Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Mother's Day

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! Ephesians 3:20 The Message

East West Ministries International scheduled a sightseeing trip for the team to St. Petersburg after the week of orphanage outreach concluded. Unable to justify the additional expense to the ministry associated with the excursion, I planned to return to the States early, until I received an “out of the blue” telephone call while sitting home on a Sunday afternoon. A curious accent asked, “Is this Charlynn?” Thinking it was a friend playing a practical joke – I answered in my best Spanish “si, si amigo”. “WHAT?” exclaimed the voice at the other end of the line. “Who is this?”
It was my friend Paula Vanttinen calling from Helsinki, asking when I planned to return to Europe. She had recently moved, and her workplace was adjacent to an orphanage with 75 children with mental disabilities. We lost touch after 9-11 (my last visit to Finland), but she was excited to begin a new ministry and asked permission for a special “clown” visit for the children. When could I come? The mysteries of God and His timing! I told her I would be returning to Russia in three weeks. The scheduled leisure time in St. Petersburg for the team, would allow me to travel inexpensively to Helsinki for additional ministry.
After arriving in St. Petersburg, I was escorted by two Russian friends through the maze of underground railway stations, and boarded a train bound for Finland. Paula was excited to see me, but soon shared her disappointment; most of the children at the orphanage would be with extended family the day of our performance. Mother’s Day in Finland is a national holiday. Shops are closed; people are having picnics, and families are brought together to celebrate. I assured her the Father had a plan; the provision of flights, trains and translators was no mere coincidence. I was excited; I couldn’t wait to meet these six very special children.
The next day at the orphanage, CARE EE and PALMINA (Paula) told stories, dazzled with tricks and took Poloroids. Because there were only a few children and plenty of film, they became enthusiastic photographers. They laughed and giggled while snapping photos of the clowns, the teachers and their friends making a variety of silly faces. As we were leaving, the teacher pulled us aside to thank us for the visit. She pointed out one of the little boys, and said, “Today was his first day here.”
With that sentence spoken, I felt the extravagance of God’s love. The length He is willing to go, the love He showers on the most unlikely and unloved. He provided a day of joy for this boy and his friends, a memory filled with laughter. A Father’s plan for a Mother’s Day.

I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 the Message