Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reaching to Russia - So Much, So Fast, So Wonderful

That’s kinda life for us right now.  One team finishes on Friday, leaves on Saturday, another comes on Sunday, starts on Monday.  We’re not whining but we are wheezing a bit for sure.  The pace is extreme but the fruit is already visible.


Andy, Olivia, Denny and Nathan finished the first outreach of the summer at City Orphanage #11 on Friday after an amazing week.  Most of the kids we worked with have been part of our mentoring program for a few years now so when Bible stories were shared, they knew them.  When principles were stressed, they could attest to their really working in their lives.  When prayers were prayed, kids joined in. 


Attached is a picture of a young man that all in our ministry, Russian and American, love dearly.  You can see a YouthReach International video about him by clicking here.  During an activity we did on the last day, we used Vitaly as an example.  The kids drew a line separating the asphalt area we were on.  One side was the side of Life.  On that side we asked the young people to write words that are descriptive of things that are living giving.  Family, health, friends, education, hard work, hope, forgiveness, Jesus, and love were just a few.  On the other side of the line we asked them to write words descriptive of Death.  Addiction, hatred, drugs, gossip, pride, evil, Satan, and lying were some of what they wrote.  We sought to demonstrate to them how important it is to walk fully on the side of life.  Below, Vitaly straddles the line between life and death.  The activity had him walk a number of ways a number of times with a number of different challenges.  You can see from the faces of the kids in the background that that they were all “getting the point” of what were saying.  Avoid people and situations that seek anything for you other than God’s very best. 


This wonderful team left us at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning and after a glorious day of air travel realities got home to St. Louis just before 2 a.m. local time.  Ouch.  Not a word of complaint though.  They are all eager to take on the role of encourager, prayer partner, and voice there for the ministry God has entrusted to us here.  Thank you Andy, Olivia, Denny and Nathan.  You all left us a lot better than you found us.  We appreciate you greatly.  Denny produced a YouTube video which serves as a pretty good overview of the week.  Check it out here.


24 hours after they left, Paul, Dante, Dan, Toby and Todd arrived.  5 guys from St. Louis with hearts as big as any I’ve seen.  As I type this, they are out with their groups discussing the dangers of pretending to be something they are not in order to be accepted by so called “friends.”  The size of these guys in their physical stature (they raise them big in STL best I can tell) is dwarfed by their hearts.  This morning they showed up at the school we are doing this week’s camp with 5 orphans in tow.  I’ll not soon forget seeing these hulking men walking hand in hand with some of God’s dear ones who live at St. Nicholas Orphanage.  Day 2 is underway and things are going better than I could have ever imagined.  


Your prayers mean so much to us.  Sorry you’re not hearing from me more but I’m hoping that these words and a picture here and there will encourage you to keep praying.  If you would like to see daily pictures from our time here, befriend on Facebook Tim Dunn (Traci’s father) or Ruslan Asadov (our Russian Operations Manager).  Both do a great job of uploading pictures each night after our day’s work.


Traci and our kids are doing great.  I can’t tell you how sweet the reunions are with our Russian friends and Traci.  A big one is coming this Sunday as one of her dearest friends in the world, Gulia Zulina, arrives from the way far north of Siberia with her two daughters to spend a few days with us.  12 of us living in one flat for a few days will be a kind of fun I have rarely thought of before.  Stay tuned for updates on how that goes for sure.


Your generosity helped us get here and your prayers empower us while here.


We love you all,

Rob, Traci, Benjamin, Nate, Aidan and Anna



Rob Browne

Director of Russian Operations



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