Allow me to introduce David Miller of Life Letter Cafe. I’ve had the privilege of writing for the Cafe for several months. Their purpose resonates. So when David contacted several of us writers, asking if we’d offer him space to introduce you to Kolya, a quick “yes” filled the blog waves. Here’s David…..
On the surface …
Kolya’s story might be rightly identified as highlighting lip-service Lordship vs Christ-honoring compassion. After all, election seasons have a way of creating ideological clashes on the level of opinion, but when the Trump-dust settles, the question is: who is really getting off their rump and rushing towards circumstances that break the heart of Jesus, especially when it comes to at-risk-children?
Let that answer begin with Cafe Creative Director Erik Haviland and his wife Gena and their sacrificial decision to rescue a 15 year-old orphan named Kolya from Ukraine.
Below the surface …
Kolya’s story is about being the literal rescuing hands of Jesus smack in the middle of war-torn and hope-shattered Ukraine.
Much of what LifeLetter Cafe is today would not be possible without the vision and selfless generosity of Erik Haviland. Because of his audacious faith, more than 330 Pastors and Kingdom Leaders have a shared platform of encouragement and inspiration . . and as a result, lives from all around the globe are finding hope in Jesus.
That same spirit is burning as brightly as ever in Erik and Gena’s family, which is now making room through adoption for one more life . . Kolya, a young man who is about to be bumped out of the orphanage system in Ukraine. Nearly all of Kolya’s peers will experience extreme ostracism in Ukraine and less than 50% will still be alive by age 20.
To bring Kolya home to the Haviland home in North Carolina by early 2018 will require enormous faith and courage, not to mention $27,000.
So I am asking you, the Cafe reading audience, to do what “Refresh-Forwarders” who have tasted of the mercy and grace of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus do: 1) learn more about the plight of orphans in Ukraine (see below), 2) pray about being a part of Kolya’s adoption through a gift of any size and , 3) help spread the word so an army of Jesus-followers can stand with the Haviland’s at a time when it is needed most!
Thank you and may God bless you for following the admonitions of James chapter 1 …
Don’t just listen to God’s word – do what it says ..
pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father
means caring for orphans and widows in their distress
and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
5 Facts About Ukraine
What are the orphanages like?
Does the war with Russia affect the children in Ukraine?
In winter, it is common for the orphanages to lack even the basics. They often have little to no heat in the dormitories, no hot running water (that means no warm showers), no hand or bath soap, no laundry detergent, no toilet paper, and no feminine hygiene products.
What happens when children age out of the Ukrainian orphanage system?
Ukraine considers children “graduated” from the orphanage system when they turn 16 (in some cases, children are allowed to stay until age 17).
General statistics of children who age out of the system:
▪ At age 16, children are considered “aged out” and are turned into the street
▪ 60% of girls end up being trafficked for prostitution/pornography within 2 years. Orphans are at extremely high risk for being trafficked and exploited.
▪ 50%+ of the girls become pregnant as teenagers, and more than 80% of babies born to former orphans become wards of the state within 3 years, creating the next generation of orphans
▪ 70% of the boys wind up in jail within 2 years of leaving the orphanage
▪ 15% of children commit suicide within 2 years of “graduating”
Can’t the kids just go to college or get good jobs after they leave their orphanage?
What future do orphan graduates have to look forward to in Ukraine?
▪ No family or social services support system
▪ Lack of education, vocational training, dearth of job opportunities
▪ Limited and/or non-existent health care
▪ Prostitution, pimps, trafficking
▪ Jail time for selling drugs, robbery, theft — anything to survive
▪ Mandatory time in an ill-equipped military which is at war with Russia. (Soldiers are expected to supply their own bullet-proof vest, helmet, and boot – but of course, orphan conscripts have no money to do so.)