We walked into an old school, two story house in the middle of a neighbourhood a little bit out of the centre of Kyiv, Ukraine. Inside we sat down to an amazing soup lunch served by two ladies, both with Autistic children. We were slowly informed by our translator that this was one of the only Autistic schools in the country. As a behavioral tendency, children with autism were still treated like animals.
Sometimes being thrown into the street to die.
So, this woman decided to change that and open a school to both educate children with autism and their parents.
To show a whole country that these
beautiful children are still special.
We had arrived in the holidays, and our job was simple. We cleaned and re-wallpapered a large section of the upstairs, painted the bathrooms, watered plants and moved tables. In amongst all that we stopped and played with these
incredibly creative children.
We would stop for lunch or afternoon tea and ask question after question. Sometimes we had the opportunity to chat with the head lady, but mostly it was with our translator who had decided to help the school every way he could.
This woman went AGAINST culture.
She stuck her head out and worked hard to get dignity for CHILDREN and parents who knew not how beautiful their kids were.
She had devoted her life to it.
What could we DEVOTE our lives to?
Who could we fight to return DIGNITY to?
Later on that month, we went north of Kyiv to a tiny village just south of the 30km zone around Pripyat and the Chernobyl disaster. We visited a babies hospital. The nurses were UNPAID, their supplies were VERY LOW and it mainly survived on donations from the public.
The reason it needed to be there was because mothers with unwanted children would just front up to the hospital, leave their babies and run off.
So, a couple of medical practitioners decided to transform one of the wards into a baby ward. These babies are unwanted, and take time to be adopted or an orphanage space be found for them.
But these men and women are dedicated to making a space for these unwanted babies, making them wanted.
Further down the road is an orphanage.
Most orphanages in the area hold 200 orphans.
Surround them with grey concrete, in small rooms, the more children the cheaper it all is. But also the less dignified everything seems.
The orphanage we walked into was FULL of colour.
Paintings, gardens – of which each of the children had been given a plot of the garden to grow flowers in. There were soft toys everywhere and the rooms oozed with warmth. A happy joyful warmth. I was then told that at any one time they keep the numbers to 40 children and in the summer they are sent to Italy on holidays.
The kingdom of God brings dignity and love to the broken and the sick and the unbelonging.
Recently a band i like released a three Ep collection.
One of the songs goes like this.
“Some of you need to hear this for the first time, and so this is from our hearts… The Kingdom of God is for the burnouts, the broken, and the broke, the drug addicts, the divorced, the HIV positive, the herpes-ridden, the hopeless, for the outcasts that have been created by the church, and for the outcasts of our society that have been created by us. The Kingdom of God is for the brain damaged, the incurably ill, for the barren, for the pregnant too many times, and the pregnant at the wrong time. This is for the over-employed, the underemployed, the unemployable, and the unemployed. This is for the swindled, the shoved aside, the left aside, the replaced, the incompetent, and the stupid. This is for the emotionally starved and the emotionally dead. The Kingdom of God is for the bigoted, the murderers, the child molesters, the brutals, the drug lords, the terrorists, the perverted, the raging alcoholics, over consumers, the incredibly ugly, the dumb, the ignorant, the starving, the filled, and the filthy rich. The Kingdom of God is for everyone and the Kingdom of God is for me.”
“This is who I am! I’ll walk out this Kingdom not as a duty but an honor Now called a son, I’ve been set free from the slavery of sin And when I fall, I stand in the face of darkness and I say: This is who I am My father has freed my past, present, and future He doesn’t see what I see, He doesn’t see what you see He sees my destiny and calls me to be a son This is who I am, in the midst of a firefight; You’ve called me a son. This is who I am, by the power of the risen death and what You have done This is who I am, all I’ve been and who I’ve become This is who I am, who I am: I’m a son!”
We are sons, and our father has freed us to free others.
Where do you think you should be?