SGA-Sponsored Orphans Reborn Team in Smolensk, Russia
Natasha is one of the graduates from a local orphanage here in Smolensk. We have a very strong, ongoing relationship with her. She was very attentive and engaged during all the lessons we held at the orphanage while she was a child. She graduated eight years ago. The orphanage where she studied was geared toward children with low physical and mental development. The graduates of such orphanages have no chance to attend college or university. There are some specialized schools that give such young people enough professional education to get a job.
Natasha studied to be a cook. She always had a strong desire to have a better life, and to have a family. She wants to raise children who will never know what it means to live in an orphanage. Natasha has a mother and some siblings. After graduation, she came home but her mother did not let her move in because there wasn’t enough room in her small apartment. “What shall I do” was Natasha’s question. Her mother replied, “Get pregnant. You are not 18 years old, so the man will have to marry you or he will be imprisoned.”
That’s exactly what Natasha did. Then she got married and gave birth to two children—two wonderful daughters. As was expected, the husband left Natasha shortly afterward, and now she takes care of her daughters by herself. Thankfully, her mother-in-law is a good woman who helps her sometimes and who has allowed her to live in their home for some time. Natasha used federal subsidies for multiple-child families to buy an apartment in the village where she lives. She used to work in a cafe as a dishwasher and janitor. Now she works in the housing and-communal service sector. Her salary is only $200 a month, and $30 of that goes to pay for her children’s schooling, plus she has to pay bills. But Natasha never gives up. She does everything that is possible for her girls to be with her.
There is no church near Natasha’s village. Every week, they walk about 40 minutes to come to the Bible lessons that we have in the orphanage where she grew up. Natasha realizes that her faith helps her to be strong and has kept her from making more mistakes. And she wants so much for her daughters to know about God. We call each other, write messages, and have good fellowship. About once a month we bring some food to her. We bring some clothes and shoes for her daughters. We visited her this month as well although the orphanage is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, we came to her apartment, brought some items for her and prayed with her. Natasha is an example of fighting for life where there seems to be no way out. But she has a strong character and faith, and is an example for all of us! She is an example of why your support of Orphans Reborn is so vitally important!