When we were in Odessa, we visited a church attended by several college students and missionaries in Odessa. One of the American gentlemen I talked to was in Odessa specifically to minister to street kids. He told me that there are about 800 street kids in Odessa and the authorities mostly ignore them. That way they can sweep them under the rug and not have to admit the problem they have. He and a couple other people go out every evening at 10:00 PM and are out all night. I asked if I could go along sometime, but really, in the midst of our adoption process that really wasn't practical to be out all night. I regret not having the chance to do that, though. One of the times that Nancy, Mark, and I attended the church, one of the street kids actually attended the service. Unfortunately, he slept through much of the service. We were told he comes somewhat regularly.
Another reason I am interested in the street kids is because there was a boy in Sergey's class at #4 who was a former street kid and was severely injured in a tragic fire. He was sleeping in some kind of enclosure one night and some other street kids set his coat on fire as he slept. When he woke he had trouble getting out and was burning as he struggled. Somehow he survived and is now in the orphanage, getting treatment for his burns. We got to know him a little bit and noted his deformed hands and scars. He was always friendly to us.
I surfed into a blog of an American Presbyterian pastor named Robert Gamble, living in Odessa, Ukraine, who also has a ministry that reaches out to street kids called This Child Here. You may be interested in this ministry that is on the front lines in the battle for the Kingdom.
A couple of weeks ago, we were on a road trip out to the Black Hills to visit my mother who was visiting. We were talking with Sergey about his adoption and life back in Odessa, and he told Nancy and I that we saved his life. After looking at Pastor Gamble's blog, it is no wonder he feels that way.
WBC and Sam!
2 weeks ago