Albert and His Twelve Sons – With the World Without Orphans Cyclying Team in France

albert 1

Albert –

A chaplain and father of 12 adopted children, Albert did not start out working with youth. He used to be the manager for an adult rehab center. When he heard a sermon about adoption, he had the revelation that it is better to raise children in a family and prevent their troubles, than spend their adulthood trying to reverse the past.

He was a single man, but states “when the idea of adoption came to me, I realized that only a woman can give birth to a child from her body, but for a man a child can be born from his heart.” His first adoption was a pair of brothers, whom he refused to separate, so he adopted them both at once.

Albert eventually did marry, but the woman he married died after only two years, and also left her three children behind, who he now cares for as well. He had to fight for guardianship of these little ones, but he says all the hardship has changed him for the better. “I began to see that the kids were actually helping me. They inspire me to be a good example for them. If I want to implement something good in them, I have to start with my own behavior. I know that they model what I do. Serving these children, I also serve God.”

Not only has Albert taken in 12 orphans over time, he has raised them up to be hard workers and public servants. He is a powerful example of this in the tragic war zone of his nation. He often braves the frontlines of conflict in his country, offering prayer and practical support to the soldiers. He has rallied a team to go with him, and within two years of political conflict he has delivered over 200 tons of food and goods to the military members protecting his nation. He also helps civilian families evacuate the areas being shelled by bombs.

Many of his boys have grown and now live independently, but they continue to visit home to be inspired by their loving father, a loyal caregiver and patriotic servant of God.

“He’s inviting me to heal, but also to see my most meaningful calling: to be His healing to the hurting. My own brokenness, driving me into Christ’s, is exactly where I can touch the brokenhearted.”
Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

Special thanks to Kenzie Jackson for helping me tell this story.

I am so excited to photograph The World Without Orphans Bike Tour as thy make their way from Paris to the Atlantic Ocean. In just two days from today I will ride with this team as they make their way through Chartres, Le Mans, Angers and Nantes, ending at the west coast of France in the town of Saint-Nazaire.
“This bike campaign is organized by partners in the World Without Orphans movement and is being led by Gennadiy Mokhnenko, pastor and director of Republic Pilgrim, which is the largest rehabilitation program for street youth in Ukraine. Gennadiy and his wife Lena are parents to 32 previously abandoned children.
“My adopted children used to live on the streets. Some of them were as young as 4, and we knew if we didn’t take them, most would end up dead or in prison,” Mokhnenko said.
Gennadiy understands that his own family is not the typical example for adopting children, but he believes strongly that everyone can do something. See the beautiful video about Gennadiy Mokhnevnko’s story of adopting these thirty two children. I highly recommend watching Almost Holy as well, a full length movie about Gennadiy and his life’s work in Ukraine.
The World Without Orphans around-the-world bike tour seeks to advocate for orphans in need of families, encourage national adoption in the countries where they ride, and encourage the development of solutions to end orphanhood worldwide.
The World Without Orphans Bike Tour began in 2011 when a group of Ukrainian orphans from Mariupol started riding eastward to raise awareness about orphans. Their quest continued on for 4 summers, and led them to far-east Russia, covering a total of 15,000 kilometers. Tens of thousands attended gatherings that were set up as part of the tour, while hundreds of thousands heard the message about adoption through local media campaigns. As the team continued on in their ride east they regularly heard news of families who had stepped forward to foster and adopt children as a direct result of the campaign.” – From the World Without Orphans website
This year these courageous young bikers started in Bochum, Germany on July 16th and have made their way through Germany and Switzerland before this years tour ends at the west coast of France. While on the tour, the group will speak at public events, hold press conferences, and meet with foster and adoptive parents throughout Europe.
[Editors note – Last month, my daughter Carissa and I set off on a 26 day, 11 flight and 4 country adventure, Capturing Grace with our camera’s as we journeyed through France, Ukraine, Russia and Spain. I am now back at home in Texas, posting daily about these amazing twenty six days.]
No Comments

Post A Comment