Children's HopeChest - Engaging, Connecting and Transforming The World's Orphans

Slobodskoy Orphanage

Spring 2013

A Message from Discipler

Dear Friends!

Another year has passed and the children have grown up and matured. They have been more actively participating in the discipleship lessons and conversations. These days they are looking forward to summer camps and fun.

I am very grateful to Elvina (the librarian) who is always helpful in helping me organize my lessons and preparing the tools and material needed. She is always open to any suggestions and the kids love her and participate in our activities with pleasure.

We still have some problems with letter writing, as some children find it difficult to express their thoughts and feelings sometimes especially in writing. But they are always happy to get a letter from their US pen pals and they reread it often. So, one of the first questions they ask is: “Do you have a letter for me?” as I came into the orphanage. And I cannot express their joy if I really have one. So thank you for your letters, they are really helpful!

Thank you,

Katya Ordina

Discipleship Lessons

This year we started working through the “Through the Winter” curriculum that HopeChest created. This curriculum teaches life lessons by using the book The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. The children seemed to like the book and they were thrilled they could compare the actual story with its movie version.

They liked the lesson where we discussed the topic of trust and temptation. It was an important topic to discuss because some kids get lost as soon as they leave the orphanage. They face temptations and people who are not really trustworthy so they need to get ready for this.

During our discipleship lessons the children and I were usually sitting in the library discussing the book and the movie. Every lesson we were watching some parts of the movie and reading some extracts from the books. Surprisingly during our second lesson the children suggested some interesting discussion topics themselves. They understood from the first lesson that Narnia was not just a simple book to read, and so they started to search the topics themselves. As we were watching the part about Aslan’s sacrifice, Sergey Ch. was the first to say, “I know what we are going to discuss here! It’s the case when you give something and then sometime later you receive more.”

We started the first lesson with a game. Some of the kids had read the book and some of them had watched the movie already, and in a collective effort they tried to recollect the plot of the story. Right after that we discussed that the plot in itself didn’t make the story – it was all the small details, descriptions, problems, conversations & complex relationships that made the story. So the kids wondered what kind of lessons could a simple fairy tale have? And that is how we started our first lesson.

We were talking about two basic topics: “What is the difference between trust and naivety?” and “What is temptation?” We started watching the movie and pausing it for discussion during certain parts. So, the question of trust was on the top of the list from the very first moment. The children in the story had to trust their lives with someone unknown and strange. And so as they were in the unknown place, it was very important to trust each other. But were they all trustworthy?

And then came the time when the children at the orphanage started to blame Edmund telling him that he was an awful person! But after a little discussion, they realized that they had “Edmund moments” as well. And so we can see that the main aim for Edmund was not to win the trust but to win the attention and the leadership somehow. And he chose the easiest way at first: to do something bad to be noticed. We discussed these moments and tried to find other ways of getting attention.

Lucy is Edmund’s opposite: she trusted everyone and everything. She is the youngest in the family, and that’s why she is the first to see Narnia. Small kids are better believers. They believe in miracles and they are ready for adventures. As people grow older they become more suspicious and they stop noticing miracles. That is why at first the other siblings didn’t notice Narnia in a wardrobe. They needed time and proof. And only after that, they found their path to Narnia.

But Lucy trusts her instincts. She follows the Faun feeling deep inside that he is good and trustworthy. But of course such things don’t happen that much when you trust strangers. And to contrast Lucy - we see Edmund’s story of trusting the witch. He really believes her at first, but trusting material things he’s given, not his true instincts. That’s why he doesn’t want to listen to his sister. The witch treated him so well and told him that he would be the king, and she was the one who gave him the best Turkish delight ever. It’s easy to create one’s own lies to cover one’s desire for some material wealth. But is it worth it to betray your nearest and dearest?

As the orphanage kids tasted Turkish delights, they tried to put themselves in Edmund’s place. They remembered that sometimes it was really hard to resist temptations. Temptations could be simple: misbehaving in order to win leadership or eating someone’s meals without permission. Still, these small mistakes may grow bigger. And that’s how it is easy to steal something instead of winning it. Sometimes the paths that seem easy are harder in reality.

Special Updates

This spring has been extremely busy for the orphanage. Right after the happy week with American friends the children had to come back to reality to hard work at school as they knew that the best students would go to the Azov Sea in May. Hard work at school also helped the children in the special Fair with candies and toys that we had. The more points the children received during the academic year (they were getting points for their good grades), the more “money” they got and were able to buy what they wanted.

The Principal took the children to the South of the country for three weeks at the beginning of May. They had such a busy schedule visiting different historical places of interest that some of them didn’t even get a chance to get sun-tanned. Still, they had a nice time swimming in the sea at the beginning of each day and having field trips in the afternoon. The kids returned from the seaside at the beginning of June and now they have a week of gardening practice helping the caregivers at the school garden. Right after that, on the 6th of June the kids are going to attend the summer camp “Squirrel” where they will spend almost a month. The kids will stay at the orphanage in July. August plans are still unsettled but the principal has some ideas.

The graduates are almost settled as well. The technical schools the grads are going to will be known for sure by September only.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • the children’s health
  • the graduates to pass all their exams successfully, make good choices, and adapt well at their new schools
  • the caregivers and teachers who give all their love and care for the kids
  • the principal who helps the kids to find their way
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