Thursday, November 7, 2013

That didn't work out as planned...

Today we experienced a "relational" setback at the regional baby orphanage.

We've been going almost every week since January.  I think we have a good relationship with the Chief Doctor- he's the one we call every week to confirm if we can visit.  In fact, we were just there this past Tuesday and we had a brief, sit-down meeting with him in his office to a) ask if there was anything we could do to help/serve/provide for them as the Christmas season approaches and b) to ask if we could come back today with a little bit larger team.

He told us a) about multiple options for helping them- most of which included pretty significant outlays of cash- such as providing a month's supply of Pampers, and b) he said yes, of course we can bring a team.

The team today included some new volunteers from one of our churches.  The Pastor at the church I attend asked us to start including some other church members, especially some of the young people, because we need more "missions" outlets.

So today we packed up a van and went to Svalyava.  Instead of getting to spend a hour or more with the children that we see EVERY week we were met by two or three well-dressed but fairly rude nurses- at least 2 of them none of us remember ever having seen or met. They told us they didn't need or want us there.

They told us they were offended by the idea that we "missionaries" acted like we could bring them a package of diapers every now and then and expect them to let us do whatever we wanted.  (Note: one of our new volunteers brought diapers today, but that's the first time we've done that).  They said it was one thing in the summer when we could play with the children outside but that now it was too cold to go out and it posed a health risk for so many of us to be in a closed room.  They told us our presence gets the kids hyper and they're the ones that have to settle them down after we leave (which, by the way, is probably true).

Whenever we peek through the doors upon arrival the kids are almost always orderly and relatively quiet.  I understand the nurses and caretakers are overworked and underpaid.  They appear to be very strict.  They appear to do a good job caring for the childrens' basic needs.  What I don't EVER see is one of them sitting in the floor holding a child like my friend Katya in the picture above. Maybe they can't do that and maintain discipline...I don't know.  But I feel pretty strongly that these kids...all kids... need someone to hold them and play in the floor with them, and tell them they are loved. That's what we bring to the table (that and potentially a $1000 worth of Pampers- that's what the Doctor said they wanted for Christmas!).

The Chief Doctor finally showed up in the middle of all that and semi-smoothed things over.  He confirmed that it is a health risk (for Colds, etc) with us all being indoors and that it would be better if we come in the summer months.  But he also said we're welcome to come back for Christmas and New Year.  In the end he agreed to let us visit today but only for about 15 minutes.

So we don't know where we stand.  I've heard of this happening with other workers in other orphanages before for all sorts of reasons.  I'm going to email the Chief Doctor tonight and try to acknowledge their concerns but also try and explain why we do what we do.  I told our other volunteers tonight that we should plan to go next week...we'll call the Doctor just like we do every week and see what happens.  And in the future we can try to minister more with the Nurses/Staff as well...but a couple of the volunteers told me tonight this is not the first time some of the nurses have been rude and acted like they resented us being there...but this time they were very vocal and got the administrators involved.

So... there's something you can pray about.  I just preached this past Sunday about Spiritual Warfare and I think today we saw a bit of it.  Today was the first time to take the team from church to begin a more official partnership with the orphanage- we don't want to be one-hit wonders- we're in this for the long-haul and we want to serve the kids and the staff and maybe that's something the Adversary opposes.  


Anonymous said...

Praying about this right now!! It's breaking my heart!

Janet Tuttle said...

I'm praying too, this is so so sad.....I hope and pray that you will all be allowed to continue pouring your love out on these babies!!