Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We send you spring Easter greetings from Belarus. We thank God for you, for all your prayers and donations, especially at this difficult time. It means a lot to us. We pray special blessings on you, your families and your lives. Here is an update of what has been happening in our lives and ministry.
Despite all the pressure of the authorities, which, of course, adds extra troubles and takes extra time, we are doing well. God is good and He makes us lie down in green pastures. We learn to depend on Him more and to share His word and love as much as we can till there is a way.
February 14th, Valentine’s day, which is new in our country, but already popular, we invited and provided transportation to a class of kids from Stankovo orphanage to come to our church for a big youth group, with a concert, food, good message and old and new friends. All of the kids were touched as well as the counselor who came with them. This kind of youth groups take place once a month and the kids really wanted to be back. It’s great when they can see other teenagers who dedicated their lives to Jesus and that life can be good without smoking, drugs, etc.
February 23rd is a men’s holiday and March 8th is a women’s day, on which we took part in special programs arranged by orphans. Of course, we shared a word and gave gifts (sweet gifts), as a part of tradition here in this country. Everyone was happy. We came as a whole family, including both my kids. Thomas, who will be 5 soon, is becoming friends with younger kids and Stephanie (10 months) is loved by everyone. Many older girls like to hold her and play with her. It’s almost unusual for them to be able to hold a baby, but it makes them smile and they learn family life too.
We continue our cooking classes at Slutsk, and kids like it and learn a lot from them too. As we provided them with the kitchen and started classes, the orphanage then took the initiative in letting kids cook during the week, in small groups by two or three, instead of eating in a cafeteria. That’s also great and we are proud of starting it all up. Also Slutsk orphanage has such a location, that it has a bad transportation system, and no vehicle of their own, therefore we are often asked to help them transport kids to Minsk and back. So our ministry there is providing transportation for orphans.
The end of March is a spring break and we wanted the kids, who didn’t go with any relatives and remained in the orphanage to have something special, so we did a few things with crafts. We made crosses, as it’s around Easter time, so we talked to them about Easter. Those were young kids, new to the orphanages and when we asked them about Easter, only one girl tried to answer what was Easter, but she failed. They do not know. And we came to tell them. They need to know.
Also, we took a group of remaining orphans to McDonald’s for a special treat. We get fries, hamburgers, drinks and ice-cream there; and for them, it’s a great treat even just to get out of the orphanage.
We as a family also take children from the orphanages for vacations. This spring Igor stayed with us. It was sad, that his twin brother Victor was not allowed to come because of his bad marks. But during his stay, Igor went to see his birth mother and other siblings, who live about 80 miles away. It was the first time in 5 years that he saw them, and it happened because of his (not theirs) initiative. It’s exciting for him, but it makes me cry to see how they long to have a family, but the family doesn’t want them.
Another story is of Alla, who is a post orphan and became a real believer and she comes to our home group. About a month ago, she asked us to pray for her mom, as she wanted to invite her to church. We prayed with our home group and the next Sunday her mom came to Christ and her sister too. It really gives me joy to see how the hearts of those orphans open to their parents, even though they abandoned them years ago and never visited. We want to encourage them to continue doing that. It’s only through Jesus that they can be united again.
Now we are busy with Easter programs. It’s a great time to come to them and tell why Jesus died and that He is risen. We plan a concert in the orphanage, also a visit to family children’s home, (get them chickens), and an Easter party with post orphans. We ask your prayers for that.
As summer is coming soon, we have an opportunity to send 126 kids from foster families, poor families, etc. to a Christian camp in Latvia. It’s the third year that we are invited. Everything is paid for, but each child needs to get health insurance and cover some expenses (to prepare for visa, etc.) which are $20. Many of those who go can’t pay themselves, so we are asking you to help send a child to a great Christian camp for $20 and your prayers for this camp and for kids, for God’s power to be there.
That’s all for now, please keep us in your prayers.
With love in Christ,
Olga Goncharenko and the Spring of Revival Staff