Following My Calling: Visiting Russia

As the jet lag has finally wore off from my visit to Russia, I’ve had time to reflect on how God is leading and directing transformation in Children’s HopeChest Ministry Centers and orphanages throughout the three regions we currently work in (Kirov, Kostroma and Vladimir). I am blessed to be following my calling. My passion and dedication to impoverished, orphaned, and vulnerable children expand with each day.

The visit was fruitful, exciting, and heartwarming. Through our incredible guide, Katya (HopeChest Russia Country Director), we were able to see with our own eyes the support and holistic programs that are in place – and continue to grow – that encourage the children and young adults in each region. I am proud to be part of the team at Children’s HopeChest as we continue to have a profound impact on children and young adults throughout the seven countries we currently work with. I can’t begin to mention the names of the “unsung heroes” throughout Russia and the countries we serve who are making such an incredible and long-lasting impact on children, young adults, and families.

The trip started with a train ride from Moscow through the beautiful countryside into the Kirov region for a visit to see the Kirov orphanages and Ministry Center. There are various programs for the orphanage graduates which include support from a social worker; individual and group counseling; Leadership Program; Jobs for Life, which connects young adults to meaningful employment; as well as life-skills and communications programs.

Ministry Center participants in the Leadership Program spend time with elderly people in their community. This program has been impactful for both the program participants and the community members they serve.

As we traveled into the Kostroma region, we were able to spend precious pizza and tea time with the orphanage graduates who have come through our programs and are now being supported through the Ministry Center initiatives. To see these young adults, and how their passion for life has grown, was a blessing to us all. The stories were endless and encouraging. Yes, the young boys “whooped” me in ping pong!

Another train ride took us into the Vladimir region where, again, we were able to see how lives have been changed through the support and deep, relational commitment of churches and friends in North America. Young adults who have come through our programs are now mentoring and supporting those younger children who are dealing with ongoing issues of trauma and despair.

A Ministry Center staff member leading foster child training. These trainings help children process the emotions and challenges that come up when integrating into a foster family.

Continue to pray for our ministry as we enter into our 25th year of supporting vulnerable children and young adults in Russia.  

The programs that Children’s HopeChest implements and cultivates wouldn’t be successful without the support of friends, family, and dedicated partnerships. I want to thank my friends, colleagues, and family members who are praying and supporting the work of Children’s HopeChest.

If you are interested in investing in our mission of equipping youth in Russia to live fulfilling and independent lives, I ask that you prayerfully consider joining our Invest in Hope program.