Project TLC completed its first trip to Ukraine earlier in November. Each of us has traveled there before, but this was our inaugural trip as Project TLC.
First up was our highly anticipated visit to the invalid home. Some say "mental institution" or "mental internot", but it doesn't really matter. This is the place where the most severely delayed children are hidden away.
Emotions and nerves were on edge as we made our way into the countryside on that cold, gray morning. Would we be well received? Would we accomplish anything?
Enormous bags stuffed full of donations lay in the back of the bakery delivery van that transported us, three Project TLC team members, two missionaries and our lovely interpreter. The bags were crammed to the point of bursting with diapers, pull-ups, school and art supplies, hand made hats, gloves, shoes, and hygiene items...mostly donated or made by our supporters. You know who you are!
When we arrived, Project TLC member Shelly enjoyed a sweet moment of reunion with the director of this facility, where she adopted one of her daughters earlier in the year. Next we unloaded the donations and headed upstairs to meet some of the children.
As we walked into the auditorium, we were greeted with applause (!) by an excited group of youngsters. They were all clean, neatly dressed, happy and very polite. The simple craft project was a huge hit with all the children, though it was difficult for some of them to sit and wait for their turn. Some children got to blow bubbles after completing their project. Some of us were covered in bubble solution! A few children came back to sneak another craft project! Or two!
A movie had been planned for the children after that, so we left them...all riled up! We made our way to the director's office for a chat. I cannot tell you all that was discussed, but I can tell you that I considered the whole visit to be miraculous.
Next time: more about our work with this facility and ways that you can partner with Project TLC!