Americans provide shoes to open orphan hearts in Russia to the Gospel

By November 16, 2004

Russia (MNN) — While Buckner Orphan Care International is helping to coordinate adoptions around the world, much more is needed to be done to help those who aren’t adopted from these orphanages. That’s why about 40 people from the United States traveled to Saint Petersburg, Russia this week. They’re helping distribute donated, ‘Shoes for Orphan Souls.”

Joanne Worrell from Georgia traveled with her husband after seeing an add in a magazine. Worrell says putting a pair of shoes on an orphan who doesn’t have any is an incredible experience. “It is something that you can not describe. It gives you such a good feeling of seeing how they appreciate it and appreciate you.” She says it is also frustrating. “I can not talk to them with my own voice. I have to talk to them through an interpreter. And, I can not understand what they are saying to me. But, it definitely opens a door (to share the Gospel).”

Karen Reddish says this is all about showing Christ’s love, but agrees that language can be a problem. “There’s always a language barrier when you go to a different country. But, I think you can overcome that with just sharing God’s love by telling them you love them through gestures, things that you do, giving them a hug, giving them a kiss on the cheek and using the translators to them that God loves them.”

Chris Petri says he wanted to do more than provide the shoes. “I did the collecting (of the) shoes last year. And, I wanted to just get a little closer and go and have it come full circle. So, hopefully this is just a beginning of a long life of serving.”

The Americans may not be able to lead these kids to Christ, but it gives the Russians a chance to follow up. Tomorrow we’ll tell you how the Shoes for Orphan Souls program is helping the Russian church to get involved in outreach.

MNN’s Greg Yoder is on the trip with Buckner this week. If you’d like a free copy of the professional video of the trip, sign up at

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