Christmas 2012 Outreach Project: Art and Mercy
On December 10, we came to Lviv in Western Ukraine hoping to serve those who often times remain unnoticed, forgotten. By us but not by God. He sees them and he cares for them, and so we wanted to help people see them the way God does and help them know that they are loved and cared for. So we got together with another mission and started meeting people who came for free meals. At first many of them shied away and felt ashamed to share with us their stories. The ladies did not want to be taken photos of because they did not think they were beautiful or worthy of attention. But as we kept coming to spend time with them, some of them warmed up to us and allowed us to interview them and take photos. Here are some of the beautiful people we met:
And then as we kept visiting them, we also got in touch with other believers in the city and connected them with these poor people, most of whom are lonely, elderly and sick, with not much hope or joy, taking care of sick relatives and just struggling to survive. So we pray that more care and practical love will be shown to them as a result of this connection, orchestrated by God. At the end of our time in Lviv we had 5 portraits which we framed and delivered to those who posed for us, with little Christmas cards we made for them. The day we brought them the portraits was very emotional, the people were so excited and thankful. One lady who was a bit harsh to us in the beginning, turned very friendly, and my biggest reward was her big smile when we told her that she was beautiful. She accepted it, and wanted to do something to show her gratitude, so she recited from memory a wonderful Ukrainian poem with words of blessing. It was a very tangible touch of God’s love, for her and for each of us.
Besides working with these poor people we did some wandering around the city and had a few divine encounters through which again and again God showed his mercy for the “unseen”.
A 78 year old lady who was begging in the streets for hours allowed us to take her to a coffee shop and treat her to a warm drink and a warm pastry, and cried when we finally had to leave, asking for our names so she could pray for us.
A drunken guy who was laying at the bus stop with biting frost outside, had missed 16 phone calls from his worried wife. And so we helped him into a taxi and made sure he got home. A talk on the phone with his wife later that day confirmed that he got there safely although with all his money stolen, but she was so thankful he came back alive. We were thankful that God allowed us to be at that bus stop on that cold night and extend a caring hand. We prayed for him and his wife to come to know God as their
savior and caring Father and allow him to change their lives from misery to purpose.