We are often told that God works in mysterious ways. It could not be more true. I did not get that hug from Vlad I was hoping for. I didn’t even see him. He was visiting his mother all week. We had hoped I might be able to see him briefly on Thursday afternoon when we returned to Kirov, perhaps having tea with Vlad instead of visiting the Ministry Center, but we couldn’t reach him.
At first I was very disappointed. However, I have learned that when I follow what I believe is God’s will, and things don’t turn out the way I expect, there is always a reason. Sometimes it takes a while to see it, but eventually it is made clear. In this case, Vlad was where he needed to be, and so was I. He was spending time with a woman who, despite her often debilitating alcohol addiction, loves her son and wants what is best for him. I was in the orphanage, spending time with other children who needed me more than he did at that moment.
We sponsor two other children along with Vlad. One is a boy named Kirill. He is painfully shy. I don’t think he said more than five or six words the entire trip. But he would drift into the room and lean against me for a few minutes, then drift away again, over and over throughout the day. I’d put my arm around him, smile, and let him know I was glad he was there. He never wanted to participate in the Family Time activities, he didn’t seem to have any particular friends, but he appeared content to come and go. I don’t know that I could have been there for him the way he needed had I been focused on Vlad.
And, I still got those hugs I was hoping for! Between Natasha, Kirill, ten other little boys in my family group, and so many kids who would just run up to me in the hall and throw their arms around me, I definitely got hugged and gave hugs the whole trip. With every hug, I could tell God was working in our hearts. God is so good!