It's 7:14 on Thursday.
The apartment is quiet. My dog sleeps next to me. My husband is showering.
I've returned from a workout at the gym and am now resting a bit before we begin the journey - to Russia. Our suitcases are packed, along with three bags filled with medicine, toiletries, and socks. The trip to Russia will take around 12 hours and nine time zones. It's 4:14pm in St Petersburg, with a light snow falling and a temperature of 31F.
I feel like a small child, full of nerves and excitement and great anticipation. And small - very small. In my mind's eye, I attempt to imagine what this 10-day experience will be like. And I know that nothing I can design will match the end result. I am truly humbled to not only have the opportunity to provide love and care to orphans, but to actually be employed by an organization that, as a colleague stated yesterday, "understands the importance of caring for the 'whole man.'"
I pray, and ask you to pray also, for the journey. Pray that the children we meet will feel loved and accepted. Pray that the workers we meet will feel supported. Pray that the Russian government will complete the reaccreditation process so the 29 Russian children awaiting their new families in the United States will get to "go home." Pray for each of us on the trip, that we may not get in the way of the amazing grace and mercy of God.
I'll close with one of my favorite Bible verses from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. The book of Isaiah opens with God chastising the children of Israel for their continued rebellion despite His love and care for them. He challenges them to clean up their attitudes and their acts, then in verse 1:17 says:
Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
Buckner lives this out daily through the lives of those who work and volunteer with the organization. What an honor and a blessing.