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

Spitchino Orphanage

Spring 2013

A Message from the Discipler

Hello dear friends!

The kids are doing great. They were ready to be done with school and are glad to have summer vacations. The summer is coming; the weather becomes warmer and warmer, so the kids spend more time outside.

Spring is a wonderful time for the kids because snow melts; it becomes warmer, and the flowers bloom; the mood is rather high. This spring was full of different events and competitions. March started with the Women’s Day – March the 8th. The staff and the boys prepared a concert for the girls and the teachers; it was called “Come On, Girls”. The boys sang songs and recited poems; they cooked sandwiches, praised the girls and arranged a quiz for them. The concert ended with giving presents to the lovely women and girls. The latter got shampoos and deodorants. Besides, that day the sponsors from “Globus” company came to congratulate the girls on their holiday. They gave sweet presents to them, and each child got a certain sum of money from them so that the kids could buy clothes themselves. One of the most important events was in March – it is the Regional Sports and Athletics Meeting. It took place in Spitchino on March 11-12th. The competition consisted of different parts: skiing, shooting, darts pull up and push up. Evgeniya Ves, Artyom Ves., and Sveta Kor. were the first among their co-evals. And this year Maslenitsa (or a Pancake Day) was in the middle of March. It is time when all people cook pancakes or blini and play different games. The orphans together with the caregivers cooked pancakes and ate them. Volunteers from Kirov came to the orphanage that day and played funny games with the kids. Everybody had fun and enjoyed that day.

April was as interesting as March. On April 11th some orphans took part in the local contest called “A Minute of Fame”. The kids got the second place for their dance “American Rhythms” and the third place for singing a song. Sveta Kor. was awarded with a special certificate which shows that she took an active part in the competition. Alexander Sm. got much gratitude from the jury for his own song and a small prize.

Two days later the orphans went to Kirov; their sponsors from “Globus” company invited them to a café where a cook showed them a master class in cooking some dishes. Then everybody had a nice lunch. In the middle of the month there was a regional exhibition in Kirov devoted to decorative art and handicraft. It was called “The World of Hobby”. Kostya Ch. made a dog using a technique called origami. Vika Ve. And Sveta Kor. made an embroidering with the help of ribbons. Artyom Ves. And Vika Sh. made pictures from buttons and Vlad Kh. made picture from glass beads. All of them got official certificates which prove their skills and creativity. From April 22d till April 26th there was a week of Kindness in Russia and in Spitchino orphanage as well. The kids did many kind things. For example, the orphans helped pensioners and war veterans – cleared snow, cleaned flats and bought food in shops. They also made and repaired racks for the birds and fed the birds. They helped the local kindergarten and cleaned the property around it. So, they tried to be kind to everybody and everything.

May is the most important and the busiest month of the year because kids have a lot to do, and the school year comes to the end. May started with the Labor Day when the whole country has a day off. And soon after it there was one of the biggest holidays in Russia – Victory Day. That day Evgeniya Ves. and Elena M. took part in the ceremony to honor of those who died during the Great Patriotic war. Some other kids sang a song at the ceremony.

The other orphans took part in a festival “The Victory Salute”. For taking an active part in both activities the kids were awarded with small prizes. Then from May 12th till 14th the boys took part in the regional Tourist Contest. They were included into the top 5 teams. And on May 17th there was an official ceremony of awards where the kids got official certificates proving their skills, activity, or good results at schools. Evgeniya Ves. and Sveta Kor. were awarded for good studies. In the middle of the month, 6 kids (Vlad Kh., Artyom Tot., Vladimir Per., Alexei K., Victoria Ve. and Kseniya Ku.) went to a south camp situated near the Azov Sea. They will come back at the beginning of June. And Evgeniya Ves, was given a ticket to a popular camp “Orlyonok” situated at the Black Sea. She is going there on May 30th.  On May 22-24th, the boys played soccer. It was a regional competition between teams from different towns. And at the end of the month the kids and the caregivers planted flowers and made flowerbeds around the orphanage. The girls liked this activity more than the boys. For the graduates, May was a very busy month. They had to pass exams in Math and Russian. On May 25th they had a holiday called “Last Bell” where the children say goodbye to school. The staff and the kids decorated the orphanage for the graduation celebration. The graduates also received presents. So, you see May was rich in all kinds of events.

The weather has become warm. In the middle of May, it was unusually hot, but then the temperature became normal. The kids are glad to have summer vacations and relax. They hope to see you after summer and so they can share about their summer with you.

Discipleship Lessons

I decided to start my spring discipleship lessons with handicrafts because it seemed like the kids wanted a break from the more serious topics about morality and life skills. So March was entirely devoted to handicrafts. First, I taught them to make flowers from colorful paper. This lesson was connected with the Women’s Day in Russia, so the kids managed to make presents for one another and teachers. I must say that even boys enjoyed this activity; they made flowers with much interest. And during my second visit there in March we made bracelets out of thread. The girls were excited about it because they like bracelets very much. And again the boys took part in this activity and some of them made more beautiful things than the girls.

In April and May, I devoted my time to teaching lessons from the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis using HopeChest’s new Through the Winter curriculum. This curriculum uses the book to teach moral lessons about life. In April, we talked about Faith: what faith is, what the kids from the book believe and how their faith helps them in life. During my second visit, we discussed love and kindness: who loved who; whose love was stronger and who was the kindest character; how love helps in life and so on. And in May, I used the topic about Leadership qualities of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy for the conversation. We defined what leadership is; what qualities are necessary for a leader; which of them each child from the book has and what types of a leader he/ she is; then the kids tried to define what kind of a leader they are – to do it we acted out some situations from real life. The orphans liked this conversation very much because they were given an opportunity to learn more about themselves discussing this topic. And my last lesson was devoted to the topic of Courage based on the book. At first we found out how the kids understand the word “courage”, and then we discussed the characters’ behavior; Edmund’s, Peter’s and Aslan’s courage; who was the most courageous, and at the end, each child evaluated their own level of courage using a paper ladder. I should say the orphans know the plot of the book rather well. These conversations helped them to understand better the inner world of each character and of themselves because talking about Peter’s, Susan’s, Edmund’s or Lucy’s behavior in each situation helped them think about how they would have behaved and what they would have done in a similar case. It’s very interesting to watch the kids thinking over their actions and arguing with other orphans what is better. So, I must say that these topics were rather useful for both of us – the kids and me. I personally learnt more about the orphans and their views on moral issues.

I want to thank you again for your kindness and attention to these kids and for your help. I am grateful that you pray for these kids and don’t forget about them.

God bless you!

Maria Dyomina

Special Updates

The kids miss you very much and hope to get more news from you or even better to see you this year. The orphans say “Thank You” to you for your love, care and letters, of course. Each time I come to them, they ask if I have letters for them and they write answers immediately. The staff is very pleased with your care as well. Some kids with health problems need medicine; the medicine is rather expensive, so the orphanage can’t buy everything. They especially need influenza vaccine, as this year there were two flu epidemics in Russia – in February and April. Many kids fell ill. They usually catch a cold at first and then it turns into a flu, bronchitis or even pneumonia. Thank God that this year some orphans had a possibility to go to the seaside; everybody hopes it will help improve their health.

At the beginning of June, most of the kids except for the graduates are going to summer camps such as “Mir”, “Well”, and “Tramplin” in the Azov Sea. The first group has already gone to the Azov Sea, the next group will go later. Evgeniya Ves. is going to a summer camp “Orlyonok” on May 30th that is situated in the Black Sea. Alexey K. is going to visit his grandma; Vlad Kh. will spend summer vacation with his granddad, and Mikhail K. will be visiting his grandma. Alexander Sm. will go to a camp for teens who play the guitar in July.

Prayer Requests

Please, continue to pray for the orphanage: for the kids to stay healthy and safe; for the graduates to be admitted to technical schools and find their way in life; for the headmistress who has a plenty of work and staff of Spitchino orphanage, and for all other people who help these kids and the orphanage.

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