I thought I knew what joy looked like.  I thought I knew what it meant to be excited.

I was WRONG!

Last week, while living at Romaniv Orphanage (more on that experience very soon), I had the opportunity to accompany some of the boys on a field trip into Zhytomyr.  It was an experience I’ll never forget.

You see, before Mission to Ukraine came along, these boys just didn’t get out.  At all. Almost 100% of their lives were spent cooped up at the orphanage.  No enriching experiences.  No fun activities.

I’ve never seen pure joy like this before… Bumper cars!

But then MTU started working with the boys weekly and taking them to their annual summer camps. And then they began taking the boys on exciting field trips.

First, it was to a zoo in Kiev.  And last week, it was to an aquarium, shopping mall and arcade in Zhytomyr.

You should have seen their faces when they rode bumper cars for the first time.  Or heard their laughter as they played arcade games.  And wow. Their absolute wonder at seeing beautiful fish swimming in tanks… it was powerful (and probably the first time I’ve ever had to fight back tears while watching carnival games!).

But the most amazing moment of all came at lunchtime, when we sat down at a café for pizza and salad.  The boys, taking cues from the volunteers and staff around them, took great care to be polite, to use silverware properly, etc.  They were being treated like ordinary people, and it showed.

It was yet another reminder of how powerfully God is working through Mission to Ukraine in the lives of the boys at Romaniv Orphanage.

But wait! Why am I saying, “You should have seen…”?  You can see! I got the whole thing on film.  :)

So, without further ado, I present “The Romaniv Boys Hit the Town!”  (click here to see the extended version).


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About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

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  1. Suzy Roth said... 


    November 12th, 2012 at 4:19 pm  

    Thanks for allowing us a glimpse into the joy and fun of the day! God is changing lives (and not just the boys!)!

  2. Linda Pritz said... 


    November 12th, 2012 at 7:19 pm  

    Love this Barry!

  3. Sandie Flannery said... 


    November 12th, 2012 at 9:32 pm  

    Thank you for sharing this! So exciting to see the guys out on the town!! How wonderful!!

  4. Oksana Kolomiychuk said... 


    November 13th, 2012 at 2:10 am  

    Great video, Barry! Thank you!!!

  5. JimM said... 


    November 13th, 2012 at 7:15 am  

    I was struck by the prayer at the meal. The significance of giving thanks for a meal if you think about that segment of the video is profound. Acknowledging God’s provision and giving thanks becomes very real in in those images.

  6. Pat Pfeifer said... 


    November 20th, 2012 at 1:27 pm  

    Barry, I loved watching the video and the fun the boys (and their friends) were having on such an exciting adventure. I am just amazed that previously these boys were rarely out of the home and now they are able to enjoy such a great day!

  7. Tasha Simons said... 


    November 20th, 2012 at 1:52 pm  

    This video was so endearing! You sure did capture their sheer joy throughout their adventure! They seemed so happy to pet a monkey, ride bumper cars and eat pizza;-). Clearly, these small pleasures meant so much to them and I’m so glad we could see that through this video.

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