk child that is stuck in Ukraine, called me to tell me that a friend of hers discovered a ministry that was helping to move the children from the camps to their new orphanages.  When this friend of hers was scrolling through their website she came across a picture of Igor!!  Ashley referred me to the website which I immediately looked up and sure enough…there was his sweet smiling face!!
You can read about the ministry here.  If you go to the website and click on the blog button and scroll down you will find the picture of Igor!  This was such a God orchestrated find!  For this friend to "happen" to come across this ministry's website, and "happen" to peruse through the whole website, and "happen" to be friends with Ashley and be aware of Igor, and "happen" to tell her about this….There are no such things as coincidences!  So God, in a matter of two days, gave us assurance of Igor's location and safety.  He even let us "see" that he looked good and was in a good place.   So I sent an email off to this ministry right away to let them know that one of the children on their website was our child and to ask if they could assist us in any way with completing our adoption.  I did not hear back for a couple days and finally yesterday received a reply.  What I heard broke my heart even as I rejoiced at what God had done for Igor and for us in connecting us with this ministry.  Here is an excerpt from her letter:

     On August 29th, I was in Sergeevka and watched as the kids loaded the buses. I talked with many that loaded the Pishana bus, since I knew I would be seeing them the next day. Saturday, August 30th, I was with the team that went to the orphanage in Pishana and I met Igor. He asked me many times to find you and told me to search for you on Facebook. He said that he had been hosted and that you were coming to adopt him and that your name was Kimmie. He did not give a last name, so I wasn't sure it would ever be possible to find you. I was so happy when I got your email because I knew that he really was longing to hear from you.

What these kids are experiencing is really sad. They were taken from their orphanage and brought to a new place and are now being transferred again. I can't imagine being moved around like this as a child. Please pray for all the children in this situation.

Knowing that Igor was so anxious to find someone who could get word to us of his new location brought an agony I cannot describe to you.  Our child is half way around the world from us and he DESPERATELY wants his parents to know where he is so they can come and rescue him!  I praised God for allowing me to connect with this ministry while at the same time I felt completely powerless and hopeless, especially as I read her next paragraph:

Concerning the paperwork situation, it is our understanding that all paperwork for these kids is still in their original orphanages. The SDA will not grant appointments for these kids because they are still "located" in these eastern regions where it is not safe to travel. There was not a plan to transfer the documents because they were only to be here for the summer. As summer ended, they were sent to orphanages in the Odessa region because it is still not safe to send them back. The plan is still to take them back to their original orphanages and the places they are now are only temporary homes for them. But they say if the conflict continues the children could be permanently transferred. I cannot predict when the conflict will cease or when these areas would be safe enough to bring the kids back, but I can't imagine that it would be any time soon. Also, the amount of destruction of these areas is great and it may take time for things to be repaired and for the infrastructure to be restored.

What?  So he wasn't permanently transferred???  This is just another temporary location??  I can't tell you the frustration that welled up inside of me after reading this.  Fortunately, about that time I left to go grocery shopping so the car felt the full force of my anger, agony, sorrow, and frustration as I poured out my heart to God.  "Oh God!  Why don't you MOVE!!  Why can't you just rescue this little boy??  He needs us!!  We need him!!  What are you waiting for??"

Every different scenario and possible rescue began to flash across my mind…my cousin flies helicopters for the Navy…I'll just get him to take me over there to Lugansk and we'll march into that orphanage and get that paperwork ourselves.  If the authorities in Ukraine are going to keep dragging their feet then I'm just going to have to do this myself.  When I shared my intentions with Jim (I think he may have partially believed I was being serious) and he of course helped me to see what a ridiculous idea that was, I began to think of what I possibly could do.  And I felt God impressing on me…."Pray"…."Pray"…."Pray…and this time get serious about it."  I felt God laying on my heart to begin a fast on Tuesday that would last for the remainder of this week.  And so that's what I did.

Some of you know that we brought Josiah home this year and are once again homeschooling.  So today, in between my times of teaching him, I spent the day praying and studying scriptures on fasting.  I won't share all that I read on fasting because I really want to publish this blog today and ask you to join us in a fasting and prayer time for Igor.  When you have time check out Isaiah 58…it's a wonderful passage on fasting and what God considers an acceptable fast.  However, I want to share something from II Chronicles 20, because it correlates very closely to our situation.   Jehoshaphat was facing a great multitude…a huge army coming up against him and he was scared stiff.  So what did he do?  "he turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast though out all Judah.  So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord."  That's what we need!  Counsel and help from the Lord.  

Jehoshaphat cries out, 
     "O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens?  And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations?  Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You….For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You."

And what happens?  As the King and his people humble themselves and fast and pray and admit their need and utter dependence on God alone, God steps in and does all the fighting for them.  He alone wins the battle.  The people begin to sing praises to God, and as they do, their enemies are ambushed by God and defeated.  Moab destroys the other armies that came up against Israel, and when they're done doing that, they destroy themselves.  What an Awesome God!!  And I was reminded of God's words in Matthew 19:26 once again…"With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  

So I want to ask if some of you would prayerfully consider joining us on either Wednesday, September 10th or Thursday, September 11th to fast and pray for Igor.  I say "prayerfully" because you need to ask God if this is something He wants you to do and if He says, "yes", then ask Him what that should look like in your life.  A complete fast for a day, a liquid diet, skipping one meal, skipping sweets…God will direct you.  Here are some things I am praying for that can help you as you pray over this situation:

1.  God himself, started this story in our lives.  He's the one who led Jim to begin this process last fall.  He's the one who chose Igor for us.  Pray that God would finish what He started.
2.  God in His sovereignty allowed this war to begin right in the middle of our adoption process.  Pray that God will continue to protect Igor.
3. Pray that God will move the mountains in such a way that brings Him all the glory.
4.  Pray that our family, Igor and many others would come to know God more intimately than we ever have before through this process.
5.  Pray for protection from spiritual attacks for our family…for they have been numerous lately, especially in the lives of my children.
6.  Pray that Igor has indeed been permanently transferred to a new orphanage.
7.  Pray that his paperwork has been or will be moved….SOON!
8.  Pray that our "eyes would stay on God" and that we would wait for Him to work out His plan.
9.  Pray for peace in the waiting time.
10.  Pray that God would be a father to Igor and comfort his hurting heart.

We would love to hear from you if you choose to join us this week.  Some day I hope we will be able to show Igor the names of all the people who "battled" for him in prayer.