The Story of Igor

Igor at Camp Joy, summer of 2000 Igor at Camp Joy, summer of 2000

The inspiration for our move to Russia

 

Summer 2008

 

We first met Igor at a summer orphan camp we called ?Camp Joy?, in the year 2000.  We saw him make a decision at camp to put his trust in Christ and follow Him.  After getting to know Igor over the course of a couple years, we began to see a bond forming, in spite of the language barrier, and the fact that we could see him so seldom.  His orphanage was over four hours away from Voronezh by car, so there was very little discipleship going on in his life.

 

Before long, as we made visits to the Voronezh region, we would ask about Igor, only to find that no one knew where he had gone upon graduation from the orphanage. 

 

Over time, Igor became the inspiration for our move to Russia.  After seeing his heart for Christ, then seeing him fall off the face of the earth after he graduated the orphanage, we became committed to the idea of developing some means of offering a support system to the many other ?Igors? we had met through the years.

 

After moving to Krasnodar and beginning language school, we would make trips to Voronezh to help with the post-orphanage ministry launched there in ?04.  We would often ask if anyone had seen or heard from Igor, but always with the same result.

 

On our first trip back to the states in the summer of 2006, we discovered a letter from Igor that had been mailed to us in Texas months earlier.  In that letter he spoke of how much he missed us and that he was going into the Russian army within months.  It was great to hear from him, but we grew even more skeptical that we?d ever be able to find him again.

 

Igor carries Anya across a bridge. A Russian wedding tradition. Igor carries Anya across a bridge. A Russian wedding tradition.

A year later, we had moved to Voronezh, and we received out of the blue, an email from him, once again trying to contact us.  I quickly replied and let him know we had moved to Voronezh, and gave him our phone numbers.  It wasn?t long before he called and came to our home for a visit.  We learned he had married Anya, a girl from the orphanage, and they lived with her mother and little brother, in a village about 70 kilometers from Voronezh. 

 

Igor and his brother-in-law tilling the soil at home in their village Igor and his brother-in-law tilling the soil at home in their village

What a blessed gift from God to reconnect with Igor after so many years and see that precious seed of faith, planted so many years ago, still clinging to life though sown among the thorns on rocky soil.  Please pray for Igor and Anya, as well as the many other Igors and Anyas out there, that they might be encouraged in their desire to walk with Christ, and that the seeds of faith sown in them by the Spirit would be able to put down roots and find the nourishment to grow and flourish, in spite of where they lie along the path.

 

Since getting a car, we?ve been able to drive out to the village and visit with Igor and Anya and take a gift for their baby boy who was born this April. 

 

Like so many orphans in Igor?s situation, the system was to provide him with a house when he left the orphanage and completed trade school, but the house they gave him was in a remote village where there were no jobs available.  Furthermore, the administrator for the village defrauded Igor and gave his house to a member of his (the village administrator?s) own family. 

 

Before coming to the states in June for visa renewal, we were able to set Igor up with an attorney in Voronezh who was willing to advise him on how to take up the fight for his rights within the system.  Please pray for Igor to find favor before the judges of the land, and for us to be able to find help and support for the many other Igors who need an advocate.