A beautiful, large building… everything around it very well kept and uncommonly pretty… we slowly turned in the direction of the front entrance and I was immediately struck by the incredibly beautiful snowflakes and characters from various stories, cartoons, and fairy tales, all carefully cut out from snow-white paper, that decorated the windows. It seemed as though some skilled artist had carefully drawn out each intricate element of this window masterpiece. Despite the rainy weather outside, it appeared as though through the windows there was another world, one in which everything was covered with white fluffy snow; a world in which everyone was busy preparing for the most important holiday of the year—Christmas.
As we entered the building, we saw that all of the corridors were decorated just as beautifully as the windows. We were warmly greeted and led into the auditorium, where we were to put on our Christmas play and program. We quickly settled down and waited for our listeners to arrive.
My heart contracted when the children who lived in this establishment began to enter the auditorium. Some of them were unable to walk on their own, others were led by their caregivers, and there were those who needed the assistance of wheelchairs to get about.
We don’t often stop to think about how happy we are—that we have hands and feet, that we are able to reason and do what ever we want, whenever we want. Emotions began to run through me… an internal heaviness… sadness… empathy… a lack of words. But we had to smile… for them… for those little boys and girls, abandoned by their parents. More than anyone else, they are in need of this small sliver of radiant joy. They were so happy to hear our songs; it seemed that they might get up from their wheelchairs at any moment and stand up to sing alongside us.
We visited many childrens’ homes and orphanages in three short weeks, and it would seem that they were all different from one another… but there is something that unites them all: the fate of hundreds of disadvantaged children, abandoned by their parents. And all of them are in need of love and care. How close they pressed up against us, just to feel for a short time what it means to not be alone, and how full of sorrow their eyes became when it was time for us to leave. Not wanting us to leave, they stood outside in the freezing cold until our cars disappeared over the horizon.
Looking back, I never cease to thank God for the opportunity that I was given in Belarus, to tell hundreds of children and their caregivers of the birth of Christ. We were able to hand out small bits of joy in the form of bags of Christmas candy, and to show them God’s love while realizing ourselves how much God loves and blesses us.
…And I firmly believe that God is able to bring forth the seeds that were sown this past Christmas.