Portion for Orphans Newsletter
October 31, 2005
“Happy is he… whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth…
Who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry... The
Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow…” My
hope is that each of you are blessed to take part in reaching out and visiting
orphans with us. It is such a blessing to be a part of what James calls,
“Pure and undefiled religion...” and to have the opportunity to express love
to the children here, to contribute to their overall well-being, and to learn
how we can be more effective at what we’re doing. My greatest joy is that
all of this is done in the name of Christ. We pray that we may cause all
those we encounter to look towards Him that they may discover His magnificence
and splendor as well.
Today is our last day in Yaroslavl, Russia, this time around. :) We’ve been
here for 3 weeks visiting Internat #9. I am so thankful for what we’ve seen,
learned and been able to accomplish during this time. During the last week,
we’ve spent time visiting with different family groups within the orphanage.
In each group there are about 12 children of similar ages and 2 mother figures
that care for them around the clock. All of the staff, caregivers, and teachers
here seem to consider these children their very own, working hard to raise
them up as successful and well-rounded individuals. They could never replace
a mother and a father, but they are doing a great job trying! The overall environment
is very peaceful and the children have a lot of freedom to… just be kids. We
sang songs with them, taught them a few English phrases, played twister and
jenga, made friendship bracelets and were even allowed to talk about God and
pass out some Bibles. “Little things with lots of love.” Since lack of spirituality
is considered by many, even Russians themselves, to be a main cause of the
darkness and deterioration of their society, it is very exciting that they
are open to listen and learn. In another orphanage that we visited, the living
situation was more like a college dorm and the directors were not as open to
teaching the children about God, mainly because of having been reprimanded
in the past by city officials who fund their work.
This week we made several contributions to the orphanage. We spoke with the
Head Director, as well as the directors of the sewing program, the music program
and the pre-school program, in order to determine how we could be of help.
It brought me great joy to see the portions that you all set aside going directly
towards the children here. We donated some items that I brought from home to
the sewing teacher and we also took her to a store where she bought lots of
materials for the children to use. She was thrilled! She’s a single woman that
has devoted herself to the children at Internat #9 for over 30 years. We donated
a guitar and some small percussion instruments to the music program. They have
formed a band and even had a concert just before we arrived. Soon they will
be traveling to a competition in another city. The head pre-school teacher
made a list for us and we went and got everything we could find that she requested.
Being a pre-school teacher myself, I am totally amazed at how well they have
implemented all of what I was trained to do in the classroom. I did not expect
that, but after seeing their dedication and the joy that they and the children
express as they sing and dance together, I was so happy to contribute to their
work. We donated everything from colors and coloring books, puzzles, children’s
music tapes, activity kits such as magnets and paint, and all kinds of books
about animals, dinosaurs, letters and the world. We also gave some books that
will help the teachers to plan for even more creative, stimulating activities
to do with the kids. After our first donation, the teddy bears, one teacher
said, “Oh, you are Christians.” “Yes,” I said with tears in my eyes, “We are.”
They are just so used to being forced to believe in their government and not
in God that it makes me incredibly happy to express the love of God freely,
and to show them that we are not being forced to do so. Hopefully, they can
see straight through us. :)
If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please let us know. There
are many other aspects to this trip and I wish I could share about it all…
a new language, a new culture, new friends, our babushka, new food, new COLD
WEATHER, and just what it is like to live in Russia… but I’m trying to keep
the updates focused on our main purpose here. We are thankful to God that we
are safe and happy and that our first leg of the trip has been successful.
Tomorrow, Sunday morning, we will take a train to Moscow for a few days and
then a 6 day train trip through Siberia and Mongolia, thru The Great Wall of
China and into Beijing. So, for the next two weeks we’ll be exploring. On Nov14th,
we’ll begin working at an orphanage in Beijing through http://www.chinacare.org.
Please check it out to see the faces of the children that 100% of your
contributions will impact. Thanks again for being a part of this journey!
Please pray that every aspect of our lives would reflect the light and love
of Christ and that we would take full advantage of every opportunity we’re
given. Also, for the children at Internat #9, that God would be a Father to
them and that Christ would return quickly for their sake as well as for all
those who are suffering in any way.
If you weren’t able to see the pictures in the last update, you can check
them out here.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world around you." - Gandhi <><