Why Us? Why Russia? Why Now?

Leaving our sons may be the hardest part of all of this.  But, we think it may be time to take our empty nest to another tree and see what God does with it.Leaving our sons may be the hardest part of all of this. But, we think it may be time to take our empty nest to another tree and see what God does with it.

(Originally posted before our move to Russia)

In view of the call God has placed on both of our lives for the plight of the Russian orphan teenagers, we offer the following for some perspective on what God seems to be doing in our lives, along with as much of the why, how, and when that we can currently understand.

As teenage orphans, released from the institutions to try to do life in the ?real world?, their statistical chances for survival, either spiritually or physically are not good. If they?re ?fortunate? enough to get into a trade school, then life in the dorm will likely introduce them to an exciting career in crime or prostitution.

Over the past five years we?ve shared the hope of the Gospel with thousands of these kids through programs in their orphanages. Hundreds have reached out to take hold of that hope by putting their trust in Christ as Savior, and many have been discipled through the Christian orphan camp programs. But, most have received very little exposure to what it means to walk with Christ. Even with the best discipleship programs, how well equipped will these kids be to face life outside the institutions?

When we hear them speak of their hopes and dreams,
knowing what we know of their chances for survival,
can we just wish them well and walk away?

So, what is it that we have to offer?

More specifically, what do we, a couple of middle-aged Western missionaries have to offer these teenagers? Well, really nothing. But, we do have some gifts we feel called to offer up to our Lord, and see what He might want to do in their lives through our gifts and our availability to Him.

1. Our ?middle-aged? maturity
2. 30 years of experience as a couple dealing with relational issues
3. Six years of experience working together, with Russian nationals
4. Solid relationships with Russian?s working with Children-at-risk
5. Shared vision with the Russian nationals for this new initiative
6. Accessibility to a Western network of resources
7. A call on our hearts to train and raise up missionaries from among these teens
8. Transferable gifts and skill sets for equipping Russian nationals
a. Ann in teaching, mentoring, and encouraging teachers
b. Robert in training nationals in using media tools in ministry
c. Practical life skills training for the teens in transition
9. An excitement about embracing their culture, learning their
language, and meeting them where they?re at
10. A burden of compassion for these kids who are falling through the cracks