Smolensk is one of the oldest cities in Russia, founded in 863 A.D. It is also home to some 30 orphanages and children’s homes where hundreds of lonely, forgotten children are housed.
The emotional wounds they bear are deep. Reaching them is not easy. But with the help of your faithful support and prayers, Ivan Popkov and the Orphans Reborn team he leads in Smolensk is making an eternal difference in the lives of almost 1,200 children in 14 orphanages.
Not long ago, Ivan related a wonderful story from the Demidov orphanage where a young man named Ilya had grown up. Ivan’s loving, faithful witness through the years made quite an impact on Ilya and his siblings . . .
Ilya is 22 now, but I have been ministering to him at the orphanage since he was in the first grade. Ilya is very short in stature, but it was impossible not to notice him. He was very active in our lessons, asked a lot of questions, and was the first to answer questions we asked of the children. After he graduated from the orphanage, Ilya got married and gave his heart to the Lord. He attends church every week along with his wife, but Ilya’s sister Veronica has still not repented yet. We are praying for her. Ilya told me that a lot of his former classmates at the orphanage are either in prison or are alcoholics now. He said that he did not want to end up the same way, so he chose another way—to follow God!
We are so thankful to God for the way He has changed Ilya’s life forever. But for Ivan and his team, the ministry must continue as there are hundreds more children that need to be reached. Without the Lord, a significant number of these children will end up in crime and drug addiction when they grow up. With every Orphans Reborn event that he organizes, Ivan tries to add a biblical lesson and to tell the children about the love of God. And they desperately need to hear of it.
As is the case with most orphanages, the children often say that nobody loves them, and nobody cares about them. But with your support, Ivan is teaching these neediest of children that God loves them, and the kids say they can see God’s love in the team’s visits.
At the end of last August, Ivan organized several picnics and games for the children. They also distributed fresh fruit and other items such as medicines and personal hygiene products. Bible lessons focused as always on God’s Word, prayer, friendship, obedience, kindness, and mercy. Please pray with us for the children who are participating in Ivan’s ministry. Pray also for the additional resources needed to expand Orphans Reborn into more locations across Russia and her neighboring countries. The need is so great!
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