You Are NOT Alone!

One of our guys, Zhenya Minikov, created a logo for the clubOne of our guys, Zhenya Minikov, created a logo for the club

Spring 2007

 

In the fall of 2004, we saw God launch a new ministry to the post-orphanage kids of Voronezh, Russia.  The kids chose to name this ministry the 'You Are Not Alone Club', or in Russian, 'Kloob Tee Nee Adeen'.

 

We've been working in Russia for almost 12 years, actually living here now for over a year and a half, but it has been only in the past few weeks, after moving to Voronezh from Krasnodar, that I have begun to really embrace the name that the kids chose for their club 3 years ago.  Of course in English, the name 'You Are Not Alone' doesn't exactly roll off your tongue, as well as the Russian version of, 'Tee Nee Adeen'.

 

But I think the richness of meaning I've begun to experience is in part due to the fact that the Russian words themselves are taking on deeper meaning for us day by day, as this language becomes more a part of our lives here.

 

Larisa, our new teacher, teaching us in our new classroom (our kitchen).Larisa, our new teacher, teaching us in our new classroom (our kitchen).

Our classroom in Krasnodar has obviously been an important part of God's plan for us, and has given us a great foundation in the language and culture.  But, our new classroom in our kitchen at the transition center is bringing life to the language.  I know we all have different learning styles, but for me at least, language can only derive meaning from its use and context, and both of those are in abundance for us here in Voronezh.

 

A New Context

 

We didn't simply change our location moving to Voronezh.  We changed the context of our lives and learning, and that context has enriched my appreciation of the phrase 'tee nee adeen'.  We have our own apartment on the first floor of the transition center, so we are not enmeshed in the kids lives, nor them in ours, but the level of our interaction has radically increased, and as a result, our relationships are deepening.  This seems to be in part enabled by our deepening language skills, helping to deepen the confidence of the kids in engaging us in meaningful conversation.  Certainly this is a direct answer to the prayers of so many, and no small miracle.  Though we do take this as a great encouragement, there's no question that we still have a long road ahead in the process of language acquisition, so please keep those prayers rising.  I know there are many times that the kids must give up in frustration over not being able to get through to us what they are trying to say.  But the very fact that they are trying is taking us so much deeper already than we thought we could be by now.

 

Meaning Derived from Life

 

Any of you who have spent some time here in Russia, perhaps working with us in the orphanages, or in some other capacity, have likely come away with an idea of the meaning of the word 'adeen'.  It is the first in the system of numbers.  To most of us it  simply means 'one'.  Thus, I first assumed the phrase 'tee nee adeen' to be a rather simplistic phrase more technically meaning 'you not one' from which they derived the meaning 'you are not alone'.  But, living with the language, use and context over the course of time, has given me a more true understanding of the meaning of the phrase.

 

Though the word, 'adeen' is used for the number one, it is also the word used to express a state of being alone.  Just yesterday morning, I went to the third floor hoping to talk with Vitaly who had spent the night here.  As I arrived on the third floor, I called out his name only to hear Maxim reply from the next room, 'Ya adeen!'  Meaning, 'I am here alone.'  Or, 'It's just me.'  To which I immediately retorted, 'Tee nee adeen!'  He laughed and agreed, 'Ya NEE adeen, and informed me that Vitaly had already left.

 

A simple and brief conversation, but one that perhaps helps give you a sense of what I mean by life and context giving meaning to this 'foreign' tongue that we are trying to acquire.

 

Meaning Derived from Lives Transformed

 

But to an even greater extent, the richness of the phrase, 'tee nee adeen' has deepend as we've seen the lives of these kids being transformed before our very eyes.  Indisputable evidence that they are truly NOT alone!

 

Several of the new kids have put their faith and trust in Christ over the past several months.  And as a result, as promised, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the one Christ was referring to in John 14, when He told His disciples that He would not leave them as orphans, has come to indwell these kids and empower them with a redemptive, transforming power.  Power, that as John proclaims in the first chapter of his gospel, empowers them to live as children of God.  They are NOT ALONE!  They are in a family with an ever-present Father! 

 

John 14:18

"I will not leave you as orphans"


The Kids Then & Now Photos