Tuesday, November 25, 2008

40 to 40 (Gratitude 20)

I am grateful for some of the unique opportunities that God has given me. One was spending 8 weeks in Russia on one of InterVarsity's Global Projects. There were a handful of staff and 23 college students who went to teach English to Russian students and learn a little Russian as well.

Our bigger purpose was to be a witness of who Jesus was in our lives. We lived, ate, and studied with our Russian counterparts. In the off times, we planed fun events as well as Bible studies that the Russians students were free to come to or not.

Honestly, it was a very challenging time for me. I struggled to connect to my Russian roommate. She was all glitz and well, I'm pretty low maintenance in terms of make-up and all of that. She was pretty enough to be a model. We had nothing in common. Add to that culture shock and it was a rough couple of months. But it was also an eye opening month to things in the world and with in me.

St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow.

The most precious and heart rending time for me was the afternoon we spent at an orphanage. Some children are there because they have been given up for adoption. Others are there simply because their parents can't take care of them. This little guy stole my heart. He was one of three who trailed after me. I wanted to smuggle all three home with me.

The sad part is that we saw probably some of the healthier children there. But all of them looked younger than their stated age. They were hungry for touch and any kind of attention. The rule was that we were not allowed in the building. The orphanage had a facade to maintain by presenting us, for the most part, with their healthiest children.

But I look at this picture and just see sad eyes. The toy looks happier than he does. God broke my heart for orphans that day.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I spent nine months living in Moscow in '98-'99. I lived in an orphanage and taught English at another orphanage. I loved reading about your experiences! That place changed my life forever...I still have many dear friends from my time there. I'm loving your blog! :)