Joanna Mangione with SOAR explains, “The first is an internship. We developed this one in partnership with the transition home in Ryazan, Russia. The transition home is for graduated orphans. They help them basically transition from life in the orphanage to adulthood. Getting a job . . . move into their own place, be responsible with their finances and etcetera.”
As a part of the internship, interns also help teach the kids on various topics such as sewing or cooking. But this year, the transition home has asked for the students to teach the kids how to tell their story, use their voice, and just communication in general. This’ll be done by using PowerPoints, photography and editing, and movie making to name a few.
SOAR is also sending a team to the Moscow area to teach English to both the children and adults who want to learn. The summer will then wrap up with the July to August English camp. Volunteers are still needed for the English camp and no worries, experience in teaching English is not required. The main thing is connecting with kids and adults to build relationships.
Relationships are the very reason why SOAR’s ministries are important for year round work. “The Stuff a Stocking program is our Christmas program, and it is done in partnership with the churches, but it also builds relationships with everybody in the church, but also workers in the orphanages [and] the kids,” Mangione recounts.
“It just builds this snowball effect of relationships. It also, the Baskets of Hope and Stuff a Stocking programs, open the door for pastors and churches to work in the orphanages,” Mangione explains.
Essentially, it’s not the ministries which make a difference, but the on-going relationships they help build to not only share the Gospel, but for SOAR and the Russian churches to tangibly show the love of Christ to these kids and those who care for them.
“The biggest thing that I’ve come to learn, the culture as a whole, is their value of real relationships and sincerity. You can’t be fake with them, they won’t take you seriously,” Mangione says.
It’s a fact that’s proven true to many others who’ve worked in Russia according to Mangione, making the relationships extremely valuable. And really, who wouldn’t want want a sincere relationship.
And because SOAR has ministries a different times throughout the year, relationships receive nurturing, creating an almost family-like persona between the workers and the kids. It opens the doors for kids to be comfortable asking questions about God, and they do ask.
“I can have conversations with them now that I could had never had [before],” Mangione explains.
As SOAR moves into the summer season, would you pray?
- The directors at the transitioning home and orphanages to see God and His love through relationships with SOAR.
- The kids who SOAR interacts with, for them to understand and accept the Gospel and to feel God’s love.
- Protection for both the pastors, churches, and various workers either in Russia and traveling there.
- God’s provision for the needed materials and supplies.
Again, if you’re itching to share the Gospel this summer and do some traveling, consider volunteering with SOAR by helping out at the English camp. SOAR still needs helpers to practice English with the kids.
To donate to SOAR’s ministries, click here!