Over the last few days and weeks, I have experienced a sense of immense loss and grief at our missed trip and opportunity to see the Slobodskoi orphans, interpreters, and caregivers again. Yesterday a new phrase came into my awareness…..”Defiant Hope!” Although I am not the original author who coined that term, it perfectly describes how I am determined to feel this week.
While organizing for our travel abroad, the motto “be prepared” was ringing in my head. Over the last few months, I had gone “all out” in arranging fun and engaging activities for the Russian children. Oh – the preparations and the longing I had for spreading happiness this week to the orphans as well as to the caregivers, the interpreters, and the teachers. This year my trip packing was not focused on my own physical needs but on making room in my bags for bringing love and reassurance to our Russian friends.
I will never be able to repay the incredible hospitality that I experienced in Russia on my first journey there. Oh – how enveloped I felt by the mutual love we all have for the orphans.
This year I was more determined than ever to spread the joy of Christ though fellowship, teaching, crafts, Valentines cards/candy, musical/card games, and reading. I planned to share my recent experiences of Hawaiian hospitality by helping the children make leis (necklaces) of shells, flowers, and nuts. Maddie was going to help teach a hula! I was practicing new Russian words and phrases to convey my concern for my extended family there. In preparing to serve during the tea party organized by other travelers, I was memorizing simple words like cup (chashka) as well as tea (chay) and sugar (sakhar). My goal was to extend hospitality to the children’s caregivers and teachers, who are always looking out for the children.
Oh, how many ways GOD helped me plan to bring cheer, consolation, and healing to the young ones. I had ordered children’s books in Russian and English. On my first trip to the orphanage, I mimed the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to my family group. What a joy it was to see the children’s facial expressions change as they began to recognize the universal fairy tale. This Spring I wanted to relate more stories while continuing to encourage the children.
Then suddenly….a change in travel plans! Sadly, with the trip cancellation I have been forced to face the remnants and reminders of my thwarted dream.
However – even with our dashed hopes of travel to Russia, I am claiming “Defiant Hope” as well as “Defiant Joy!!” Thanks be to our great and awesome God who has bonded us with a group of His servants and His children thousands of miles away. We are joyful to be on a “journey of the heart” as one former traveler described it. We WILL NOT let our hopes be derailed by one missed trip.
The good that we hope and hold in our hearts will eventually come to fruition. In the meantime, we write letters, we Skype, we give, we dream of books and libraries, and we dream of GOD’s love being spread to orphans and saints in Russia. Thanks be to our Father who gives us not only “Defiant Hope and Joy” but “Defiant Love” as we shine His example in this world.