Did you know?
Reportedly there are about 100,000 orphans in Russia. Statistics show that only one out of ten Russian orphans becomes a functional member of society. The others are lost to drugs, crime and suicide. Many Russian children are on the run, living on the streets or in underground sewers desperately needing basic food, medicine, clothing and shelter.
In Saint Petersburg and the surrounding area alone, there are about 100 state run orphanages. Each of these "children’s homes" house about 100 orphans. These numbers continue to grow as the orphans follow in their parents' steps; not knowing how to care for their children, they place them in the orphanages.
How can we make a difference?
These orphans need to experience a loving family and caring friends and to know that there is hope in a loving God. This is why we have started the Russia Family Homes program. Today there are two family/transitional homes that are open, one to care for orphans and one to care for single mothers and their children. There is a Russian couple counselling in each of these homes to help the residents learn skills such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and personal hygiene, as well as providing Bible reading, spending quality time with them and taking them to church. The residents also continue to work on their schooling at the University or Technical Colleges.
The Russia Family Homes program is a two year program, after which it is hoped that each resident would be able to support him/herself and live by their own means. There are normally 2-3 children or single mothers in each home.
We have growing relationships with seven state run orphanages. With frequent visits, we are able to get to know the directors, counselors, and especially the orphans. These visits produce bridges to cross social and superstitious gaps and create lasting friendships. These friendships help us to become acquainted with orphans that wish to receive help, hope and the new life that only Jesus can give them.
Some of the house parents also work with prospective adoptive or foster parents to answer questions, to be encouraging, and to help with their transition.
We are constantly involving kids from the orphanage in our Family Home programs, including orphanage graduates who have not yet chosen to live in a family home. We invite them to special occasions like New Years and Easter, take them to church, go on field trips and fun events together, and have them over for dinner during the week where sometimes our counselors will lead a discussion about an important life skill. Many orphans spend the night at the Family Homes on the weekend. When we have a retreat for the family homes we invite other orphans from outside the Family Home to join us. We share our testimonies with them. It is a really special time of getting to know the orphans on a personal level.
What some of our graduates are doing
One young woman of 27 years, works at Pizza Hut and is a very energetic and happy person. Two others have studied English in the United States for 9 months and are hoping to enter college to become social workers. They have worked in a children’s hospital and gone on a mission trip to Tajikistan to work with handicapped children. Natasha got married and has a baby boy. She is a student of the Teacher's School. [The names have been changed for privacy and security reaons.]
Dasha is a student of the Nursing School and works at a cafeteria. She wants to become a missionary doctor. Olya is going to continue her education this year at the Teachers College. She has a heart that reaches out to many people. Vera works very hard at whatever she puts her mind to do. Dasha and Vera have sewn beautiful purses and sell them to gain a little more income.
Natasha has been invited to work at a church day care in the United States. Sasha, one of the first boy graduates from the Family Home is a student in the Cooking School and has learned sign language to communicate with his friend, Serge. Serge is a deaf student in the carpentry school. He has a talent in art and has sold a few of his paintings.
People have said that it is a miracle that all these girls and boys are successfully graduating from high school and going on to college. It really is amazing what the Lord can do.
How can you help?
1) Please pray for this growing ministry:
2) If you have any questions or would like to make a donation, contact Greg Sethness or by phone: 1-210-885-6070.
3) Tax deductible donations are always appreciated and can
be made by writing a check payable to “Russia Family Homes.” Please mail any checks and correspondence to Greg Sethness, 335 Arcadia Pl., San Antonio, Texas 78209, Secretary of this Texas Nonprofit
On-line donations can be made on our partner's website Stoneworks International. Select "SUPPORT" in the upper right corner, "Donate now" and "Quick give" (or other options) and then "Russia Family Homes"
Psalm 68:5-6 A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families…
James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble.