Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yes, But We're Talking About Orphans

Those were the words of a chemical engineer from Czech Republic  I sat beside on a flight to Prague a few months ago.  Our conversation began like most airplane chats to.  “Where are you from” and “where you are going” are most common it seems.  I normally like to continue by saying, “so tell me what you do when you’re not on an airplane.”  This always allows me to learn about their jobs but also gives them an opening to speak about their families, hobbies, and passions.

As Pavel told me about his work with one of Europe’s largest chemical companies, he used words I did not understand to explain processes I could not appreciate.  Remember, I am educated far beyond my intelligence.  As he drew to a close, he asked me, “so, what do you do for a living?”  I love it when people ask me that.  I imagine that my eyes light up a bit.  I know that my heart quickens.  “I help administer a lifelong mentoring program to orphans and at risk youth in Siberia.”  There is something about that line that always seems to resonate with people.  That’s one of the reasons I love to say it.  The other reason I love to say it is that it is true and it is happening and it is changing lives.

I shared with him as much as I could during our 1 hour flight.  He was obviously intelligent but was a good listener also.  He asked many insightful questions.  His final question was one I don’t hear very often but appreciated him asking.  He asked, “I know I have bad days in my job but is it is possible to have bad days at a job as rewarding as yours?”  I assured him it was.  My flights get delayed (or cancelled).  My meetings get postponed (or cancelled).  Plans get changed, people disappoint, promises go unmet, and obstacles are real.  I know you can say the same for your job too.

As I answered his question, Pavel said those words above.  “Yes, but we’re talking about orphans.”  To him and consequentially to me, the bad days at work should not be as heavy and burdensome as I sometimes make them because indeed we are talking about orphans.  We’re talking about lives being changed.  We’re talking about people receiving salvation.  We’re talking about young Russians from their mid teens all the way to their mid 40s volunteering to take time from their studies, jobs, hobbies, teams, and families to invest directly and meaningfully into the lives of orphans here in Siberia.  We’re talking about something that is already making a difference but is poised to bring about massive change in the years to come. 

However, before we can see those things happen, we must initiate loving, trusting relationships with those orphans.  We have found that works ideally in an atmosphere where we have their undivided attention and they have ours too.  That place where relationships are started or deepened is camp and ours begins in two short weeks.  We still need a lot of full or partial sponsorships to get as many kids to the camp as possible.  Right now we are a good bit behind where need to be.  Many have said they plan to help but few have followed through.  Please click here to see where we are and where need to be by July 7. 

Time is short but the opportunities are huge.  As you consider your response, remember that “we’re talking about orphans.”  Be you as smart as Pavel or as overeducated as yours truly, that should speak to your heart.

For your prayers, encouragement, and partnership, our family deeply thanks you.
In Him,
Rob, Traci, Benjamin, Nathanael, Aidan and Anna

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