Today the men continued to work on painting and landscaping projects at the orphanage. The ladies enjoyed playing games in the morning and doing crafts with the children in the afternoon. My favorite part of the day was a very special afternoon visitor.
We fist met Nikolinka in our second visit to Bulgaria in 2008. She was about fourteen years old and had just arrived to the orphanage with her three sisters. Susan and Nikolinka developed a special bond, and by the end of the week, several of the girls were calling her “Mama.” Nikolinka always wore a smile, and seemed happiest when she had a hand to hold. Susan kept in touch with the girls via Facebook, and we looked forward to seeing them the following year. Months later, I was discouraged when Susan told me that the four sisters left the orphanage after Nikolinka’s sister Lily became pregnant. Around the same time, Nikolinka met and married a much older dairy farmer who lived in a town near Lom. Naturally, we all worried about the girls’ futures.
Over the years, we’ve lost touch with three of the four sisters. This year however, we had the pleasure of meeting Nikolinka’s sweet family. We were all so impressed with Nikolinka’s husband. He took time away from his farm to drive the family to Lom—not once, but twice this week. He even speaks English! Their daughter Victoria has her mother’s infectious smile and sweet spirit. She was so happy held by her American “Baba” (the Bulgarian word for Grandma). We never saw Victoria fuss or cry. Her father told us that the secret to her happy temperament is a blessing with holy water every three days.
When Nikolinka and her family left this afternoon, I couldn’t help but recognize this meeting as an answered prayer. You might even call Nikolinka one of the “lucky" ones. So many of the girls from the orphanage become young single mothers who will struggle throughout their lives to find financial and emotional security. Growing up in orphanage, these children are desperate to find someone to love them unconditionally. However, the loving partnership between Nikolinka and her husband is evident. My heart was filled with admiration and joy to see their love for the Lord and each other. Please continue to pray for Nikolinka’s family and all of the children of Lom. Pray that they come to know abundance of God’s love for them.