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Russia Team with Orphanage 60 camp

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Kids at Orphanage 60

Orphanage 60 kids at Camp

There are times when you face uncertainty. And, there are times when you wonder what God has planned. Perhaps those are one and the same. I think all of us had a little of that today as we set out to be the hands of feet of Jesus to a group of young people who live in Orphanage 60 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

However, these kids weren’t in an orphanage this week. They were at summer camp. A place they spend more of their summer, away from the busy city life. This particular camp was a former boot camp during the Soviet days of communism. We were told this camp was over 50 years old. However, many of the buildings were brand new, including a nurses station and laundry facility. They have plans to keep this camp open all year long.

However, our job was to present Jesus to them in a way they would see it, hear it, and understand it.

We started the day with breakfast in the hotel like we always do. Then, the 29 of us got on a bus and headed about 90 minutes out of town to this camp. Unfortunately, the trip had a few surprises. First, there are a few people in our group who get car sick. Secondly, there are some people in our group who weren’t feeling real well and had to answer nature’s call in the middle of no-where. However, those were the only hitches.

We arrived at the camp mid-morning. We were informed most of the boys were away at a soccer tournament. That was a little disappointing

Katya throwing football

because we have four men in our group, all of whom wanted to show interest in these young men, something they don’t get a lot of. We also wanted to hold a basketball clinic. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much interest for that. So, instead, we just starting playing. We through American footballs, kicked the soccer ball, hit the volleyball around, and just ran and played.

Then, the teen group of our team took over. We split the kids up into groups. The first group played games, the second did tie-dye t-shirts, and the last group did a circle of trust. You get in a circle, blind-fold someone, and ask them to cross the circle with the guidance of someone telling you where the obstacles are located. These obstacles were sins written on paper and placed on the ground within the circle. The first time it kind of easy. Then you have people MOVING the obstacles as you try to cross the circle. Then, you have a friend help point you the way. It’s a picture of God using His Word to guide us.

After that, we had lunch at the camp. It was good. Soup, chicken, and potatoes.

Tie dye shirt making

After lunch we played volleyball, made duct tape wallets and roses, gave the girls make-overs and ended the time with a skit which in mime form, addressed certain social issues facing many of these teens. It was presented in a compelling way that helped them understand they need Jesus. While I don’t believe Jesus has any difficulty saving us, I do believe when we struggle in our sin it appears to US the Jesus struggles to take us under His wing. The reality is, we have our idols that prevent us from having a relationship with Him.

The teens watched intently to the drama. Following that, Anna gave her testimony about the struggles she has in her life. I followed up by asking the question? If you follow God, are you afraid you’ll lose your freedom? Then I pointed out they’re not really free at all because they’re trapped in their sin. They can’t escape it without Christ. They can try, but they’re slave to their sin and only Jesus’ death on the cross for evil people can rescue them. It’s His work ALONE on the cross saves us.

I think they heard. I’m praying seeds were planted and much fruit will come from them.

Tomorrow, we leave St. Petersburg and head to the Gulf of Finland for more ministry at orphan camps outside St. Petersburg.

Monday Wrap-up Video – Click here for Monday’s wrap-up video.

Russia Skit Team – click here for the skit video.

Chick pox hits hospital, disappointment

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It was the first day of actually ‘doing’ something with the kids. Everyone was anticipating a great afternoon. However, like almost ALL mission

Laura and Bethany listen

Team members Laura and Bethany listen to the bad news.

trips, things don’t always go as planned.

We got up and ate breakfast at the hotel. It was a buffet. So, everyone got what they wanted. I ate pancakes, hard boiled egg (because the scrabbled ones looked really runny), meat and orange juice. I added a cup of coffee, too.

Following that, we left for our first sight seeing trip to The Hermitage. We only spent about 2 hours there. We saw painting after painting. Everyone was very much interested. However, despite our jet lag all of us seemed to be anticipating the afternoon of spending time with the kids.

Hospital 15

The intake hospital called, number 15 in St. Petersburg.

We ate lunch at 1:30. Once completed we traveled the 20 minutes or so to Number 15, the intake hospital. Which isn’t a hospital at all, actually.

Number 15 is the first place the children go after they have been taken by the state. These children are found on the streets, taken away by protective services, abandoned by the parents, or actually orphaned in the truest sense.

Once in #15, as it’s affectionately called, the children are assessed, tested and determined a plan of action. They can be sent to an orphanage, reunited with a family member, or foster care is an option — but only a small option as it’s not very popular in Russia.

However, when we arrived we were told the third floor was quarantined because of chicken pox. Because we have a doctor and several nurses on the team, they check with infectious disease specialists who highly encouraged us NOT to go in and visit with the children. Why? Well, it’s highly contagious. If somebody hadn’t had chicken pox they could get it, carry it with them all week spreading it to all the other kids we came in contact with, then when they returned home, ‘surprise!!’

So, rather than run the risk, we decided NOT to go inside, but pray for the kids instead. It was very disappointing, but the right decision. So, we

Russia team members pray

Russia team members pray but don't play today.

spent about a hour praying over the kids as we walked around the building.

Following that abbreviated visit, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We had a great meal. And, walked back to the hotel.

We spent the evening getting our gift and supply bags packed for the rest of the week. We also practiced our ‘play’ for the teens.

Tomorrow, we travel to Orphanage #60’s camp where we’ll spend all day with the teens. Keep praying for us.

Watch our first video here. Russia Trip 2011 – Days 1-3