God breaks through to children despite hard lives

SGA-Supported Storyteller in Russia

Visiting the orphanage.
Vanya sits at the end of the front row.

Vanya lives in the Irkutsk region. He is 11 years oldOn weekends, this village is visited by a team from the local church. They give Bible lessons, sing songs about the Lord, and play games with children of elementary school age, teenagers, and young adults. In this village there are many dysfunctional families, where perhaps the parents lead unhealthy lifestyles, drink, and swear. Many do not have a job, so some families have a fairly small income.  Because of that there is no opportunity to buy new clothes for the children, or to treat the children with some sweets and so on.  

One Saturday afternoon the team, as always, came to the orphanage in order to spend time with the children, who of course were eagerly waiting for them. During one of the lessons, Mary—one of the team leaders—was inspired by the theme of the lesson and seeing the interest of the children, she went into the topic of peace in Christ with them and told them of the Gospel. Continuing the theme, Mary encouraged the children that if they had any questions or if their heart wanted to turn to the Lord, they could come after the lesson to have a one-on-one conversation, and of course pray. After the lesson, there was a small group of three boys, among whom was Vanya. They came to Mary and said that they had a great desire to turn to the Lord and asked her to pray for them!  

Mary agreed and they sat down together. The children actively began to ask questions and shared how they saw the Lord changing their hearts and the difficulties they faced. The children shared that they realize that the Lord is against quarrels and fights, but in everyday life they often meet with the fact that they are insulted, and their family is insulted. They are provoked to fights and it is important for them to know how they should act in such situations, so that it would be pleasing to the Lord. 

Mary thought it would be better to entrust this conversation to her co-leader and husband Paul, as he had more experience and had been through similar situations himself. Paul, in turn, clearly conveyed to the boys the idea that they can go through all the difficulties only with the Lord, that it is important to seek His will, and that the Lord helps us. Also, after this conversation, Mary and Paul reminded the guys that if they need to talk or want to pray a prayer of repentance, they are always there for them. He also said that the guys should seriously think about whether they are ready for such a serious and responsible step. 

The team could not come the following week. Instead, they met with the boys two weeks later, which is a long time and they thought the boys could have forgotten about their desire. But not Vanya! When Maria arrived with the team before the lesson, he came up to Maria and said that he really wanted to pray before the beginning of the lesson and that he also wanted to pray the prayer of faith and repentance at the end. Vanya prayed at the beginning of the lesson, and for Mary it was a great warmth and joy in her heart, because after two weeks Vanya had not lost this desire, and he was the only one who came from that group of boys to whom they had talked two weeks ago. 

After the lessons, Vanya also prayed with Paul one-on-one. A week later, Vanya also asked Paul to talk to him more about the Lord, and about the Bible. He is reading the Bible on his own, but there are still many things he does not understand. He also has a great desire to attend church. But there are still some difficulties with that. Please pray for Vanya and his family. Pray that Vanya can be a light for them and that the Lord will give Vanya the opportunity to be in church. Pray also that Vanya’s parents will also be willing to let him go to the Christian summer camp, which is held every summer. Also pray that other children will also have a desire to get to know the Lord, read His Word, and be in the church.

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