Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reaching to Russia - A Quote To Remember

"They don't have a future if they don't have a mentor."


Those were the closing words of YouthReach International’s friend, John Lahutsky, at our Spring Fundraising Dinner in Nashville, TN, on Saturday, May 12, 2012.  John and his mother Paula as well as their dear friend Nancy joined us in Nashville all the way from Bethlehem, PA, for the second fundraising event we have collaborated on together in the last 7 months.


John’s story has been chronicled in the book, The Boy from Baby House 10, and in an NBC Dateline special viewable here.  If you did not attend our event in Atlanta this past November or in Nashville this past weekend do take the time to acquaint yourself with John’s story.  It will touch your heart and move you to action.


His words above are pointed and overtly consequential.  Reading them I’m reminded in Ephesians 2:12 when Paul tells his readers that before Christ they were excluded, far away, without God and without hope in the world.  We all would quickly and rightly say that the orphan’s greatest need is the same as the professional athlete’s greatest need, the popular kid in school’s greatest need, and your and my greatest need.  That need is the blood of Jesus to cover us.  Amen and amen to that.  We also all know that even in this digital, virtual world we live in, coming into covenant inclusion with Jesus Christ is at its core a relational process.  In relationship with people we are lead to be in relationship with God. 


Many of us love Jeremiah 29:11 and call on it regularly in times of trial in our lives.  We believe that God wants to give us hope and a future.  We remind each other of that regularly when children or spouses suddenly die or parents grow old.  Those reminders come to us in relationship with God’s people.  The testimonies of others who have gone before us empower us to believe that the God who has been faithful to them in their time of need will be faithful to us in our time as well. 


Key and core to all of this though is a relational component we cannot hide, diminish, or ignore.  Many times God delivers his tender mercy, his loving rebuke, his timely redirection to people through people.  When those kinds of relationships, we call them Mentors, are not in place then one of the main and most beautiful conduits of God’s grace are shut up.  That’s what I heard with my heart as I listened to John with my ears.  Orphans do not have a future if they do not have a mentor to speak, show, and impress on them the living love of God.


John had Sarah and Vika who were friends to him, advocates for him, and fans of him.  In our mentoring world, Tanya has the Mangrums praying for her while Nastia Mentors her.  Misha has Mike mentoring him while Mark prays for him.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s a powerful thing.  It’s a relational thing.  More than anything else, it is a future changing thing.


A few special pictures from our evening together with John Lahutsky in Nashville, TN:


When technology works for you it is a special thing indeed.  At the very end of our dinner, Ruslan Asadov and 4 of the young ladies in our mentoring program from an orphanage in Novosibirsk, Russia, joined us via Skype to say hi and introduce themselves.  It was a wonderful way to put names and faces to the needs and opportunities John told us about.


It was my thrill to interview John Lahutsky as the main part of our special evening together in Nashville, TN.


Nearly every seat was taken as guests from Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, and Tennessee filled the banquet room at the Cool Springs Marriott just south of Nashville.


(L to R) YouthReach International’s Dathan Hammer, Board Member Wayne Tomlinson, former Board Member Pat Bennett, and current Board Chair Andy Vick gather just before the beginning of our event.


Finally, I am thrilled to say that this fundraising event did what we hoped it would do and even more.  It promoted John Lahutsky and his story which both are worthy of all the promotion they can get.  It helped YouthReach International tell our story in a clear and impactful way to a large crowd of which 60% were hearing about us for the first time.  Finally, it raised funds which will allow our ministry to grow in deep and dynamic ways this year and beyond.  I am thrilled to say that in that one evening via the gifts, pledges, and matched donations, God blessed our ministry with just over $40,000 in immediate funding.  He is the God of great provision and we are humbled and grateful to be entrusted with such resources. 


They do have a future if they do have a mentor.  Let us continue working to be sure they do have a mentor.


Humbly and gratefully yours,



P.S.  If you wanted to attend this event and be a part of advancing our mission forward but were unable to, please consider going to www.youthreach.org and making a one-time gift or pledge via our front page “Donate Now” button.  We will include any and all gifts given between now and the rest of the month of May in our grand total for this event. 



Rob Browne

Executive Director

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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