My Dear Friends,
Thank you for your continued support and prayers for Anya and Valya. I wish I had some comforting news to share but at this point I do not. Last Friday the hospital released Anya to her mother and although Valya had given a promise to go back home to her village, she only showed there briefly. Apparently she went to pick up some clothes and since then she has not been seen. The other girl's children have been placed in a baby home and the two mothers came to talk to the social workers yesterday. They still had bandages on their arms but seemed to be doing okay. The most troublesome thing though is that Anya was not with them. I have no idea who they may have left the girl with and where they are living now. There is no way for us to reach Valya, nor does she want to talk to us for that matter. From the former orphanage director that basically raised Valya and Marina (the other girl's name) we know that Marina lives a very promiscuous life and Valya is totally under her influence now. As much as I do not like Russian orphanages and baby homes, I am convinced that Marina's two children are in a better shape now than Anya. Please pray that somehow we find Valya and Anya and if the mom does not change her ways, the child will be better off in the baby home.
It all began 10 years ago when Zhenya's boss at work asked him if he would go to Orphanage #1 in town to deliver presents to the graduating children. At the Post-Soviet time it was still a tradition for large corporations to assist the needy - unfortunately, it perished with the collapse of the Empire. Zhenya could not say no, and so at the end of June that year he went to present a few graduating children with simple but pleasant gifts.
It was all it took - to see the faces of these kids, needy, lonely, in many ways bold and arrogant, but in more ways desperate - and to leave his heart there forever. He convinced his wife, Tatiana, that the orphanage ministry is where God sees them. And this marked a beginning of a new era in their life.
Greetings from snowy Russia!
It has been a very harsh winter, the coldest in many decades. Thank God, it is almost over and we were able to survive it – thanks to our many wonderful helpers from all over the world.
You have read about the great miracle in Valya’s life – her apartment has been completely remodeled, and both mom and daughter would be in heaven but for one serious complication. The tumor in Valya’s thigh has turned out to be cancerous and some doctors are saying that the only solution will be complete leg amputation. We are taking her to get a second opinion though. Will keep you posted. It is hard to imagine how she could possibly survive in the village with no running water or indoor bathroom with one leg and a baby. We are praying for mercy. And we have already seen God’s grace in the number of new volunteers that have stepped in to help. I received an unexpected check from my friends in California for groceries and some medical expenses for Valya. Another friend’s mom has been investing a lot of time and energy in helping Valya – it is incredible how doctors’ attitude changes when they see someone waiting for you outside the office.
Zhenya and another volunteer have resumed a cooking class for the girls at Orphanage #1. We fried fish, made a salad and baked cakes. The girls were thrilled to learn new skills. We would like to have this program going again on a regular basis. Perhaps next year we, at Desana, can consider running it as well.
Can you tell we have stayed busy? It would not have been possible without you, dear friends. Wherever you are, please know that your help is needed and greatly appreciated. You are making a difference in these children’s lives.
Most of all, thank you, George and Kathy, for “giving it all back.” You are wonderful!
May God bless us all.