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.