Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reaching to Russia - The Power of Advocacy

We’ve said it so many times.  We show it today.  The power of a mentor in the life of a young person indeed is a powerful thing. 


Lilya, who you read about in our updates this summer from Russia as she cut so many of our team’s hair (Russians and Americans), is a 20 year old orphan.  Befriended during a winter camp, back when we used to do winter camps, by Cheri Raines of Atlanta, Georgia, Lilya has grown much the last 4 years.  She’s a young woman now making better and better decisions.  She’s been mentored for 4 years now by Nastia Shishkina who is one of our key leaders in Novosibirsk.


Seeing that the needs of Lilya were more specific than the needs of a younger child, Nastia set about helping Lilya answer some difficult questions in life.

What are your God given talents?  How can you make a living using the talents God has given you?  What training do you need to develop those talents?  What does independent living look like for you?  And others were asked and are still being answered as well.  It’s an exciting time in Lilya’s life for sure.  Here’s why.


Early this morning in Novosibirsk, Russia, Lilya boarded Aeroflot Airlines flight 808 to fly to Moscow where she has been accepted to study for one month in one of the world’s top cosmetology schools.  This training will empower Lilya to work in better salons, earning a better salary and moving closer and closer to the thing that so many orphans never experience – independent living. 


Lilya left this morning as the result of saving some of her own money and mentors/partners/friends/Christians pitching in to help pay her tuition.  Frequent flyer miles were donated to provide her ticket there and back.  One of our mentors from Novosibirsk actually met her in Moscow at the airport and took her to the home of Christian family who is excited to host her for the first week of her stay in Moscow.  She was blessed with new equipment before leaving Novosibirsk worthy of a young student hungry to learn at one of the world’s top training centers.  Also, she left this morning with a gift box prepared this past summer by that same person, Cheri Raines, which Lilya will open and pull out of every day a scripture (in Russian), a gift and a reminder of those that love her so much. 


I am bursting with joy right now for Lilya and for our team in Russia.  While working with all orphans is worthy of our and their time and attention, working with older orphans presents challenges that can be daunting.  Our mentors are to be commended.  Teaching older orphans to value work and then to work hard is not easy.  Modeling it for them is so important.  Assisting in preparing them to do that work can be expensive, emotionally draining and sometimes appear as fruitless. 


As you look at the pictures below though of a young lady about to board her first flight to go to training she thought only the top cosmetologists in the world would be considered for carrying with her a gift that will bless her while there and long beyond that, you and we must remember our work in not fruitless!


Let us pray for her that she sees God’s love more clearly than ever and that she responds to it in a personal, life changing way while in Moscow. 


Thank you for your prayers and your ongoing support for our family and YouthReach International!


In Him,

Rob, Traci, Benjamin, Nate, Aidan and Anna


Lilya at the Novosibirsk airport about to check in.  There were enough frequent flyer miles to fly her in First Class! 


A gift given from the heart of the person who first met and befriended Lilya more than 4 years ago.  The words inside will continue to bless Lilya in her awareness of and relationship with Jesus for the rest of her life.

Outfitted with gear worthy of her hunger and opportunity to learn, Lilya heads to Moscow. 




Rob Browne

Director of Russian Operations



678-935-0220 x103 Direct

404-518-5646 Cell

678-935-9674 Fax


          1911 Grayson Hwy, Ste 8-344

          Grayson, GA 30017



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