Dear family in Christ,

I am happy to be sharing what God is doing in our part of the world – Syomkovo village – and most importantly in our hearts.

As for me, I have been renewed in the word the Lord gave to me few years ago: “Build where you live”. I received it as a call to serve the children I believe God had sent to me at that time. Some of them are not children by age any longer, they have grown to be teenagers who want to be independent in all ways. And it means with some of them we do not do homework together and other “kid’s” things any more. Now the girls have other kind of needs and we meet mostly one on one and it takes time to open up and let know what is going on in their lives.

I am very close with Chura sisters: Snezhana, Vika and Nastya who live in a communal flat nearby. Though they are raised only by mum (who is an alcohol addict) we have learned that their father was taken to prison recently. The girls received a letter from him asking to send him a package there. They were in a big distress feeling sorry for their father and yet at the same time having no means to get those things for him. And in such situations you cannot always find words to explain why parents can be so irresponsible to their children, and selfish too.

We always pray for God’s wisdom and protection over His children in situations like these. But often they have to make spontaneous decisions that do not do them good. Like Snezhana who quit school just last week. She was in the 11th grade (the last one at school), got her middle school certificate and applied into a vocational school to learn how to be a seamstress. She is 16 years old now and has to be enrolled into some educational establishment. But mostly she is so eager to try independent life and not follow the rules.

This week has proved to her that independent life is not easy at all. First you have to pay for transportation to get to the city and back and that costs about $3 a day. Her mom cannot provide her with that. So she has to “borrow” that money. And I felt like I was being used when she would come to me only when she needed something. And that was painful for both of us, I must admit. At one moment God reminded these words: “..God takes pleasure in a ready giver…” And my heart is joyful again – I can give when I have something to give and when I do it in His love and with His love then it is a blessing. So I make this decision again – to give (both materially and spiritually) and worry only about with what state of my heart I do it.

This is just a small episode from our daily lives. And again I do not have many photos. The kids who used to like to be in the photos are very sensitive about it now. There is one I had taken with Yulya (above) –our youngest one – and look how she has grown! We are outside our church building last Sunday. And, yes, we still make our Sunday sandwiches!:)))

With love in Christ,