Blessing Bag Mission
In a life of disappointments, the children living in Ukraine orphanages have learned to trust the Blessing Bags and the mission team to return faithfully each year. They eagerly await the arrival of the team, peering out the dirty windows for a glimpse of the bus pulling through the metal gates. At other orphanages they run out to meet us, escort us inside, strive to be helpful, and are anxious for Christmas to begin.
The Ukraine is like stepping back in history. After arriving in Kiev, we are taken by bus to the train station. Like a scene out of “Polar Express”, the smartly dressed ticket taker stands outside on the crowded platform checking the passengers in. We were ushered to our coupe’, which would become our home for the next 16 hours. The Crimean town of Simferopol is filled with graffiti, high density housing, and what you might call subdivisions with dirt roads and houses hidden behind concrete walls and steel gates. This is the outward evidence of a corrupt government and a lack of city infrastructure such as smooth roads and neighborhood sidewalks.
The Blessing Bag Ministry is much more than giving out Christmas bags to orphans. It is a sustainable ministry that helps support the orphanages by improving their living conditions. The yearly visits ensure the standards are being maintained. One teacher proudly showed off her classroom and how she had decorated it with her own money while teaching economic skills to help the orphans on the road to independence. At another orphanage we toured a room filled with rows of foot pedal powered sewing machines…from years ago.
The heart of the trip is sharing the moment with a child unpacking their gifts. Witnessing the quiet moment when they discover a photograph and letter from you. The joy we have in sharing the Christmas Story, presented in a beautifully illustrated book, in their native tongue.
It’s time to begin the journey again. Blessing Bags will be distributed March 23 and March 30.