Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27.
For the latest news, read the Mission 1:27 newsletter here.
Mission 1:27 is Christ Church's effort to live out James 1:27. A need was identified in Russia, and in late 2007, an exploratory team from Christ Church made the trip to Russia to find out how we could help. In 2007, Russia had an estimated 4 million orphans under the age of 17. Life expectancy for orphans is only 28-30 years. Of these 4 million children, 15% commit suicide within 2 years of leaving the orphanage. Fifty percent abuse drugs and alcohol. Sixty percent fall into prostitution or organized crime to survive. Why? Because these children grow up feeling alone and unworthy.
After much research and prayer, Christ Church decided to partner with Children's HopeChest to sponsor an orphanage of approximately 130 students in Slobodskoy, which is part of the Kirov Oblast (region) in Russia. This sponsorship is a commitment by our community to be in relationship with the students of the Slobodskoy Orphanage to provide long term, holistic, and redemptive care.
How does sponsorship work?
Our church sponsors the entire orphanage. This way, each child benefits from our care and no child is left out. The sponsorship money we send is put into a single pot, managed by Children's HopeChest, which is used for the entire orphanage. This year, our funds have gone toward updating and improving medical facilities at the orphanage, field trips to help the children learn about life in the real world, clothing and school supplies, sports equipment, craft supplies, and salaries and supplies for the two disciplers who work with the children on a weekly basis.
In addition to the monetary help, quarterly social events are held at CUMC where letters are written to every child and updates are passed along to sponsors. At the end of each year, graduating students receive a crash course in life skills (how to open a bank account and manage their money, how to use a telephone, basic safety rules, etc.) and several gifts, including a wool blanket, a teapot, and a casserole dish, which will help them as they leave the orphanage to start their lives alone in the world. Although Children's HopeChest does keep up with some students after graduation, for many, this is all the help they will receive. In the future, we hope to make further contact and add more significant life skills training for the orphans.
How can I get involved?
You can get involved in a number of different ways.
Sponsoring a Child
You can sponsor an individual child for $34 a month.
That money helps to provide for a better quality of life, for disciplers who visit the orphanage regularly to offer a Christian presence, and for the resources necessary to operate this ministry in Russia.
One of the most valuable gifts we can give these children is the hope provided by regular correspondence and intentional efforts to build relationships. We try to make sure every orphan receives a letter every 1-2 months. Children's HopeChest provides the translators and the delivery of the letters for us. All we have to do is write. You don't have to sponsor a child to write. You can join us at a letter writing party or write a note on your own and leave it at the church office. The more contact we can have with these children, the more hope we can give them.
Yearly Mission Trips
Each year we will send a delegation from Christ Church to Slobodskoy to visit our orphanage to strengthen our connection with these children. The trips take place in early spring and late fall each year. We are gone for about 10 days and each person is responsible for paying his/her own way. While we are there, we will spend about 6 days at the orphanage running a week of ministry (similar to a VBS) and demonstrating God's love for these precious children.
For more information, please contact or visit the website at http://mission127.org/.