Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reaching to Russia - Happy Generous Tuesday!

Happy Generous Tuesday!


If you are reading this then you survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  That is no small feat so congratulations!  Like you, in the lead up to those two days, a tidal wave of emails announcing deals, sales, and can't miss opportunities came my way.  After my "Occupy Best Buy" experience last year I looked at not a single one of these adds this year.  Better to not even know what I was missing.  Among the deluge though there was one that caught my attention.  It was announcing something called Generous Tuesday.  I was curious.  I jumped on their site (www.generoustuesday.com) and was hooked.  What a great opportunity to keep the core idea of this season alive and powerful.  Check the site out yourself and decide how you and your family might respond.  Whether that response is directed towards YouthReach International or not is entirely up to you.  Do respond though and keep the idea of generosity not only in mind but being practiced throughout the season in which we are fully entrenched.

A First Time Value Based-Giving Opportunity From YouthReach International


YouthReach International has entered into an agreement with an Atlanta based but worldwide reaching organization called Phoenix Community Coffee Company to offer you a value based giving opportunity.  Here is how it works.

YouthReach International is definitely a pro-coffee kind of organization.  Many of you have walked to your mailbox the last few years to find a bag or box of coffee from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, South Africa, or Zambia waiting for you.  It's been a joy of mine to share with many of you the tastes of coffee from the countries our work has taken me to.  Having vetted the quality of this company's coffee, we are now happy to give you a direct source to great coffee.  Even more than just good coffee though, you can now purchase something in partnership with YouthReach International that will bless those you buy it for, those who grow it, and YouthReach International as well.  For those used to the high quality coffee I've supplied you last few years, do not fear.  Phoenix Community Coffee Company produces an excellent bean.  Being a self-professed coffee snob, I do not write that previous sentence lightly. 

For every pound of coffee that you buy directly from Phoenix Community Coffee Company, YouthReach International will receive $3 and you or those you buy the coffee for will receive a YouthReach International branded bag of excellent coffee.  Ground or whole bean, caffeinated, decaffeinated, or half-caff, there are 8 different flavors to choose from.  Imagine every morning when you or those you present this gift to reach for a bag of coffee and see the YouthReach International logo and mission statement.  A thought, a prayer, a reminder of what God is doing through this ministry is sure to come to mind. 

Please visit http://www.youthreach.greatcoffeegreatcause.com to learn about the coffee and visit www.youthreach.org to learn about the cause. 

Thanksgiving...From A Different Perspective

The Thanksgiving holiday is truly a uniquely American experience.  Many of you know and love Ruslan Asadov who is visiting family and friends in the States during this season.  He recently sent out a note to some of his supporters and friends that speaks beautifully I believe to the heart of this season of gratefulness.  Some of you may have received this already but I will risk you reading it again simply because it is so very "spot on" in its heart and intent. 

You probably know that I'm a Russian guy who spends most of his time working in orphan's ministry in Siberia.  When I have a chance, I really enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving with my friends and family in America.  I think it is a very fine tradition when most of you go to be with parents and family to celebrate Thanksgiving together.  These gatherings keep your families united and remind every single person that there are so many reasons to be thankful to God.

As a part of preparations for the Thanksgiving table, we cook more than each person could possibly eat. We formally bless our food, eat, and watch football or play with kids.  Finally, we leave our homes and wait for Black Friday, another American Thanksgiving adventure.  So many of us are ready to spend hours in line outside and inside of malls just for buying more "useful" and cheap stuff that we might not need or ever use.  It is easy for us just to want things, and forget about thankfulness. 

I realized that I was tiring out after Thanksgiving this year as I was so close to just falling asleep.  I was extremely tired!  I realized that something important was missing.  During that "hard" day, I did not leave any space for simple things. I'm talking about reading, praying and saying thanks to our Heavenly Father.  Oops!

Well, I don't want to make you tired with the list of what I thankful to our God about, but here are two things about our ministry for which I'm thankful.

First, I'm thankful to my sister in Christ and YouthReach mentor, Lena, who is taking care of our ministry in Russia while I'm visiting in the USA.  Lena is a great person of faith whose mom has been fighting cancer for several months.  Last week was really hard for Lena and her mom due to a chemotherapy treatment which made her terribly sick.  Lena was in charge of preparing curriculum and training for our group of YouthReach mentors prior to a visit St. Nicholas orphanage last Saturday.  When I called her, Lena told me that she was tempted to quit all preparations and cancel her trip to the orphanage last Friday! I think everyone would understand since her mom is sick.  However, after she prayed, God provided her unexpected help.  Three other sisters from my church called Lena and offered her support in preparations and coordination.   Lena and the mentors had a great visit to St. Nicholas Orphanage after all. Lena's mom is feeling better, but still needs prayers.  I'm so thankful to Jesus for such a great family of committed and loving servants for Christ!

Lena with 2 young girls at St. Nicholas Orphanage.  Please pray for Lena's mom as she fights cancer and deals with
realities of chemotherapy.

Secondly, I'm thankful to Christ that our ministry is expanding to Belarus.  God blessed me with an opportunity to train local outreach ministers and volunteers in Belarus with Life Skills training for the orphans.  YouthReach created and has implemented Life Skills training in Russia for about 2 years.  Now, Daniel, Sergei, Kate and Masha, mentors in Bobruisk, Belarus go to the local orphanage regularly and teach older teenage orphans how to survive in real life after they will be released from their orphanage by age 16.  These 4 mentors will take every opportunity to establish strong relationships with orphans and ultimately, to disciple them through one to one mentoring visits.

 Danik, Masha and other mentors lead the first ever life skills training program at a partner orphanage in Bobruisk, Belarus

I'm thankful to you for your prayers and support of our ministry in Russia and Belarus. You are a major part of our mission team!

Thank you, Jesus, for a great reminder to be thankful not only one day a year, but every single moment with Him, Father and Holy Spirit!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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