Right now, a group of seven from KSC is in Russia with Orphan’s Tree. This ministry reaches out to young adults who have “aged out” of the orphanage system and who face a risky future.Please pray for the team to make significant connections and share the love of Christ effectively.
The team left on Friday, June 7, and will return Saturday, June 16. They are staying in Kostroma, Russia, with Orphan’s Tree Ministry. They will be seven hours ahead of us in time. SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES!
(From their website: orphanstree.org)
Founded in 2008, Orphan’s Tree is an alliance of Americans and Russians who want to change life for orphans, ages 16 and older.
We are driven by God’s call to look after orphans and to be a father to the fatherless. While adoption is wonderful, in reality most orphans are never adopted. Orphan’s Tree focuses exclusively on the unadoptable population. Our role is to be a consistent, positive presence in lives of orphans whose best opportunity for family is to create healthy families of their own.
Most of the orphans that we encounter are not prepared for life on their own. From cooking to conflict resolution, personal hygiene to work ethic, they are missing so many of the skills needed to be a part of their community. Without help, most orphans statistically end up taking their own life or living in prison or prostitution.
Starting the first days they leave the orphanage, Orphan’s Tree reaches out to orphans to set them on a healthy course—away from the terrible statistics and towards healthy relationships.
We will be posting updates as we receive them, both here and on Facebook.
UPDATE for FRIDAY, JUNE 8: Pastor Jay has written to say that the missions team from KSC has arrived in Russia. He says, “The Russia Team has arrived safely in Kostroma after 24 straight hours of travel. We are looking forward to a great first day of English camp with the orphan grads on Saturday!” Let’s be praying that they would rest well, and that the Lord would use them mightily in the lives of the young people they are serving.
UPDATE for SATURDAY, JUNE 9: Pastor Jay wrote: “The team had a great first day with the orphanage grads today! Spent time getting to know them, learning English, eating together, and hanging out. They are very open to connecting relationally. There are about 20 of them. Thanks for your continued prayers! The middle pic is the Russian summer house, or dacha, where our activities take place. The last pic is a view of Kostroma where we are, with a couple of Orthodox churches.” Keep praying that the team would be a blessing as they work with orphanstree.org.
UPDATE for MONDAY, JUNE 10: Pastor Jay wrote: “We (the team) had another great day with the grads, digging into English over 12 hours together. Yesterday we began with a reenactment of the Prodigal Son, and they heard clearly that they are valuable and loved by God. There have been amazing connections formed and significant conversation in a short period. Thank you for your prayers! Pics are an English session in full swing, and the historic fire tower in Kostroma in the city center.”
UPDATE for TUESDAY, JUNE 11: Pastor Jay wrote: “Today was the ‘Day of Russia,’ a day of patriotic celebration for the country. Some of Russia’s pre-Soviet history is once again being honored as Orthodox churches, torn down or repurposed during the atheist Soviet era, are being restored. This church in Kostroma, used for other functions, is being restored to it’s former glory. This was also our final day of English studies in Kostroma. We had a joyous celebration of the grads’ accomplishments. Tomorrow we head a couple hours south to Ivanova to visit the ministry center there, and Thursday to the center in Vladimir. We have been deeply impacted by the staff and grads here.” Photos: the yellow building is the church Jay described. The next is “our fearless leader, Pastor John, with two of the orphanage grads, Borislav and Dima.” Then, with a note of humor, Jay offers “Bonus photo: cultural education. Cats in Russia are the same as cats in the States!”
UPDATE for THURSDAY, JUNE 14: Pastor Jay wrote: “We visited the ministry centers in two more cities yesterday and today: Ivanova and Vladimir. The ministry centers are the key place for orphan grads to connect with the staff. They are places of refuge where grads get supportive help in many ways. The centers offer programs in budgeting and caring for children, job skills like sewing, and even provide counseling and dental care. When surveyed about their favorite areas of the centers, dental care came out near the top! If you’ve ever had a toothache, you understand! Pics: the sewing room in one of the ministry centers, the dental care area in one, and a gym room that draws many orphan grads!”
UPDATE for FRIDAY, JUNE 15: We’ve had a full day and a full week and we’re ready to head home. Please pray for a good day and a safe trip — that will start at about 10 pm Eastern time Friday! Please continue to pray for the orphan grads, and for the full time staff who will carry on ministering to them day in and day out. We look forward to sharing with you in person soon!”