Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reaching to Russia - "I see gifts that were given but..."

A few months ago I got to sit with a young lady named Katya.  She lives in one of the orphanages that our Mentors work in bringing hope, life skills training, and tangible examples of God’s unconditional love.  I was asking Katya about her life in the orphanage.  We’ve known each other for years so she is pretty comfortable talking with me. 


“What do you see most of around here,” I asked.


“Friends…friends who are sometimes sad, sometimes happy,” she answered.


“Which one are you?  Sad or happy?” 


“Oh, I’m one of the happy ones.  You know that!”  She’s right.  She is one of the happy ones.  You can tell that God has truly marked this young lady for some great things to come in the future.  She has hope, real hope, beyond the life she has seen so much of in the orphanage.


A bit later I asked her another question to which she surprised me with her answer.  “What things have you seen too much around here in your life?  Things that you don’t like.”  I was thinking of fighting or gossip or what have you not in the sense of see with your eyes but more of what do you experience on a regular basis.


My Russian failed me in this case but it ended up being a good thing.  She heard it literally and answered, “I see a lot of gifts that have been given but no one who has given them.” 


I pressed her for clarification.  She said, “when someone brings you blankets or books or toys or games it’s nice but too often they are brought and left with the director or the guard and we never know the people behind the gifts.”  I had to ask her if that applied to YouthReach International Mentors as well.  She laughed and said, “no, of course not.  You all come even when you don’t have gifts to give.” 


“Is that ok to come without a gift,” I asked. 


“Yes,” she said.  “But when they come they are the gift.  That’s absolutely better than a toy or a book or a dress.”


Yes, Katya it is better and thank you for reminding me of such a truth. 


Though the gift is nice the giver is nicest of all.


Thank you for helping us make a difference in Katya’s life as well as the lives of nearly 1000 young people in insitutional care in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus not by what we give but by who we are. 


We appreciate you very much,

Rob, Traci, Benjamin, Nate, Aidan and Anna


Rob Browne

Executive Director

678-935-0220 ext. 103

404-518-5646 Cell

678-935-9674 Fax

          1911 Grayson Hwy, Ste 8-344

          Grayson, GA 30017





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