Smiles from Slobodskoy – by David P.

It was a little more than one month ago that I and fellow travelers arrived in Slobodskoy, Russia to spend several days with Orphanage staff and children. One day we found ourselves outdoors in freezing weather and several feet of snow. We had scant knowledge of the outdoor “Olympic “events in which we’d be participating. I had joked about pre-medicating with ibuprofen the night before; if only I had listened to my own advice!  We participated in groups, adults and children, and the American adults had two objectives in mind…to have fun and survive.  Two children in group #2 helped strap two planks of wood on my feet and off I went with a child on each side helping and encouraging me, “Go David Go.” Down I went and a multitude of children came to my rescue, helped me up to my feet so that I could finish the cross-country course event.  I think about that day often and remember the children’s faces, their smiles, their words of hope and encouragement and I am reminded of God’s blessing given to me by His children at the Slobodskoy orphanage and I smile.

I was also blessed to witness our American youth and their interactions with the children, the orphanage staff and with fellow travelers. The compassion our youth displayed was amazing and their smiles were sustaining for both children and adults alike. Our youth planned and carried out several activities, interacted with the children during “family time,” and served as wonderful role models for the children. Their words during reflection time were insightful and memorable. One memory is etched in my mind: a crying 5th grader was lying face down in the snow (he had been pushed down) and a youth helped the child to his feet, comforted the child with a hug and a held hand and offered words of encouragement. The next moment, the child’s face lit up with a huge smile and I stood spellbound and praised God for that moment.

On behalf of Mission 1:27, we are so thankful for a supportive church, the sponsors of the Slobodskoy children, letter writers, and the prayers of so many people including the prayer team at Christ Church. Your prayers, sponsorship, and letters have helped to establish a deep and growing relationship with the children and orphanage staff. Our family is growing 🙂

David and Lena

A group of our smiling teenage travelers

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