The Kindness of a Friend – by Kendall W.

Author: Kendall W. is a ninth grader and on her second trip to Slobodskoy, this time traveling with her younger sister and dad.

Yesterday was the first day back at the orphanage after a long year’s wait to see everyone again. I had been thinking about what it would be like to come back ever since we left last March. How would the kids respond to seeing us again? What would be different this time?

As we drove into the orphanage, there was a kid holding the door open to us and we saw him call into the orphanage that we were here! Kim Hanlon asked the bus driver to honk his horn to let everyone know that we were excited to be back and he did it with a huge smile on his face. We walked through the doors to find Galina waiting with her arms open as wide as she could make them, ready to give hugs to anyone who walked through that door.

Galina led us into the cafeteria for the opening ceremonies and it was the first time we got to see most of the kids. It was truly amazing to see their faces light up as they saw their pen pals, sponsors, and friends walk through the doors. I then knew that nothing has changed even with a very long break of not seeing them.

The kids performed their orphanage anthem for us and of course, Katya sang a song for us.  It was Dima A.’s birthday and we sang him happy birthday and the kids who had birthday’s that week were also acknowledged. One of them was Natasha B, who has the same birthday as Maddie on March 23rd. Galina told us that she had been working hard on a beautiful cross-stitched pillow and she had asked her who she was making the pillow for. She had responded that she was making it for Holly, my mom. It was touching to see that even though my mom couldn’t make it on this trip or the October trip, she was still being thought of often and she had made a big impact on Natasha. Galina proceeded to tell us that she was sure that this pillow would help Holly feel better because it was made with so much love. I could feel God with us in Russia and at home with Holly in Chapel Hill with that presentation.

Natasha ended up getting the biggest (belated) birthday present of anyone as a reward for her hard work and kind heart. I was very proud of her for being so caring for my mom and was glad to see that our visits and letters have helped show her in the right direction.

Natasha was also supposed to be leaving for Camp Squirrel today (a time for the kids to relax away from the orphanage). My dad, Craig, was leaving the orphanage when Sveta (one of our amazing translators) told him that Natasha wanted him to know that she would NOT be going to Camp Squirrel because of a sore throat that she had. Natasha could be seen around the corner with a big grin on her face. Though I doubt the sore throat story, I am glad that we will be able to see her again and hopefully she will recover soon. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “The Kindness of a Friend – by Kendall W.

  1. Guys, amazing blog posts–what a gift to hear your voices, your reflections–really, your prayers. I love the pillow and how much Holly is present there. I”ll give her some big hugs tomorrow! I can imagine the joy on everyone’s faces at your arrival, and continue to be in awe of these unlikely and incredibly beautiful friendships. Please give everyone there my love. Christi

  2. It is wonderful to know that the connections between you and the children are still very strong. God has blessed the special bonds you have created. Your Mom will be touched to know how much she is thought about by folks at the orphanage. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
    Thank you for your post…it makes it feel like we are almost there with you!

  3. I am touched beyond words. I love all those kids at the orphanage but Natasha has a special place in my heart. And Kendall, I am just so proud that you were able to put the first meeting into words. I know the first time we walked in there was a memory that I will never forget. The second time must feel like coming home to great friends. I am taking every step with you in spirit. All my love to all of you.

  4. Kendall, we are so very proud of you and all of your family for your work at the orphanage. What an amazing experience. The story is moving and you do such a great job of telling it in a way that touches our heart. Our prayers are with you. We can’t wait to see you when you return. Love, PPJ

  5. Kendall,

    What a beautiful blog! You were so articulate and caring, and I love the fact that your mom is so present in the orphanage, although she isn’t physically there! I was very, very moved by your words and the actions and reactions of the kids in the orphanage in being so “tuned in” to their “American family”. Love reaches out and touches people in so many unforeseen ways.

    Have a great remainder of your time there and a safe journey home. I love you, Kate, and your dad (and, of course, your mom!) You might mention to your friends at the orphanage how much they’re being thought of and prayed for by your grandmother in Kansas. Maybe you all could make a map for them of the United States and put push pins in to show where their “additional friends” live across our country who are supporting them and keeping them in our hearts.

    Love to all,
    Grantan (Tandy Wood)

  6. Wow, what a wonderful arrival! Natasha making the pillow and having an unfortunate sore throat were the greatest. You must have been overjoyed with the how welcome your return was. Have a wonderful week!

  7. Kendall,

    You must have loved being about to write that post about Natasha and your mom. I had to laugh about her “sudden” sore throat, but doesn’t it make you feel great that she’d obviously much rather spend time with her American family and friends than going away on what is normally a treat? I love the way “family” takes on such richer meanings in these posts. Not only have the kids, the disciplers, the translators, and Galina become part of your families, but it’s obvious this experience makes you see your biological families in new ways, with even more love and respect than you already had.

    God sure did a great thing by leading our church to Slobodskoy.

    Love,
    Christy

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