It's mid-October, the leaves are changing from glossy green to bright hues of fire tones, and a chill is definitely in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here...and with it thousands of children who will be left asking "Why didn't Santa come to see me?" as Kenny asked me as his first Christmas home approached almost 5 years ago. Ded Moroz, the Russian version of Santa, somehow passed over the orphanage in Kyrgyzstan without stopping to drop gifts, and he wanted to know why.
That was a hard one to answer, and I resolved to see what we could do to see to it that Ded Moroz came to a couple of Kyrgyz orphanages. On a whim on night on the very couch I am sitting on right this moment, I offered up the very first "Christmas Pie Challenge". There was no forethought, just a glimmer of an idea that maybe someone would get a kick out of seeing me plastered with a pie...and they could pay to have the privilege of doing so. Little did I know what that silly idea would eventually grow to become :-)
2008 was the first Pie Challenge, and here were the results:
Our family was smaller then by 2, and the boys all look so very little :-) Voices were higher, shoulders were narrow...but grins were just as broad!
But the REAL results had nothing to do with a pie in the face for us, THIS was what really happened, all because of YOU...our readers...remember?
and even more that same Christmas:
The next Christmas in 2009 we were a little occupied :-) We were readying ourselves for the adoption of Angela and Olesya and spent an emotional Christmas we'll all never forget in Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan...but others took up the cause and the Pie Challenge took on a life of it's own. Our favorite missionary friends, John, Julie, Emma and Becka Wright coordinated the effort over at http://www.actofkindness.blogspot.com/ and many, many others took a pie for the Kyrgyz Kids...and once again Christmas came to Kyrgyzstan.
When the time rolled around last year, we had 7 not-so-little LaJoy's all lined up and ready to take one in the face to see to it that Ded Moroz was kept busy again, see here:
And I think the result can be read here, months and months later, when one of the kiddos who received a gift shared months later what it meant. When he is speaking in this post about "Toktogul", he is speaking of our son Kenny who he knew:
It really started because of this young man, a friend of Kenny's who was left behind and STILL waits for adoptions to open up in Kyrgyzstan so he can come home to the family who is faithfully waiting for him...Amir is growing up before all our eyes, and it makes my stomach turn to think that yet another Pie Challenge will see to it that Kenny's buddy gets to have Ded Moroz visit. I'd much rather that he were home in Virginia where his incredible family awaits his arrival.
|Kenny and Amir...such little guys!|
|Amir today, still waiting...still needing Christmas...|
You know, I have never taken the advise of others and monetized my blog. I have never asked for donations for anything personal, I have never tried to capitalize on hits or become one of those serious "Mommy Bloggers" who really make a tidy little sum off of product endorsements, and advertising. I guess I just consider this a place where it is about far, far more than making a buck. It is our family diary, shared with friends near and far.
The only times I have ever asked anyone to consider donating is when it will help someone else. You all have been enormously generous over the years, and you have brought joy to hundreds of children through that generosity. Sure, it is funny to watch as the kids grow up and you see pie after pie, year after year. Heck, I loved looking back over the posts myself and had a grat big smile as I viewed the pictures. But the real reason is that we need to remember the forgotten ones. God calls us to do more than laugh over pies in the face, and get caught up in our own Christmas madness of shopping and wrapping, We are called daily to remember widows and orphans, to help those who need a God touch on the shoulder.
This year, it is about even more than small gifts and outings, it is also going to be an attempt to bring much needed vitamins to the kids as well. The nutrition in the orphanages is appalling, and the children truly need vitamins to help stave off illness and to encourage growth. You all have seen on a regular basis the difference between Kenny's size and Matt's...or even Joshie's. He will never catch up in growth from the years when there was little that was nourishing to eat. And this week alone as we trek to Shriner's in Salt Lake for consultation over Matt's back and legs, we are again reminded that even 11 months in an orphanage as an infant can have long lasting effects due to malnutrition. We are living daily with the results of that lack of nutrition, we see first hand how important it is.
So, once again, I am going to invite you to participate with us in this year's Pie Challenge. I am going to ask that you donate if you can, not for us, but for Amir and Tilek, for the 65 waiting kids whose families once again are spending Christmas with photos instead of children in their arms. I am asking you to help us and others bring Ded Moroz to Bishkek and Tokmok, for all of those who will sadly never know the love of a family. They CAN at least know the love of us all.
$500 for the first LaJoy pie in the face, and for every $100 raised thereafter, another LaJoy will get splatted. $1100 for the lot of us, and I want us ALL to get a pie in the face! What I want more though is for ALL the kids in Bishkek to have Christmas, not just those with families. If you are willing to join with us to make this happen, wander over to Jong.s blog at http://www.actofkindness.blogspot.com/ and scroll down until you see the US Donations button on the right. Donate and make sure you note it is for the LaJoy's so that we get credit for it. After all, we want all 7 of us to line up for the Splat!
And thank you ahead of time. Thanks for caring, thanks for being part of our online family.
More posts later this week, but we need to worry first about getting Ded Moroz prepared before Christmas!