A Great Gift

“You have a one-year-old?  And you’re here?”

Sveta walks next to me as we head to stow our things and see some of Moscow before getting on the overnight train to Kirov. “Isn’t that difficult?” she asks.

She is just voicing the question I’ve heard in my head and by a few others when I decided to join this trip. Was I crazy?  Selfish?  Traveling about as far as you can get from my boys… Really?

But whenever those questions came up, I thought about Vanya and the other kids in Slobodskoy. I remembered our Skype conversations, and the one time he asked when I would visit and I didn’t know. I thought about the stories I had heard from past travelers and the joy that Russians and Americans alike feel when we make this journey. Honestly, I didn’t know what it would be like to be this far from my baby.  But I can sit here with the kids’ voices lingering in my ears and think of the gift that Noah and Mike have given me… and Vanya. Because today I met Vanya and his friends, and he showed me his math homework and pictures of our family that we had sent months ago.  I heard them tell stories and light up when I said I knew Craig and Tom and our other friends from home they adore.  The children here were so generous with their affection, it was an abundance of love that I hadn’t prepared for, nor deserved in the least. It so clearly reminded me of God’s lavish love for us, and I could hardly breathe for a moment when that hit me.

What a gift. I can’t wait for Noah to grow up knowing he has a family here. He has brothers and sisters who have his photo, and maybe one day he will get to meet them, too. But right now I’m going to get busy being a part of those relationships… those stories I’ll share.

Маша (Mary)


2 thoughts on “A Great Gift

  1. The wonderful thing about our hearts is that they can be in more places and touch more people all at the same time. Physically, you may be in Russia and touching the lives of the children. You will share your heart with them and you will leave your heart with them at the end of your trip. In the meantime, your heart is still at home in NC with Noah and Mike.

  2. Dear Mary,
    I loved your post! What a blessing that you were able to meet Vanya in person! His life will be forever changed by your generous spirit and your willingness to go the extra mile (plus 5,780 miles)! I remember the indescribable joy that I felt when I finally connected with our Denis! GOD has given you an amazing opportunity to meet your other child and to love on all the kids there! Thanks to Mike and Noah for their gift of time to you and for sharing you! Treasure those sleep deprived days in Russia! We miss you!
    Warmest regards,

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