Monday, January 12, 2009

Blessed By A New Letter From Papa Dima

Papa Dima, whom we all adore, works relentlessy day in and day out along with his wonderful wife Galya to minister to the children in Ukraine. He spends ALL of his free time from his job working with the children.
Here is his latest letter and a few pictures:

Dearest beloved sister Christie and brother Mike,

Warm Christian greeting from snow and cold Kharkov. God so good for us and we had really wonderful possibility celebrated Christmas and New Year with many sick and orphan children. We have started celebrate in December 25, after that we celebrated New Year and finally we celebrated Christmas in January 7 according to Ukrainian calendar. God so good for us, so good. It was really wonderful serve these preciously children and tell about GREAT and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. God really care about orphan children. This year, I mean in the end of 2008 year, several peoples donated very good jacket for children with different age, we had possibility bless children by some sweets and so on. This is really very good, because we had possibility not simply tell about God's love, but show this LOVE in reality. It is really wonderful help children in different ways, but much important show God's LOVE and explain children that presents and gifts it's very good, but we have really greatest GIFT from Heave, we have Jesus Christ. I have asked what children think about Christmas and many children answer that Christmas is a Christmas and only few children says that this is Birthday of Jesus Christ, this is His day and He is a reason for this holyday. It was really wonderful when children says that if this day is a Jesus Christ Birthday we need give Him a present, not one another, but give present to Jesus and this present is our repent heart, love, honor, worship and obedience His Holy Word. We really was very blessed when we have listen such answer. Praise the Lord!!!!

We had great possibility serve adults, school masters, too. We have very difficult situation in Ukraine in many aspects, economy, politics emotional. Many peoples really afraid crisis which come to Ukraine, afraid when all prices increased each day, when Russia stop sell natural gas for Ukraine, many peoples not see hope in future. I'm so thankful God, He give wonderful Word from Mark 4:36-41. Praise the Lord, we had wonderful possibility serve by this Word to many adults. It is really when Jesus and His disciples go over to the other side they meet a lot of problems. Really many problems and disciples says we go to die because of storm. But Jesus was in the boat, He was with disciples and everything was under His control. Jesus says: "go over" it mean GO OVER, it mean we will come through, even we will meet greatest storm, great crisis. Jesus in the same boat, He along with us in the same crisis, He promised: I will not leave you. Praise the Lord!!! This word was really very inspired for adults we had privilege to serve. It was really wonderful to see how peoples begin, even, breathe much freely. Praise the Lord!!!

We very thankful God for you, for your love and prayers. Thank you very much. Please keep many orphan and sick children we have privilege to serve in prayers. This is really very important and preciously for us. Thank you!!! We love you very much and pray daily. May God richly bless you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Train Ride

Our Trip In September

The Hostel for Girls aged out of the orphanage

Hot Plate Central at the Hostel

Judy and Yana with girls from Zmiev Orphanage

Being Greeted at the TB Sanitarium

The return to Green Forest Special Needs Baby House

Zmiev Orphanage
Wow, alot happened between our trip in September and I neglected to post about it. It has been on my mind to update for a while, so here goes!

Our trip was fantastic. We sensed the presence of the Lord with us while we were there and when we were able to share with the children.

Our visit consisted of visiting Vysoki Baby House (where are girls are from) or Green Forest Special needs baby house, 2 times. We visited the Vysoki or Green Forest Internat once. There were 2 girls who had just graduated from the internat and are now living in Kharkiv who went with us. They were darling girls, and are being trained to paint walls. They had very little money and one of the girls did not have a warm coat, only a jean jacket. They are attending Papa Dima's church, and from the last report, doing well.

One of the most precious places was visiting the hostel for girls. I so much enjoyed talking to about 35 girls. These girls are from various orphanages and are staying in a very bleak environment. In fact, they only had hot plates for cooking, no refrigerator, no washing machine, and only one small shower. It was pretty sad. We were able to purchase for them 2 stoves with ovens, 1 large refrigerator, hair dryers, cooking utensils and a really nice washing machine.

These things will make their lives a little easier, but the most important thing we did was share the love of Christ with them and talk about the changed life we can have in Christ. Christ doesn't see "orphan" or "poor", He sees us all the same and we ARE all the same. Some of us know we are poor and naked and blind and sinful, others do not. That is the only difference. We have all come into the world exactly the same.
Naked, and in need of a savior.
We will all leave the same too. Our body will die and we will be buried. But to those who believe, we will be raised to eternal life on the last day.

We were also able to visit the TB Sanitarium twice, and that was a real pleasure too.
The second visit was with older children and they were very attentive.

The home for older people was very well kept and I was actually impressed with how well the people were cared for. We met a girl at that home who had actually lived in Erika and Sarah's orphanage when she was little. She has arthrogryposis like Erika, but had her legs amputated due to infection. She was getting around on a dolly.
She had a room with a TV and decorations and seemed to be happy, but as she looked at our pictures of the girls, she told us, she never knew what it was like to be loved or have a family. :( That was something she could not relate to or comprehend.

We went to Zmiev and enjoyed visiting the children. They were gathered around saying, "Please adopt us, please adopt us~". When that happens, it just breaks your heart. The need to be loved is so very great.

It then helps you to see how much danger the girls in the hostel are in. They have a great need to be loved, and at the ages they are, they can easily seek that need in all the wrong ways. Many become pregnant, and with no way to care for a child, the cycle begins once again and another baby enters the heart breaking system that leads to misery and emotional trauma.

Please pray for these girls as they learn about life in Christ and begin to grow.
Please pray for their emotional and physical protection and that we will be ale to minister to them once again.

I have so much to write about: more soon

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Letter from Dima

Dear sister Christie and brother Mike,

Praise the Lord, we had really wonderful weekend, we tire, but so happy and thankful God for greatest possibility serve for His GLORY. Praise the Lord!!!! In Saturday we had Sunday school lesson in children tuberculosis sanatorium and in Sunday we had Sunday school lessons in orphanage in Novaya Vodolaga and in orphanage Vysokij town. God really so good for us, many children took part in these lessons. This week we talk and children read story "Lost Son", this is really good story to explain children how great heart have our wonderful Heaven Father and how important understand that we have sin and we have great privilege to repent. We talk what repentance is: 1 - we have to confess that we have sin; 2 - we have to have desire for repentance; 3 - ask God for forgiveness; 4 - received forgiveness from God and start lives with God, have fellowship with Him through prayers and reading Bible. This is very clear four steps for children and many of them understand what repentance is. It was really so wonderful to see how children listen and how these eyes changed. Praise the Lord!!!!!

We really so thankful God for girl Inna Bezdetko, she leave orphanage in Vysokij town, special orphanage for children with some mental problems. Praise God for her, she attend church with us and she try to have pure moral life. She study in industrial school and will received plasterer profession, as for me this is not good profession for young girl. She live in the hostel and as she tell us many young boys and girls smoke, drink and have sex, this is terrible, but ............. We so thankful God that Inna try keep pure moral life and seek God. Praise the Lord. Please keep Inna in your prayers.

Thank you very much for prayers this is really very important for us. Thank you!!! May God richly bless you.

With love in Jesus
bro. Dima and sis. Galya Solyakov
Kharkov, Ukraine

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Visiting The Children of Ukraine

We have been in Kharkov for almost 3 days and it has been a busy time. So busy, it is easy to lose track of what day it is. The Lord has given us grace to not suffer jet lag and our energy is doing well.

We had the awesome privelege of seeing Green Forest Orphanage in Visoky once again.
It was a very special time to walk in there once again. This was the home of our daughters for many years. We met the lady who taught her to walk when she first arrived at the orphanage at the age of 4. She greeted us with tears of joy. We were able to share pictures that we plan to leave.

Dima had a lengthy conversation with one of the workers and I was fascinated that 6 little children sat in chairs quietly without a peep. We moved over to them to sit with them and give them some attention, and then they all started hugging us and asking questions.
One little boy Sasha, remembered us. He was young when we were there before, maybe 5.
He is now 7, so this is his last year. He saw pictures of Sarah and Erika and called them by thier Ukrainian names. He had little tears and was so gentle in his manner.
He hugged my arm and we communicated with smiles and hugs.
When we were leaving he began to quietly weep and my heart broke.
Oh how I hope this little guy finds a home. I do not know his situation, only that he needs to be loved.

We visited the Hostel for girls. They were offically going to be shut down because there are hot plates instead of a stove. We will be purchasing a stove for the girls and they will then be able to stay at the Hostel.

The girls also need a washing machine. The one they had is broken. They have been washing clothes in a sink. One of the workers has to wash heavy blankets and towels by hand. They really NEED a washer, so they will be getting one of those too.

We have visited the TB Sanitarium twice and have been able to present the gospel once again to the children. Mostly, we sat with them and loved them. We taught them "The Joy of the Lord is my Strength", in english, with motions and they seemed to like it. On our way out the gate, little Natasha was repeating our names over and over and telling us "good bye"! To which we replied "dos vadana".

This afternoon after this writing, we will be heading to another orphanage.

Tonight we plan to meet with a translator we met 2 years ago.... Misha.
We are looking forward to talking with him again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We are In Kiev

Praise the Lord, we are sitting in Jay and Judy Francis's apartment in Kiev. We leave in a couple of hours for the train to head to Kharkov. Our trip was GREAT! Very good plane drivers. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tomorrow is the Day!

When I was a little kid, I went to DisneyLand. I remember the anticipation and waiting to go and it was so exciting.

That is about how I feel right now, leaving for Ukraine. Mike and I are so blessed to be able to take this trip, and I can't think of anything more that I would want to do than this. It is WAY better than Disneyland. It is real, not fantasy land. Right now it is tomorrow land, but tomorrow, it will be real today land. :)

Please pray that hearts will be prepared to receive the Words that the Lord give us to share. Please pray that our words will be His words, and His words only.

The rest of the team that will be meeting us in Kiev and Kharkov are excited with anticipation too, and we look forward to seeing them again.

We also would like to thank the Lord for His provision for this trip. It is amazing how things have worked out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stooping Very Low

We have had a jar in our office for the last year or so to collect for Ukraine Orphans.
We empty it now and then. It is a visible jar with a picture of the Orpans from Erika and Sarah's orphanage on the front. Sometimes our customers deposit coins in there, sometimes checks, sometimes cash. We were able to give a little over a hundred dollars once.

Well, a few weeks ago, I noticed about 35 to 40 dollars in there. I went to get it out today to get ready for our trip, and lo and behold the jar was empty! Everything but 15 cents! Even the pennies Anna had put in there were gone.

I asked Mike and he said, I figured you already took it out. I asked our worker and he said he found the jar under a chair and the lid in the middle of the floor. ???? And he didn't say anything about it???? I would have found that RATHER ODD. But he didn't.

So, somebody, STOLE money from those who have NOTHING. Isn't that the SADDEST thing?
It is obvious what that money goes for, and they STOLE IT! I can't believe it!

That kind of thing just doesn't happen around here, but I guess it does now.

How very sad.

I left a note on the jar that said, "To Whoever Stole The Orphans Money, God Knows Who You Are."

I'm sounding a little miffed, and I really need to pray about my heart towards whoever it is. I hope they come forward and bring it back.

I'm so sad. It wasn't a huge amount of money, but it wasn't theirs to take.:(

The Countdow Begins

It is less than one week from the day we leave for Ukraine. Our daughter in law and grandson will arrive on Saturday! It is so close.

I am trying to tie up loose ends here to get prepared.
One of those loose ends is getting an antibiotic to take with us just in case.
Getting laundry done is a biggie.

We are trying to pack very light. We don't want to have too much luggage.

Things to pray for:

Our apartment was reduced to 1 bedroom instead of 2. We would be better with 2,because a translator will stay with us, but the price jumped, so we are having our contact look for us and when he gets back with us we will make a decision from there. We want to be careful with money and not use money we don't have to. That way we can purchase more for the kids.

Pray that we will safely arrive and get to the train station on time.
Pray for hearts to be prepared ahead of time to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

2 of the girlies have slight colds. Please pray that they are not sick while we are gone.

Erika developed a blister where she puts her leg on and is unable to wear her legs.
Please pray the blister HEALS before we leave so she can go out of the house!

As we visit the girls orphanage, please pray that the pictures we bring will minister to the workers there and that they will treat potential parents there to adopt nicely instead of with contempt.
Also Pray for SALVATION to all who HEAR.


Jay and Judy are going to take the train with us to Kharkov and stay for a few days!
Yea. They are in language school in Kiev right now, but will be able to take a couple of days. That means extra study when they get back! :)

We are so happy that the girlies will be in good hands with Becca.

More later........

I'm hangin' on to my hat. This is gonna be one wild ride! :) Yippie!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Becca and Sam are Coming!

It is official.... When Mike and I leave for Ukraine, the girls will be in the wonderful, capable hands of Becca and baby Sam. Becca has so graciously offered to watch the girls at our house while we are gone. Thi sis such a blessing and takes a huge burden from my heart. The girls will be able to continue their studies and take care of the animals so we will not need to get other care takers for our menagerie of animals. My daughters in law, each and every one of them are such jewels and blessings. I am such a fortunate and blessed mom. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jay and Judy Francis On thier Way!

Jay and Judy Francis left the United States to make their way to Kiev Ukraine yesterday August 10th.

They will be attending language school for a while and then moving to a different area where Jay will teach in the Seminary. They are excited about their move and have been waiting a long time to go.

Jay and Judy are with Send International.

We hope to see them in Kiev when we are there next month.

5 week countdown!

It is just 5 weeks until our trip to Ukraine. I can't believe it is coming up so fast.
Our daughter Becca and Sam are coming from D.C. to take care of the girls. Becca will take care of the girls and the girls will take care of Sam. :)

We are so blessed to have family here while we are gone. This will make it possible for the girls to continue their animal care and not have to be away from home.

We are so much looking forward to meeting our translator Yana, and seeing Hal and Dima and Galya. We very much look forward to ministering to the children and spending time with them. There is much to do and much to learn.

I hope we do have time to visit the Retirement home. It isn't a retirement home like we have, but more of a hospital for those who have no where to go, who are sick and bedridden. I hope we can offer love and hope to them and be able to share Jesus with those who don't have long to be on this earth.

As the time comes up, please be in prayer for finances, both for Mike and I and for the monies needed for supplies to the orphanages and TB sanitarium. Please pray that God will prepare the hearts of those who hear the message of Jesus Christ to follow that call. Please pray that the Lord will send long term workers to disciple and minister to the children and those who graduate from the orphanages.

Dima and Galya are doing so very much, but can't do it all.

Please pray for wisdom for Mike and I as we endeavor to serve our Lord.

If you are interested in donating to this trip:

You can send a check to

Community Bible Chapel (indicate Ukraine trip 08)
418 East Main Street
Richardson TX 75081

Friday, June 20, 2008

When It Comes To Adoption....

How old is too old? I'm speaking of parents here not children. A child is never too old to be adopted, though some misinformed believe that to be true. I think some of this stems from a well respected man called James Dobson. I remember him saying children learn most of their values by the age of 5. (don't quote me on that exactly)
Meaning, by 5, a child is pretty set.

I say a big Respectful BOLOGNA!

Parents are much more set in their ways and need to relearn many things as each child is born or comes into the family to help mold and shape us into what the Father wants us to be. :)

So how old is too old? I believe in the United States, you can adopt until the age of 63. In Ukraine, there is no age right now.(they were looking at no more than a 40 year age difference. Meaning if you are 45 you could not adopt a child under 5.) Different countries have different views.

So do you have bedrooms just sitting there? Kids gone or in college? You are in your 40's or 50's? Don't you have fond memories of those earlier parenting years?
Why not open your heart and home to a child who will most likely wind up on the street?

For those who think it is too late for an older child, think about how our Heavenly Father looks at us? Are we too old for him to reach? Are we too old for him to change? If he can reach down and change the heart of a 50 year old alcoholic, is His arm to short to reach down and change the heart of a 5 year old, or a 15 year old?

We are to work until HE comes. Consider how you might fulfill that job, and fill up those spare bedrooms!

(the above photo is of a few teenage orphans in Kharkov Ukraine, in about 2 to 3 years, these girls will be sent out onto the streets and probably face a life of prostitution, drug abuse, or worse)
They look like the girls down the street, and they could be at home sleeping in one of those "spare" bedrooms. :)

All About Losing

I have been keeping up with a couple of blogs, and the issue of loss and losing has been coming up. We are almost 2 years down the Road with Erika, and 3 with Sarah, 4 with Anna. Yet, the issue of loss is always there. YES there are gains, but there are also losses. Every birthday, they are reminded that they lost a birth mother. Every Christmas, they are reminded that there are people out there probably celebrating Christmas without them.
The issues aren't necessarily on the "front burner" of their minds or even mine, we love birthdays and Christmas, but they are there.

I was thinking about what our children "lose" when they become our children. They lose EVERYTHING. Even their underwear. They take NOTHING with them. Then, those little fragile lives are placed into the hands of complete strangers and they get on a train, then a plane, then in a car, and these are traumatic experiences for them. They go off into the unfamiliar, unkown armed many times with misinformation like, "your new parents will beat you, sell you, they are going to take body parts from you" etc.

So not only are they stripped of their dignity, they are armed with fear.

These experiences are so related to our spiritual walk.

Aren't we ALL sick, and naked and fearful and imprisoned and many times don't know it? And here comes our Lord in to rescue us from the pits of despair, and many times because of misinformation, we respond in fear, and we follow kicking and screaming into LIFE because we don't know what it is like to really be alive, we are so used to the familiar.
And just like the orphaned child, grieves his loss and is then able to embrace his gain; we realize, WOW! We have a REAL LIFE I can really trust my Lord. I WANT to hold His hand. I WANT to sit at His feet. I Want Him to love me. I am FULL of Joy unspeakable. This is real LIFE. It is incomprehensible that we would have wanted to stay in our sin.

Our losses become GAIN. It's the process that hurts. But on the other side, we become thankful for the breaking process we go through, as it helps us to understand the joy.

As adoptive parents, it is our ministry to our children to guide them, to lead them to life and to love them through the process, eventually introducing them to yet another hand to Hold. That of our Heavenly Father. What they will come to realize is that He was holding their hand the whole time.

When Love Takes You In by Steven Curtis Chapman