don't miss a thing | receive email updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Andy and Jill Lehman family

Entries in lifesong ukraine (29)


Lifesong Ukraine update

Please enjoy this update from Lifesong Ukraine:

God has blessed us with many opportunities to serve our kids at Zaporozhye. Everyone on our team is healthy and continues to work hard expanding the Kingdom through our CCP efforts.


  • A few of the Lifesong staff and volunteers recently traveled to Zap to celebrate Matvievka Orphanage's 60th anniversary, where we have been zap 5working for the last 6 years.  Director Larisa was excitedthat we came all the way from Kharkov to support them for this event. The orphanage staff, the kids and Lifesong's workers put together an outstanding performance.  Many kids at Matvievka have unique talents and our job is to teach them to use them for Christ
  • The Zap transitional program for orphanage graduates is growing.  Many older kids at the orphanage are getting ready for graduation and their next transition into the safe, Christian environment of our program, wherethe local church will play a key role.  Please keep them in your prayers.

Thank you for your continued prayer and support as we strive to bring joy and purpose to orphans in Ukraine.


Ukraine Update

Please enjoy this update from Lifesong Ukraine and it's work being done in the city of Zaporozhye:

  • The CCP couple there, Sasha and Egor (on the left in the picture), is doing well, and ask for continued prayer.
  • Last week the team celebrated one of the graduates' 18th birthday.  The birthday girl, Alena (holding the cake), is a member at a local church and is involved in a small group Bible study.  She is also a great witness to her friends at school. 

We ask for prayer that:

  • The kids in the Transition Program will be able to overcome the temptations of this world.
  • We could find a permanent Transition Home for the Zap area instead of the rented facility we currently use.
  • More kids will be open to the Gospel and our CCP efforts.

Thank you for your continued prayer and support as we strive to bring joy and purpose to orphans in Ukraine!


Slava Bogu

Well, I'm back in the States and it feels good to be home.  Thank you so much to those who commented on the earlier posts.

For a little wrap up, after spending a week at Sakhnovsheena I headed back to Kharkov where I stayed at one of Lifesong's Transition Homes for graduates.  I have to say I loved being able to live with the kids for a while.  I got to sit in on 2 different group Bible Studies (one with the kids from Transition Home 1 and one with the kids from Transition Home 2)  It's so encouraging to watch them pursue depth in their relationships with the Lord.

On Monday I headed out to Izume to visit Slavik and Natasha who not only provide a retreat for small groups from different orphanages, and act as CCP in the local orphanage, but also have adopted 7 children of their own (in addition to 3 biological kids).  I loved watching their family interact with each other, singing with them around the piano and staying up late talking around their kitchen table.

I headed home the next day and now that I'm here, it feels good to know that back in Ukraine the work is still being done.  Lives are still being changed.  Children are still being loved.  And even in the darkness of the orphanage Jesus is shining through.  And I just feel blessed to play a very small part in it.

On another note, we have a couple conferences coming up this next month that you might be interested in:

Defending the Fatherless

Calvary Church

St. Peters, Missouri

Saturday, April 2, 2011

click here for more details


In His Hands

Hope Evangelical Free Church

Springfield, IL

March 13, 2011

click here for more details



Thankful (on site in UA)


He sat next to me as we watched the ping-pong tournament.  This freckled kid that I’d never seen before but was automatically drawn to.


He just leaned into my shoulder and we watched together. He’d ask me questions in Russian and I’d try to respond in what little I knew, but inevitably Natasha was called for help.  

I love this kid.  I'm not sure why, but I do.

I don't really know him, but as I've walked through the orphanage these past few days it’s his face that I look for. It’s his face I hope I don't miss.

Apparently he has had some issues with taking things that don't belong to him... I don't really mind.  It just means I have to watch my stuff. 

But each evening I’ve wished him goodnight and every morning I’ve hugged him hello.

I’m going to miss that. 

She sat with the other children on the orphanage floor as they watched a movie.  The room smelled of urine.

I was told she might not let me take her picture because she gets nervous easily, but I desperately wanted to capture her sweet smile and ponytail that stuck straight up on top of her head. 

I smiled and asked if it would be okay. 

She shook her head “no.” 

I smiled again, snapped a shot of another girl who was anything but camera shy, then offered to show her the picture, thinking maybe now she'll give me a chance. 

She eased in slightly.  Still no dice.

The other girl demanded another picture, so I took it... then gave her one last, maybe overly sweet, questioning smile.

She grinned and hopped into place, grinning, ready for me to snap away.

From that point on she was mine.  She grabbed my hand as we walked down the hall and hesitated when it was time to let go.  She eagerly looked for me as they were called to line up for lunch.

Apparently she's eight, though she looks more like a four-year-old.

I don't get it.  I don't understand how these kids live without families.  I don't get how they survive.

I wish I had answers.  I don't.  Being here makes feel so weak and so small.  It makes me very aware of my own brokenness... my own need.

And in the midst of it all I am so thankful.

Thankful that God is bigger.

Thankful that He sees and hears.

Thankful that He is using the Lifesong Ukraine staff to minister to these kids.

Thankful that there is hope.


Natasha speaks on Sakhnovsheena (on site in UA)

Let me introduce Natasha. 


Natasha works as a psychologist for Lifesong Ukraine, mainly through our program at Loubetin, but she has also spent some time at Sakhnovsheena orphanage.  Last night, we sat in the home of Alexi and Oksana (the CCP couple at Sakh, along with the couple, Vitalik and Luda) and I had the chance to ask her a few questions about her experience working at Sakh:

What specific issues do the children at Sakhnovsheena face?

The kids here have special needs.  They’re delayed psychologically and unstable emotionally.

How long have you been coming to Sahk?

7 years now… Next summer it will be 8.  I come about once a month.

In that time what is one difference you have seen in these kids from Lifesong’s influence?

They can actually communicate and listen affectively.  They are able to express themselves now.  This is a big change.

How have you been effected from working with the kids at Saknovsheena?

Oi! (she smiles)

Actually the main thing I’ve realized about myself is how immature I am as a Christian.  Most of my life I have been focused on me… even when I would do something for God.  

Now I understand that it's not about me.

I know that if I really want to make any difference I must take time to understand the needs of these kids… their hearts, which requires patience and real love.  These kids need a lot of love, but sometimes it is hard to love them.

When I first started working for Lifesong I thought it was easy to love.  I was so emotionally excited and attached to the kids that it made it easy.  But now I understand how important it is to be faithful… even if things don’t happen how I think they should… even when loving is no longer easy.

Sometimes I feel like Jonah.  Jonah didn’t want to go to Ninevah.  And God could have used someone else to save Ninevah… but He chose to use Jonah… Just like he chose to use me.  

So it is no longer about me.  It is all about Him.

It’s no longer about who I think God should be.  It’s about who He IS.

He is a kinder God than I expected.  He loves more than I expected.  He is mightier than I expected! 

I am weak, and I understand that I can do nothing.  But God!  He is mighty.  

All I can really do is lift these kids up in prayer.  It is a miracle to me that He has allowed me to be a part of His work!

How do you view Alexi and Oksana and Vitalik and Luda, as the CCP (constant Christian presence) here?

They are saints.  They live in this everyday.  Alexi reminds me of Moses a lot, because he is very humble but very strong.  Proverbs 25:15 says “soft speech can crush strong opposition” and that’s exactly what Lyosha (Alexi) does.  This is really cool because the kids are really tough here, and they have no discipline.  I know that kids feel unloved when they have no discipline.  Lyosha is exactly the one who can influence them because he knows how to speak to them.  He has such a big heart and can speak strong words with such love that the kids respond to him.

Thanks Natasha!

Tomorrow I will be sharing my own perspective on my time visiting Sakhnovsheena orphanage.  Until then...

 до свидания и Бог благословит!