That Can’t Be

A few days ago, a group of Russian orphans arrived in the US to spend Christmas holidays with host families. This is one part of our work in Russia. You can see a video about their arrival here.

MIR board member Lyle Thomas writes of the day the children departed from St. Petersburg —

I met with Andrei Gvozdovsky on Monday, (who works for MIR on the hosting program) right after he and Masha (the director, his wife) had spend most of the night traveling around the city to pick up the kids and take them to the airport. The kids aged between 2 and 15, many of whom are handicapped.

Andrei’s heart went out to these kids, and he expressed hope that they would be adopted as a result of this experience. He related a short but telling moment:

One little boy asked him, “When are we leaving?” – and the Russian word implied by car.

Andrei pointed out that they would be flying. The child didn’t understand.

“Like a bird,” Andrei explained.

“That can’t be. People can’t do that.”

A Postcard from Russia — Away They Go!

It is that time of year again —

This morning (VERY early) we put 34 children and their chaperons on their adventurous flight to the States. For the next five weeks they will be staying with host families in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and New Hampshire.

This project has taken a lot of effort and heart by many people over the previous several months, and today after the whirlwind of activity to get them to the airport and then through security, check-in and passport control, Olga, Masha Oshkina and I stopped to reflect on what good work it is. We are very thankful and honored to be a part of this work. Le Ann Dakake and her staff in the US do a tremendous job of handling the complexities on the US side and providing all the support we need to do our part over here.

Though we do not work in adoptions, we are always very happy when a child finds a home, here or in the US. I spoke yesterday with the directors of a US adoption agency that handles many of the adoptions that result from this program. They remarked that they are very pleasantly surprised and impressed at how well the children fit into their adoptive families. It’s a joy to know that good families are being knit together and that we have a part in what the Lord is doing in these relationships.

You’ll notice if you count that there are less than 34 children in the group picture. Four children are disabled and weren’t able to get into the picture on the short notice we had. It is a testament of the Lord’s love that families from so far away would have hearts big enough to open their home’s to the ‘least of these’.

In addition to our hosting program, work continues at Elama (our camp) where we will host a children’s camp and a youth camp next month. We now have a dock on the lake! It was built on Sunday afternoon by a work team from a local church. We’re also welcoming seven short-term mission teams from the US to serve in summer camps, and I (Mike) am going to Montenegro to meet up with a mission team from Athens, Georgia. We’re starting to serve there, and it’s gratifying to see our desires coming true — helping the local church in Montenegro. We’ll be helping run a youth camp in the mountains there. My next Postcard from Russia will probably be from Montenegro!