In Russia’s Smolensk region, the quarantine is still not over and SGA-sponsored Orphans Reborn teams cannot make their regular visits to the orphanages with Bible lessons. But the teams are still getting some requests from the orphanage leadership. Most of them have a need for disinfectant liquid. The team also bought some medicines for the Safonovo orphanage, and new windows for the bathroom in Duhovschina.
Some orphanages still have children in residence, because they are true orphans with no family. But a lot of the children are back at home with relatives taking care of them. But their situations are far from ideal. Ivan Popkov, who is the coordinator of the Smolensk Orphans Reborn ministry, relates how they are ministering in the midst of the pandemic, and also shares some of the children’s stories . . .
We asked the administrators at several orphanages to give us the addresses of those who need our help. They were glad to hear such an offer! So they gave us the addresses of some children from the orphanages as well as some graduates. In addition, the local children’s rights ombudsman gave us some addresses of orphans and graduates who need help.
Ilya is a graduate of the orphanage. He is a young man with whom we are in constant contact. He comes to church, although not every Sunday. We have written about him before. Ilya has a sister Veronica and they both grew up in the Demidov orphanage. Ilya is very short in stature, but it was impossible not to notice him as he was the most active, communicative child in the whole orphanage. He was very participatory during our lessons, asking a lot of questions and was the first who answered ours. Now both of them have graduated from the orphanage. Ilya got married and goes to church. His wife goes to church with him, but his sister is still doubting, she is interested in God, but is not close to Him yet. We are praying about them. Ilya says that a lot of his classmates from the orphanage are in prison or alcoholics now. He said that he did not want to go the same way, so he chose another way – to follow God!
Another boy named Roman usually lives in the orphanage. His parents lost their parental rights and his aunt has taken him for this period. When he saw us, the first phrase was: “I remember Christmas plays, which you showed”. He was so glad to see someone who came specially for him. Usually these children do not have personal guests. Even when we come, we come to the whole orphanage. But this month we came personally, and it meant a lot to us and for those children.
Oksana from Safonovo is 17 now. We do not have regular lessons in her orphanage, but she remembers our visits at Christmas, the beginning of September, and at the end of the year. She also saw us at a summer camp we had held for orphans. We gave her a Bible, and she was very interested. We told her about the church in her town. And she wants to go there when it is open.
Marianna is a graduate from the Kardimovo orphanage. She is an absolute orphan. Her son Miron is the only close person in her life. The boy is 2 years old. They live in real poverty. Her income is only $150 per month. We brought food and two bags of clothes and shoes that we had gathered at church. Another boy named Matvey and his 2 sisters live in a faraway small village. You can see their house on the photo. It is blue. This family is very poor, there is no place to work in their small village. Everything is far from their house. And they were very glad to get help!
We are so thankful to you and all of SGA’s partners who help make the Orphans Reborn ministry possible. The faithful labors of the teams go far beyond the orphanage walls, especially during the current situation where they have access to family members they might not have otherwise had. Please pray with us that the seeds of the Gospel planted will take root and grow, and that the children and their families will come to saving faith in Christ!