When we were in Odessa, we sporadically attended a church that was attended by several young people that were either in Christian ministry, the missions field, or were planning to be. There was a street kid who used to show up at Sunday service once in a while. I remember one time he came and slept and snored through the whole service. Anyway, I met an American man there who ministered to street kids and offered to take me out to see what he does. Unfortunately, he worked during the night from 10pm to 4am and I just couldn't swing that in the midst of our adoption. I regret now that I never wrote down his contact information because I would have liked to have stayed in touch with him. Actually, now that I think about it, I do keep in touch with a missionary there. I think I will ask him if he is still attending there and see if I can get in touch.
The street kid problem in Ukrainian cities is a problem that most people in Ukraine ignore. I was asking that fellow why doesn't the government do something with these kids, provide for them somehow, and he told me that if they ignore it then it is not a problem. In other words, if they were to do something they would have to acknowledge that there is a problem. It is far easier and cheaper to look the other way. In the Odessa Holes video below, you can see the indignation that the woman has toward the kids and the American there.
There is an American pastor ministering to Odessa street kids, named Robert Gamble. He has a website called This Child Here. He produced the Odessa Holes video, below. Another part of Odessa Holes that I thought was interesting occurs at 4:40, where the narrator asks the kids why they are huffing glue:
- Tell me, boys, what for you do it?
What for we do it? To alleviate our souls.
We feel lightened in our hearts.
- And what it means feel lightened in the hearts?
To forget about all around us.
Recently, Michael Novotny published a photo essay of Odessa street kids. I will warn you, if images of children shooting up, huffing glue, and self-mutilating disturb you, then do not look at the images or watch the videos. You have been warned. Sin is not pretty, but this is where the rubber meets the road when you are in the missions field. God bless the people on the frontlines in ministry.
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