Monday, June 28, 2010

The Borblick Family Story - Chapter 1

I’m back!!!! And I can already see that I am going to have to make some changes in the title of my blog. Who woulda thought that I would resume writing from California rather than Kyiv??
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After living as a missionary in Ukraine for the past 7 years, the move back has not been easy for me. Each day I spend time with the Lord asking what His Plan is for me now. I know that He has His reasons for bringing me back to live in America and that I must be patient to wait for His leading. One thing he has already shown me is that I am to resume writing here.

My first task is to bring you the story of the Borblick family. This is the foster care family that I met about six years ago when the Lord directed me to begin the new Young Adult Orphan Discipling Ministry (YAODM) in Mariupol. At that time, I was so amazed and blessed by hearing their story that I told them I wanted to help. I committed to helping their older children, who remained in the Mariupol area, to go on for higher education. YAODM has been financially supporting three of these young adults over the last 3 years in various institutes and universities in the Donesk region of Ukraine where Mariupol is located.

Now, I believe, it is time to tell you their story so that you, too, can be blessed and encouraged by a family that has done what God has asked and directed them to do. In order to take on this awesome task, He has given them spiritual discernment, the power of prayer and healing, and abiding love for children who are not biologically theirs. This is an amazing story. Because they have only one natural son and at least 13 to 16 additional children (depends on how many they will take into their home this year), this story will come in chapters. Chapter 1 is how Lena and Sergey, the mom and dad, first met and began living the vision God had given Lena as a child.

The Borblick Family Story – Chapter 1 - Lena and Sergey
Lena Borblick had pneumonia several times by the time she was 5 years old. Hers was a very complicated illness and the fifth time she was sick she almost died. From a very young age she understood dying. During this last illness, she had a clear vision of a rose colored ribbon moving, she saw the end of this ribbon and then complete darkness. Suddenly, she saw that the two ends of the ribbon were twisted together to form a rose. At this point, she returned from death back to life and she realized that she had been given another opportunity to live. No one had ever taught her about God, but somehow she knew that it was He who was giving her this second chance and she wanted to know the truth about this God.
Under the Soviet Union, Protestant churches were prohibited. Only the Russian Orthodox church was allowed to exist and under strict observance from the government. Bibles were few or non existent. The only way that Lena felt she could find the truth was by talking to people who claimed to have some spiritual truth. Usually these people were practicing some form of occult spiritism. Each time she tried to talk with one of them, she was sent away and told to never come back. Perhaps she had already been touched by God in some way and was a threat to those in the occult world.
At the age of 20, Lena was living in St. Petersburg with her sister. Both girls were beginning to live as independent young adults. She had a fiancé, an older man, and was living with him part of the time. By Soviet standards, this was a very good match for Lena. This man had an apartment in St. Petersburg and was a Captain in the department of highway police. He made a good salary and extra money from the corrupt way the government functioned. Lena told this man that she did not love him, but he loved her and wanted to marry her anyway.
In December of that year, she came to Mariupol, where her parents lived, to visit them. On New Year’s Eve, she went to a restaurant with some friends to celebrate. There, they met some very tough men who were members of a gang. Sergey, God’s choice for a husband for Lena, was also a member of this gang. Lena must have been very beautiful, because two of these men were instantly in love with her. One of them was even there with his fiancĂ©e and told her to cancel the wedding because he wanted to marry Lena, right then! But Lena was interested in Sergey and eventually they began to date. But Sergey’s buddies were jealous of this relationship and tried very hard to convince Lena that Sergey was a bad person. One of the tricks they tried was to hire prostitutes to hang on Sergey and kiss him when Lena was around. Sergey was oblivious that his “friends” were doing the hiring and why they were doing it. But, the Lord’s plan prevailed and soon, they were married. The year was 1985.
After Lena and Sergey were married, someone gave her mother a small New Testament. Her mother gave the small book to Lena. But she did not begin reading it right away. Lena had been working with another woman by the name of Vallya, who knew of her interest in finding the truth about God. She told her about a woman with great wisdom and wanted Lena to meet her. Lena said that she would like to talk to this woman and went to see her. She told this woman, up front, what had happened to her in the past when she would try to seek information on spiritual things. This woman said that Lena is spiritually gifted and that all those spiritual mentors were afraid of rivalry and competition from her. She told Lena that if she really wanted and needed spiritual advice she should come and ask her questions any time. Lena was very glad she finally had a mentor who was willing to help her learn about God.
About the same time, however, Lena began to read her small New Testament and another full size Bible that she had been given. In her reading of the Old Testament, Lena discovered what God says about mediums and spiritists. She was shocked and wanted very much to share this with this woman who had agreed to be her mentor. The woman often had people come to see her and they paid money for her wisdom and insight. But Lena was certain that this woman was just ignorant of the truth that Lena had found in her Bible. So, she rushed over to tell her what she had read about how God was seeing what she was doing. When she came into the woman’s home, there was already someone there. But Lena rushed in anyway and began to share what she had learned. One look at the woman’s face was all that Lena needed. She saw her face covered with large red pimples. The woman was unable to utter a word. At that point, Lena realized just how powerful was this tiny black book that it would cause this wise woman to become completely mute. She decided to believe the book and stopped visiting the woman.
Lena and her friend Vallya, began attending a local charismatic church. But this church was noisy and it was not a positive experience. So, in 1992, they began attending the Renewal Church in Mariupol. Renewal had a pastor who had come to know Christ at an early age, even though he also was a child of the Soviet Union. Pastor Yuri’s mom was a KGB agent. One day, in her apartment building, she heard a man crying and grieving outside in the corridor. She opened her door to see what was going on and saw the man loudly crying out to God and going into his apartment. She followed him and saw him get down on his knees and pray. As a loyal agent, she had every reason to report this man to her superiors. Instead, she went back into her own apartment and got down on her own knees and called out to God asking for the same peace and comfort she had seen in the face of this man. God answered her. She immediately tore up her KGB card, began seeking God and teaching her children to do the same even though these actions had dire consequences for her entire family. This pastor understood what Vallya and Lena were yearning to know. Soon both Lena and Vallya had repented and received Jesus into their hearts.
When Sergey saw Lena reading her Bible regularly and attending church, he was jealous. Sergey, although he was not a Christian, did believe in the existence of God. Lena encouraged Sergey to begin reading the Bible. She also gave him a book by Derek Prince, Cursing and Blessing, and asked him to read just the introduction. So, after several requests, Sergey finally agreed. But Sergey did not stop with the introduction; he spent all night reading, meditating and praying. He came to her in the morning a changed man. He saw that this book was talking about his own life. He repented and received Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Sergey had been the brains of the gang he was in and was responsible for working out the schemes and plans for how and what they were going to steal. They specialized in non-ferrous metals and sold them on the black market. Sergey saw that he needed to stop his gang membership and the illegal business that they were in. But, the gang had a different idea. They wanted Sergey to pay a large sum of money so that they would leave him alone. Sergey did not have that much money. So, the gang proceeded to take everything that Sergey and Lena had including their money, their house, their car, their furniture and their clothing. Everything!!
By this time, Sergey and Lena already had a young baby boy. So, they moved into an old army barracks that had rats running through it, no running water, no indoor plumbing at all and was falling apart. Because of who they were as people, Lena and Sergey began to clean the place up and make changes to the environment. Lena prayed regularly and others who were living there saw that she was different from most people they had known. The people there came to love Lena and Sergey because he worked hard to clean it up and she planted flowers, vegetables and trees. Together they made it into a lovely place.
Sergey was now listening to God. He believed that God was telling them to go to their old house and begin praying outside the front gate. They were both somewhat afraid, but they were obedient. They stood outside the front gate crying and praying and calling out to God. Within the next few days, one of the gang members approached Sergey at his new work. He was afraid that the gang wanted something more from him. But instead, they asked Sergey if he wanted to move back into the house they had taken from him. It seems that the boss of the gang had decided to leave the gang too, but only because he had other plans. The gang was angry with him and wanted to get revenge. He had made some renovations to the house and was still living there with his wife and children. The gang members showed up at Sergey and Lena’s barracks home with a truck. They loaded all their stuff into the truck and drove them to the old house.
They went inside and grabbed the boss, put him in a car and drove away with him. Sergey with Lena, went inside and there was a huge dog who bared his fangs at Sergey. Sergey simply said “don’t” to the dog and the dog obeyed him. At the same moment, Sergey noticed the documents (ownership papers) to the house lying on a table. He picked them up and saw that his name had never been removed as the official owner of the house. As Sergey was looking at the documents, the boss’ wife appeared and started screaming at both of them, threatening to have them thrown out of the house.
Sergey noticed that in her hand were the keys to the house and the front gate. As he watched, the keys magically flew from her hand and landed at his feet. He bent over, picked them up and said, “thanks.” At that point, the wife, in a rage, took some of her things and left the house. Neither she nor her husband ever came back. The boss was arrested by the police, but set free after just a few days.
Lena, from childhood, had a dream to have a big house with many stray dogs and cats that had no home. As an older child, she realized that this was a foolish dream and changed it to want to help the elderly. She saw one older woman begging on the street and felt moved to help her. But then, she saw this same elderly woman screaming at her husband and realized that maybe this, too, was a foolish dream. It was then, that her dream changed to become a home for orphan children. As a child she remembers praying to God about this but then forgot about this dream when she became an adult.
Some years later, Lena saw some orphan children at the Renewal Church, which was reaching out to orphans at this point, and remembered her dream. Sergey was very opposed to even a second natural child of their own. He had already told Lena that he would not stay with her if she insisted on another child. One day in 1998, they were at the home of some church members who had opened their home to some orphans from the government orphanage. The administrators of the orphanage allowed these children to visit them on Sunday afternoons for Bible study at their home. Lena and Sergey were there to help with some remodeling that was being done to the house. Lena noticed a new boy that afternoon by the name of Sergey and found that she loved this boy as if he were her own son. The woman of the house came to Lena and started giving her information about this boy and Lena had not even asked for it; such as his age, why he was in the orphanage, where his family members were, etc. Lena found herself praying about this boy and asking for an opportunity to point him out to her husband Sergey.
Unbeknownst to Lena, Sergey was also having some feelings towards this boy. Lena very timidly approached Sergey and asked him if he had noticed young Sergey who was new there that day. Sergey, unexpectedly said to her, “He is our son, take him.” She could not believe her ears and asked him several times what he meant by what he had said. Sergey finally yelled at her and then she knew he really meant it. Later that night, Lena and Sergey were on their way home, having finished working in the home where they had seen the orphan boy. She talked to him about all the reasons why this would be a bad idea to take this young boy into their home. She wanted to show Sergey how difficult it would be. But, Sergey was already convinced that it was right. At the very moment that both of them came to a clear decision to take the boy into their home, Lena was shoved to the ground by an invisible person or force. She was injured in her back and her ankle. Crying and still sitting on the ground, Lena was proclaiming that she would still go to church, would still believe in Jesus regardless of what evil force was trying to dissuade her.
Sergey and Lena talked all night. The next day they went to church and talked to Pastor Yuri about it. He was very negative because they were new Christians and Sergey had come from a criminal background. Yuri told him that he was the wrong person to be caring for an orphan. But before they left Sergey asked Pastor Yuri, “Is it right to adopt orphans?” Yuri answered, “Yes.” That was all they needed to go ahead with their plans and start the paperwork. This decision to bring orphans into their home and treat them as part of their family was unprecedented in Ukraine in 1998 for the most part. The government supported children in orphanages, not in private homes. But in 2004, six years after Sergey and Lena began their “family type living” for orphans, the government was proposing and funding the very same plan.