(Photo courtesy of Orphan Outreach)
Russia (MNN) ― Did you know there are more Russian orphans today than after World War II?
According to Ascent Russian Orphan Aid Foundation, there are 730,000 orphans living in Russia. Many come from a traumatic past, having lost one or both parents.
9 out of 10 orphans who graduate from the Russian care system with no family or support end up in drugs, suicide, or crime.
Orphan Outreach has Christ’s heart for Russian orphans and consistently sends mission teams to minister in orphanages.
A mission team of 17 people just got back yesterday, August 5, after spending a week reaching out to six different orphanages in St. Petersburg. One orphanage they visited specifically cares for children with special needs.
Paula Hayes with Orphan Outreach' says, “We’ve got a pretty experienced group. Quite a few of the people with me this year were returnees. And as we prayed and planned about what we were going to do, we tried to structure it a little differently.”
Hayes explains, “If we go in and spend some time with the kids at the beginning, getting to know them, playing games, doing sports, crafts…. then we begin to earn and have the ability to get their attention when we have the opportunity to share the Gospel with them.”
After a relaxing time of getting to know the orphans and playing with them in the morning, the mission group divided the children up into teams for a scavenger hunt Olympic-style.
Each child got a "passport" and ran around with their team to visit different country stations and get their passport stamped. At each of the eight country stops, they learned a Gospel truth.
The group with Orphan Outreach also gave a new Bible to as many kids as they could. The Bibles are the newest Russian translation and has Bible helps in the front for the children to use.
According to Hayes, “They were so open to [the Gospel]. They were so open to what we had to say and what they heard. A lot of these kids--because we come here continuously--were remembering what we taught them before.”
Even after the team leaves, Orphan Outreach has follow-up staff who visit year-round and teach the kids Bible stories and truths about God.
Hayes is thankful for the Lord working through their team. “That God has given us access to these kids is just unbelievable. And He’s going to raise up, out of all this work that we’ve been able to do in these orphanages over these last few years, some awesome Christian young people who are going to make a difference in their country.”
Pray for the salvation of orphans in Russia.