“Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after widows and orphans in their distress, and to remain uncorrupted by the world.” James 1:27
Across Eastern Europe, and especially in Bulgaria, there are thousands of children in orphan homes. Some are truly orphans, while many were abandoned either due to some medical condition or because their parents simply couldn’t afford to care for them. The homes are almost without fail severely understaffed and underfunded, making life an uphill battle for these precious children.
Over the years, we have made it a point to return to the same three orphan homes (one located in the town of Roman, and two in the town of Berkovitsa) every chance we get. We have been blessed to watch many of these children grow into adulthood. We have laughed, cried, watched some be adopted into homes around the world, others age out of the system and either integrate into life on their own (an extremely difficult task!) or succumb to a life of poverty and/or crime. Others have not made it to adulthood, either by their own hands or at the hands of others.
In any case, we want to make sure that these amazing kids know that they were created for a purpose by a God who loves them and sent his Son to rescue them. This sounds simple, but one can’t just walk into a state-run orphanage in Eastern Europe proclaiming the Gospel and expect to be allowed to return. Through many years of relationship building between the church, whom we work with and through, and the directors of these homes, God has opened the doors for us to be welcomed back again and again.