Summer's officially here, which leads to the inevitable question of, "So, what should we do?" As you begin to see the days get longer, kids leave for summer camp and families go on vacation, you might be wondering what is happening with our new friends in Slobodskoy and what the summer plans are for Mission 1:27. Here's an update on both:
Summer at Slobodskoy Orphanage - The kids in Slobodskoy got out of school in early June. Mission 1:27 was thankful to have some representation at the "graduation" pre-ceremony event in mid-May where we offered graduation gifts of blankets, towels and pillows to the graduating orphans.
Some of the graduates with their towels, pillows and blankets
The graduating kids stay with the orphanage through the summer until they head to Tech School in early Fall. There is a sense of comfort, stability and sanctuary these kids feel at the orphanage - and this summer represents one last chance to experience "home" before heading off to the unknown territory of Tech School in a new city.
As for the summer plans, the kids are able to head to a summer camp for the months of June and August. Again, the goal is to let these kids experience a "normal" summer as best as possible. Although we don't know much about the camp, we know the kids are VERY EXCITED about their time there. In speaking with the caregivers, we understand that this is an important time for the kids to be outside in nature (the camp is outside of town) and everyone talked about the "fresh air" they would be enjoying. We look forward to hearing stories and seeing pictures from the kids' camp experience when we return. During the month of July, the kids return to the orphanage for a month - filled with the usual activities of working around the property and playing. There is no school, which means the kids get to sleep in until about 8:00 a.m. or so.
Some of our friends on one of the last days of school
On the surface, the summer at the orphanage may seem a lot like our summers here...filled with camps, daily chores and relaxing. But it doesn't take long to remember that life at the orphanage is nothing like our life here. These kids still go to sleep without being tucked in by a parent, still wake up in a room with six other orphans and still crave the love, attention and affection that our kids get on a daily basis. Please continue to pray for these blessed children of God as they transition from school to summer and deal with the many challenges that life has thrown at them.
Mission 1:27 Summer Plans - Things continue to hum along for our ministry to these children in Slobodskoy. Here are some of the latest happenings:
- Future Travel - We are in the throes of planning our next few trips to Russia - the first one in October 2010, and subsequent visits in April 2011 and July 2011. Would you be interested in joining any of these trips? If so, review our Travel Brochure and contact us with any questions. We also welcome any ideas, thoughts and recommendations for activities that we can do with the kids while there. You can reach us through our Contact Us page.
- Sponsorship - Sponsorship of the children in Slobodskoy continues to be a top priority for Mission 1:27. A fully sponsored orphanage provides a unique opportunity for us to serve these children not only through our letters and prayers but with additional on-site support of disciplers and staff. We are very close to being fully sponsored but we still need your help. If you have any interest in sponsoring a child or know someone who does, please send them to our Sponsorship page or have them contact us with questions. As the summer winds down and the kids come back to school, we will use this blog to provide some sponsorship updates.
- Ministry Center in Kirov - As posted earlier, Mission 1:27 is engaged with Children's HopeChest and some other churches supporting Kirov orphanages to explore the possibility of building a Ministry Center in Kirov. This center would serve as a central gathering place for graduating orphans - a sort of sanctuary for them in the midst of their new lives outside the confines of their orphanage home. Mission 1:27 just met with Children's HopeChest this week for an update; the process is continuing as buildings are being evaluated and budgets are being put together for staffing and program development. Look for more information in the months to come as God continues to share His vision for Kirov and our role in developing a Ministry Center.
- Upcoming Events - We have a number of fun and important events scheduled for Mission 1:27 throughout the rest of the year. Look for more details on those activities in separate postings and announcements. In addition, it is likely that members of the Children's HopeChest team will come visit us in Chapel Hill in part to share their experiences in Russia and the other 8 countries where they work as well as to help shape the vision for where Mission 1:27 might go. Children's HopeChest is filled with amazing people (click HERE for their staff bios) with a heart for God and we will definitely throw a big function when they are in town. Stay tuned for more details.
- Praying for and Writing to the Children - The most important thing we can do for the children in Slobodskoy over the summer is to pray for them and write to them. These kids need love, hope and affirmation - all of which can be provided through our prayers and letters. It is easy to write to your sponsored child - just click HERE. Your letters don't need to be long - just filled with love and support. And prayers can be short, too :-) But these kids need to know that we are here for them and that God loves them and cherishes them. So take a moment today to jot off a letter or send up a prayer.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support of Mission 1:27. If you know of someone who might want to learn more about the great things happening in Russia, have them subscribe to this blog! We will be providing regular updates throughout the summer as we prepare for a new school year in Slobodskoy and our next visit to Russia.