We All Need a Pat on the Back – Kim H.

At our travel team devotional gathering on the final evening in Moscow, I was reminded that our week at the orphanage was about much more than the orphan children. We had a unique opportunity to lift up the staff of 100 by showing them appreciation for their work and dedication to the children. We organized a tea celebration for the staff where we set up displays and foods depicting the various ethnic heritages of the Mission 1:27 travel team. This was complete with a pregnant Kate Middleton and Sherlock Holmes at the England display (thanks Kendall Wood and Chris Wood for being good sports) , Rush Beam, our youth pastor, in a Native Indian headdress serving beef jerky and Claire and I with a pasta display from Italy. They found the angel hair pasta the most interesting! This gathering gave us an opportunity to share information about the history of our families while thanking the staff in a fun setting. A truly good time was had by all.
On Tuesday following lunch, we called the cooking staff out of the kitchen to be honored. It is rare to see any of them come out from behind the serving station. As we sang a silly song they were pulled into a conga line ending with applause for their hard work and gifts of spring inspired aprons and hand lotions (greatly needed in this line of work).
At the teary farewell gathering the school principal, Vera, thanked me for a wonderful week and for “getting it”. When I asked what was meant, she said that their staff had the jobs that no one else wanted and that she appreciated the time we took to recognize them. I was reminded that these teachers, caregivers, kitchen workers, etc. spend their days and nights with these very needy and broken children. The stigma of being an orphan continues to the people who work with orphans. These jobs are not honored in the community as they should be. These really were the jobs that no one else wanted …serving the children that no one wanted.
Please pray for the energy and continuing dedication of the staff of the Slobodskoy orphanage.

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