I would like to tell you about one boy who we’ll call Alexei*. As part of our regular ministry, we visit different orphanages each month. We began to notice that when we would arrive at one of the children’s homes, we saw Alexei. Then after some time passed, we would go to a different orphanage and also see Alexei there. That piqued our interest, and we asked the caregivers what was going on. We found out that Alexei doesn’t want to go home, and the reason is heartbreaking.
Alexei’s mother had gotten married a second time, and her new husband has older children who treat Alexei badly — the stepfather also treats him badly. This is why he ran away from home eight times. For several months his mother did not look for him at all, but eventually began a search for him. He was living with friends from school or simply out on the street.
After we got to know Alexei, he made friends with my son Misha, and talks with him all the time on the telephone and on social networks. Alexei just turned 14 while at the orphanage. Misha and his fiance, Nastya, went to see him. We purchased a rugby shirt for him and bought pizza and some tasty things. He was very happy and surprised by our visit — particularly for the gifts.
One day we learned that Alexei was in the hospital. He called us so that we could visit him, but he didn’t call his mother. Overall, it’s a very difficult situation which is hard to understand. According to Alexei, they had lived in a nicer place, but their house burned down and they had to rent an apartment. After some time, they were evicted from the apartment. They asked for help from a foundation and were offered a house in the country where they have to carry water in from a nearby street.
When Alexei was in the orphanage, he had two choices. He could either stay in the orphanage or go to live with his mother. He wanted to stay in the orphanage, but if he lived with his mother, then it would be easier for us to make arrangements to take him for the entire summer. Taking a child out of an orphanage can be very complicated. So Alexei chose to officially stay with his mother in order to spend the whole summer with us.
Alexei’s home village is almost 25 miles from the city of Ivanovo. When we got there, we saw what horrible conditions the family lives in — a family that also includes pre-school girls. My daughter and I went to the store and purchased some basic food, as well as candy for the children. Alexei’s mother quickly put his things together and gave me all of the documents that he would need. Seeing the conditions Alexei was living in, I understood why he preferred to live in orphanages instead of at home.
I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to show these children that they need God, and that God loves them. I want to thank you, too, because it is through you, your funds, and prayers that the Lord is performing great things.
I ask that you pray for me and for my family that the Lord would grant wisdom and strength. Pray also for Alexei that the Lord will touch his heart and bring him to faith in Christ.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
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The numbers are in, and we rejoice at the impact of the SGA-sponsored Immanuel’s Child outreach across the former Soviet Union.
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