My head is still reeling from the last 72 hours. On Thursday morning we began the long journey to Russia….a 10 hour flight to Moscow, a 14 hour train ride to Kirov, and a 45 minute ride to Slobodskoy orphanage. This is my FIRST trip to Russia and more importantly my very FIRST mission trip. How blessed I am to be surrounded by six other travelers! We are all seekers…saying “here I am,” “send me,” in an effort to serve others.
Sleep deprived as we are at this point, there is a kindness and feeling of camaraderie in the group. Then we have been joined by seven skilled interpreters who are incredibly patient and compassionate. Our hope is to build and establish new relationships with the children. When our group first entered the orphanage (my FIRST time in an orphanage) I spotted Denis, one of the boys I have sponsored for several years. I recognized his face even though he had grown taller, looking like a serious young man. Since he was away at Tech school, I had not allowed myself the hope to see him! It was another first, my FIRST time to see one of my ‘long distance’ children. For the last couple of years, I had been developing a long distance relationship with Denis through the exchange of letters and pictures. Denis looked shyly at me when I tried to get his attention. We made that initial eye contact and smile, which spoke volumes to my heart. Very quickly our group was ushered into a room to put away our coats. And just as quickly, I dissolved into tears of joy at the fulfillment of a dream to meet this young man! I resolved to put a smile on my face as quickly as I could. What an enormous blessing – a feeling that my nuclear family was a little bigger! My world and my extended family has exploded and my week has just begun!
We are together in Christ,
P.S. I am thankful to be here…thank you Doug for the invitation, thank you to our pastor for the nudge, and finally thanks be to God for the confirmation by the Holy Spirit that I am where I am supposed to be!