MNN's Greg Yoder with Nastya in Russia.
Russia (MNN) ― James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
On August 21, a team of 29 people with Mission Network News and Orphan Outreach returned to the United States from touching the lives of orphans in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The team not only spent time with more than 200 orphaned children at summer camps north of Saint Petersburg, but they shared the Gospel and provided needed aid.
Team member Rebecca DeVries says, "I came [on the trip] expecting to give a lot, but I received much more in return--the love from the kids, especially on the last day. They were expecting nothing from us. They just wanted us to love them and play with them."
While DeVries is still trying to figure out what she'll take home with her, she says, "I want to try to figure out a way to work with orphans here at home, faithfully pray for the kids here [in Russia], and see what I can do for them--two kids in particular."
During the team's time in Russia, they told Bible stories, helped the kids learn memory verses, made crafts, and played lots of games. Team members reported a few kids praying to have Christ come into their hearts. Follow-up ministry will be provided by national workers who frequent the orphanages.
The group responsible for teen outreach performed a skit which depicted Jesus' love for us "in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." That skit led to open dialogue about choices, especially for one young person who will graduate from the orphanage in September. Pray that Masha will come to know Christ before she leaves the orphanage.
Team member Dr. Jamie Bedford says, "I feel more passionate about the beauty of adoption, how important it is, and how more people need to adopt."
One family watching the team's progress from afar has indicated their desire to adopt from Russia. Pray that God opens the doors clearly for this to happen and that the girl being adopted will understand her need for Christ and turn to Him.