Monday, June 6, 2011

Reaching to Russia - One Week Later

A week ago NOW, we arrived in Novosibirsk.  Our flat was neatly prepared with the TLC of dear friends complete with food in the fridge and ice cream in the freezer.  After 11 years of gulley and rut expansion, the road in front of our flat was paved with new sidewalks and curbs to boot.  Best of all, our Mentors have been eagerly awaiting this specific season of ministry fully aware that any success we experience this summer is because of a long winter of significant investment in the life of the kids within our reach.  If we had any reason to doubt that God was going before us during this summer (and we did not) it was immediately done away with upon our arrival. 


Our first team of the summer, from St. Louis, MO, arrived on Sunday morning.  Andy, Olivia, Nathan and Denny are eager, well prepared and highly appreciative of the opportunity before them.  We began our first day camp of the summer yesterday at a city orphanage where we have unfettered access to the nearly 50 kids who live there.  We enjoyed getting to know each other better, talking about how to distinguish healthy relationships from unhealthy relationships and of course some games, crafts, and lots of laughter.  A baseball game even broke out which, at this orphanage, is a treat indeed as many of their kids have taken a true liking to it over the last few years.  The highlight for me during that impromptu game was seeing that the baseball bat they used was handmade by one of the kids in our mentoring program who is actually featured in the second half of this video.  As we think about helping these kids move into professions one day that can support them and their future families, might The Siberian Slugger be a bat our children’s children choose for Little League games to come?  Hmm…


It was a special treat for us as well to visit Reconciliation Church on Sunday and see so many of our Mentors as either members there or regular visitors there.  Equally special was seeing there one young man who has been mentored by our volunteers for 4 years now.  He informed me that he had visited another church that morning where another one of our Mentors attends.  He was excited to be together with 2 groups of God’s people that day.  What an evidence of God’s work through this ministry in his life.  His name is Denis.  He’s 18 years old.  Keep him in your prayers please that he’ll grow to love God as he has already grown to love his people. 


The weather has been great, the kids healthy and the reunions of Traci with so many here have been treasured.  Our Mentors, church members, past Mentors, neighbors, friends and kids at the orphanage have all run to Traci celebrating the life that shines so brightly in her.  I have been accused twice so far of having a wife half my age.  That made this old dog feel pretty good indeed. 


Pictures will follow next time.  Just wanted to report for now we made it here without any incident at all, we have our first team on the ground and the good that has been being done hear year round with our Mentors is now being deepened a bit by the team who has come to join us.  Truly, we have much to be grateful for…your prayers and generosity especially.


Thank you for them both,

The Browne Family



Rob Browne

Director of Russian Operations

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