Author: Robert M. is an 18-year old high school senior who is making his first trip to Russia. He has gone on this trip on his own but has a surrogate dad (Rush – Youth Pastor) and ten other adults watching after him. After this trip, he is a son to all of us.
Sometimes when you contribute to an organization, your thoughts of it might be purely that – just thoughts. The truth is I’m used to just writing out a check to Children’s HopeChest, and perhaps had the thought that yes, I’m giving to an orphanage in the Kirov region.
Our bus driver had been stoic and serious until we first pulled in, then he began to honk the horn and smile widely. Kids were crowded around the front of the orphanage door. They were very happy that we had arrived. Some things you don’t need a language to express.
As we were walking in, the kids held doors for us, smiling. They even said “Hi!” and “Hello” in the cutest English ever.
The thing to realize about kids in this orphanage is that they are kids. Kids are the same in America, in Russia, in wherever. They just want love and someone to latch onto, and they are just happy to hug someone who might not speak a word of their language.
Meeting the Director was something quite special. Her sheer personality completely envelops the entire building into something more than cement and wood. She has turned this place into a home, and she truly loves the kids. Several of them had birthdays this week or last week, and she presented them with gift in front of all their peers, and gave them a maternal kiss on the cheek that expressed how much she cares about them.
Even as I introduced myself in the little Russian that I know, she gave me a lecture about the beauty of the Russian language and asked if I plan to study it. She is truly a teacher, mother, and father to all of the kids there, and even though she just met me, she was already helping and teaching me too.
A trip to Russia is a trip about the heart, not about the distance. It’s taken 2 days and a lifetime to get here, and it is completely worth it. 5000 miles is nothing, and it’s all about the kids.
7 thoughts on “My First Time at the Orphanage – by Robert M.”
Robert, your voice is clear and strong! God exceeds time and space and distance and circumstances. Where there is Love, God is there.
Wow. That is awesome Robert. I am so glad you made the trek. It will bless you and those kids in so many ways.
Many thanks to all of you who are posting! I am reading each word carefully, living vicariously through you, imagining each detail and longing to be back there myself.
Robert, it sounds like your first experiences have already been life changing! I hope the rest of the rest of the week continues to go just as well, and I’m looking forward to hearing all about it when you get back.
How good it was to read your post from Russia! Thank you for sharing your first impressions and experiences at the orphanage. Your Dad and I have been praying for you – It’s nice to know you are physically safe…but what tells us more is learning about the emotional part of your journey. You shared with such depth and wisdom. You are a blessing to those young ones. They look up to you in more ways than one. Your Dad and I appreciate your outreach to serve and love others.
We love you,
Mom and Dad
I never knew you were so eloquent, but I’m not surprised. I can just picture the kids latching onto this tall, lanky American, and I can imagine your grin as you just give yourself over to them. They probably love it that you can speak some of their language. I’m always particularly interested in what the first time travelers say, because one day I hope to be there myself.
Soak it all up and save it in your heart.
Robert, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I’m so glad you are there. Please use your Russian to tell Galina, that Christi sends her special, special love. She is an amazing woman, and I”m so glad you could connect. Peace, Christi