Consider a year-end gift to faithful orphan ministry in Belarus

If you are among those of us who are considering year-end giving today, please prayerfully consider a gift to help the orphan ministry of our church partner in Belarus.  Belarus is a former Soviet Union country.  It is a “republic” in name, but its president has authority approaching that of a dictator.  
     Volunteers from the church in Belarus are dedicated to helping orphans in four different facilities, including one home for children with developmental impairments.  Many of the orphans are adults with disabilities.
     Teams of 10 to 17 from the church spend almost every Saturday visiting with the orphans.  Here is a brief report from our contact in Belarus:
     “When we go to the orphanages, we divide in several groups. One of the groups makes a concert-playing program and gathers about 100-200 kids.  Some go to the kids who cannot walk, carry them in their arms, sing, pray. Some people go to the kids who move in wheelchairs, make puppet shows, and sing. One more group draws with those who cannot be in the assembly hall. So all the kids are busy.  When somebody blesses us with finances we buy soap bubbles, toys, soap, pencils, paper. We make chocolate presents for Christmas. Our church is not big, about 30-40 constant members and the same amount of kids. People from our church are very good.  God opens their hearts to help. I think some of them give half of their salary. Nobody cares about kids we come to… only God working through our volunteers. Children are very glad to see us and wait for us every month. They feel that somebody needs them and then somebody needs them.”
     If you would like to bless this ministry with a gift, please designate that your gift is for Belarus ministry.  100% of your gift will go to Belarus to bless this faithful orphan ministry.  You can donate online using your credit card, or donate by mail sending your check to the address listed below.

     God bless you for your heart for orphans!  We wish you a New Year full of blessings and love!


Volunteer from church in Belarus brings ice cream to orphan

Another beautiful tribute to Reece's Rainbow

    Just recently, I wrote about the Washington Post's article about a Maryland family who adopted two Down syndrome children through Reece's Rainbow.
    A few days later, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer aired a touching tribute to Reece's Rainbow and a family in Utah who have adopted a Down syndrome child from Ukraine.
     You can read more about Reece's Rainbow and how this charity/ministry got started through the birth of Reece.  Yes, Reece is real!  The son of Andrea Roberts, founder of Reece's Rainbow.  
     Learn more about Reece's Rainbow.

Big Family Mission helps older disabled orphans in Belarus


The disappointment of not getting selected...

     Today I got up "bright and early" to head out for jury duty.  I was among the first of the 80 or so prospective jurors to arrive at the courthouse.  I completed the questionnaire, confident that I would be selected to serve on a jury... something I've never done.  After three hours of orientation and screening by opposing attorneys, the 12 jurors and two alternates were selected... and I wasn't one of them.  Part of me was relieved that I was free to go, but part of me wondered:  why was I not selected?
     As I drove home, my thoughts turned to children in orphanages in Russia and around the world.  The children who see families come and select other children, but never get selected for foster homes or adoption themselves.  Thank God for our volunteers and ministers who visit these "not selected" children on a regular basis.  Thank God that these children can be adopted into God's eternal family through the precious gift of His only son, Jesus, the Messiah!

Thank you, volunteers, for visiting the children who have not yet been "selected"

Igor Klishchenko: "I will bring the Father's love to his orphan children"

     Yesterday, I wrote about Katya, a Russian orphan who thought she was going to be adopted in Russia, and then, at the last minute, her new mother-to-be refused to take her into the family.
     Katya's story about her father's death, her mother's "hard drinking", and her almost being adopted was shared with us by Igor Klishchenko, a minister to Russian orphans.
     Igor Klishchenko and his family are the only family that many orphans in the Kaluga region of Russia will ever know.  God has called Igor and his family to be the Light and Love of Jesus for some very special children.  You can see a lot of Igor's photos and listen to at least one of his songs (in video) on Facebook.  
     Last year, Igor and his family were having a very difficult time financially.  Then, a very generous gift from a family in America provided support for several months of living expenses.  Big Family Mission is seeking those who wish to sow into Igor's ministry on a regular basis.  We have a few partners for this ministry, but we need many more to continue this important work.  Please take a few minutes and read more about Igor's calling, his family, and how you can contribute to Igor's ministry through Big Family Mission.  100% of funds donated to Big Family Mission for Igor's ministry go to Igor and his family.

Igor Klishchenko with his family

What is sadder than not getting adopted?

Igor Klishchenko, who ministers to Russian orphans, recently told us about Katya, a 13-year-old orphan whom he met in an orphan camp during the summer of 2010.
During a recent orphanage visit, he had the opportunity to talk with Katya and catch up on what is going on in her life.
Igor relates “She eagerly started telling me everything what happened to her during that year and a half while we hadn`t seen each other.  Katya told me that this year her father died because of some illness that her mother continued to drink hard.  Her mother had her both arms and one leg broken and how it happened.  She also told me that a girl from the orphanage drank beer and jumped from the third floor late at night but survived having her hipbone broken.  She told me emotionally that the orphanage changed five directors this year. The first one was fired for hard drinking.  She told that she won the first prize in English language contest among all seventh grade classes of her school (she studies at a state general school at the town). 
“The most painful experience that Katya told me about was a failure with a foster mother. Katya wanted so much to live in a foster family. A woman came to meet Katya and to take her to her foster family.    “Katya liked this woman very much, and later she was told to pack her belongings and move to her foster mother. But when she was packed and ready, Katya was told that that woman wouldn`t take her. It was an awful moment for Katya. It turned out that at the last moment the woman learned about Katya`s predisposition to tuberculosis and worried for her own daughter who could be expelled from the university for the contact with Katya… which is, of course, nonsense.” 
What is worse than not getting adopted?  To think that you are being adopted, and then suddenly find that you are not going to be.
Please keep Katya and Igor’s ministry to orphans in your prayers!

Katya, on right, with Vika at summer orphan camp

"Why was I so afraid?"

     "Why was I so afraid?"  The words of Nina Clark, wife of Jon, and mother of six, including two adopted girls with Down syndrome.
     The Washington Post recently published the amazing journey of the Clark family and their heart for adoption.  The article points out that the Clarks see adoption as a "divine calling" and briefly mentions the growing movement of churches in America to focus on caring for an ministering to orphans.
     It is wonderful to read some "good news" in the Washington Post!
Katerina, orphan from Latvia with visual impairment, was adopted  by another large  family in America.

Christmas at the orphanage: see the joy and excitement

If you haven't seen this video of a Big Family Mission Christmas celebration in a Russian orphanage, take a few minutes and enjoy the happiness and excitement with the children as they receive their gifts.
Our thanks to Larry and Jennifer Orndorff, missionaries from America, who helped distribute the gifts and made the video!
Video: Christmas at the orphanage.
Joy to the world in a Russian orphanage

88 million dollars for a future "cinder"

     When I read about Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev buying an $88 million apartment in New York City for his daughter, Ekaterina Rybolovleva, who is studying in the U.S., I must admit that my stomach did a major flip.  Read the story and see the video here.
     My human nature immediately thought of all that $88 million could do for the orphans of Russia, and for orphans around the world.  But then, I remembered the words of Jesus.  Where is my treasure?  What is the future of all mankind?  What is the future of an $88 million apartment at Central Park in New York?  According to 2 Peter 2:10, the future of the apartment as well as all earthly "treasures":  cinders, nothingness.
2 Peter 2:10:  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 
     I had to remind myself:  where is my treasure?

Real "treasure": ministering to the kids at a Russian orphanage

Strong words from God's word about caring for orphans and widows

     One of my favorite verses in the Bible that deals with caring for orphans:  Deuteronomy 24:19.  It's a command with a promise for blessing for all those who obey God's commandment to give a portion of our income to help orphans and widows.
    But, we find even stronger words in  Exodus 22:  22-24:

22 “You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; 24 and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless." 

     Is ignoring the plight of orphans afflicting them?  I don't think we want to find out.

Big Family Mission volunteers play games with children at orphanage.

How much does adoption cost?

     A 2011 survey conducted by Adoptive Families Magazine indicates that adopting from foster care in the United States is by far the least expensive route for U.S. families considering adoption.  Their survey indicates "less than $5,000" ... but in many cases, the cost will be much less than that, depending upon your state of residence.  View survey results here.
     Our suggestion is that families interested in adoption should be aware of costs, but not include the cost as a factor in making decisions about how, when, where, and why to adopt.  Let God lead you in the direction He has planned for you and your family, and the finances will follow.
     For state adoption and foster care information, check out this website.

Russian orphans can be adopted in Russia with very little cost.  Big Family Mission
helps this family with some of their expenses.

The real number of orphans: almost 5 billion

     How many orphans are there in the world?  It all depends on how we define "orphan".  Based on God's definition, everyone who has not repented of their sins and believed in His only son as their savior is an "orphan".  They have not been adopted into the eternal family of God.
     There are about 7 billion people living on our planet.  It's estimated that a little over 2 billion of us profess to be Christians.
     So how many orphans are there?  Almost 5 billion.
     As we approach this time of celebration of the birth of Christ, let us pray that millions and billions more of our fellow citizens on earth will recognize the amazing Gift that God gave to the world when He came to us as a little baby destined to be the savior of the world!

These older orphans in Belarus have disabilities from the world's perspective, but from God's perspective, they are adopted into His dear family and are no longer orphans!

Exciting news about Russian adoptions on the fast-track

A lot of negative publicity about adoption of Russian orphans has generated a rumor that foreigners (for example USA residents) can no longer adopt from Russia.
This is CURRENTLY not the case.  We emphasize currently simply because things can change so quickly within Russia.
Christian World Adoption reports on their website:  "We are very excited about the current situation with our Russia program!! have recently been receiving referrals of infants within a very short period of time (days or weeks) after a family is registered in a region!  Therefore we are recruiting additional families as referrals are becoming available at a steady pace!"
We continue to encourage adoption of Russian orphans both in Russia and outside of Russia.
Thank you, Lord, for opening more doors for these children to find forever families!

Girls enjoy craft items donated by American family.  Pray for more Russian orphans to be adopted.

Adventure of a lifetime: volunteer to help in India orphanage

For Hannah Scott, living with, ministering to, and loving the children at the New Hope for Children Orphanage in Bangalore, India, for six months was a life-changing experience.
Pastor George Fernandes, leader of the orphanage and Helping Hands India, welcomes Christian volunteers who wish to help.  Some have helped for short periods of time (two weeks or so).  Others, like Hannah, have stayed for longer periods.
What's it like?  Thanks to a video that Hannah put together, you can get a definite impression of what it is like to serve in an orphanage in India.  You can view Hannah's video here.
If you cannot go to India and would like to help with this ministry to orphans, you can find more information here.

Big smiles from two of the children at New Hope for Children Orphanage

India's deadly secret: millions of girls who disappear

ABC News and Yahoo are doing a video news series about the girls of India who are aborted or turned out on the streets just because they are girls:  India's Deadly Secret .
What can we do about it?  Some of these girls are rescued and brought into a loving Christian environment at the New Hope for Children Home in Bangalore, India.
Consider donating to help New Hope for Children or sponsoring one of the children there.  Learn more about New Hope for Children and meet some of the children, including many girls, who have been rescued.

Children at New Hope for Children orphanage praying

Question: why don't people give to help orphans?

A Russian friend of ours who lives in the United States is writing a paper about orphan ministries and charities who help Russian orphans.   As a part of her paper she must identify a list of reasons why people do NOT support orphan ministries when they know of the need.  She asked us to help with making the list.
Wow!  When she asked for our viewpoint on "reasons", I suddenly realized that I don't really know why.
Some of my guesses:
  • The problem is too big.  I think some people convince themselves that there is no reason to get involved because nothing they do is going to change anything.
  • Indifference.  This may be the biggest reason.  I think many people have a built-in "switch" that they turn off when they start hearing about the problems of other people and the need for funds to help them.  I've noticed that people like to hear more about Russia and even the work we are doing, but the minute that we point out how they can help, they turn their "switch" and that's the end of the conversation.
  • Mistrust of charities in general.  Unfortunately, there are many horror stories of how ministries and charities have misused funds.
What do you think?  Maybe someone out there is aware of a study that has been done about why people give and why they don't give?  Please share your thoughts!

You can help Russian orphans by helping our volunteers in Russia who minister to orphans in orphanages run by the government.

Donations pay for field trips for orphans

Interest-free loans for adoption

The Abba Fund provides interest-free loans to Christian couples who wish to adopt but who need help with the finances.
In the words of Abba Fund: "We believe that the best environment for the raising and training of children is in a godly home with a father and mother. ABBA Fund provides interest-free covenant loans to Christian couples who are called by God to expand their families through adoption and who need help with the “cash flow crunch” posed by adoption expenses."
To learn more, visit Abba's website.
Some orphans will never be adopted into families. 
To learn how you can help these orphans, click here.
Church volunteer with children at Russian orphanage

God's plan: that we all be adopted

Unfortunately, there are many orphans today who do not know they are orphans.  They try to navigate through life without ever being adopted as God's children, according to God's perfect plan for their lives.
Tragic.  Tragic to surrounded by God's love and to reject becoming his son or daughter.

Read God's plan in Ephesians 1:5:  "For He planned in love for us to be adopted as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will."
We pray that every orphan (and we are all orphans without God) will come into His family!
Help a Russian orphan living in a government-run orphanage learn about God.
These children in Russian orphanage are part of God's Big Family


Ten ways to help orphans in 2012

Ten ways you can help orphans and children at risk in 2012:
You will be greatly blessed for getting involved!

Orphans in Russia write letters to sponsors

How to be "like a spring whose waters never fail"

God's word is packed with beautiful promises.  Consider the exciting message of Isaiah 58:10-11:

10 and if you give yourselves in behalf of the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
   and your gloom will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you continually;
   he will satisfy your needs in scorched places,
   and will strengthen your bones.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
  and like a spring whose waters never fail. 

Does your church have an orphan ministry?  If not, consider starting one.  It's a way of "giving yourself" to satisfy the needs of the oppressed children of the world.

Find a guide to resources on starting an orphan ministry in your church here.

Russian orphans enjoy craft items sent from America

Don't be overwhelmed by the numbers...

When we read about 143 million or 150 million orphans in the world, it is very easy to become overwhelmed with the size of the problem... to give up before we start... to do nothing.
So... we encourage you to focus on helping one child.  Help one child get into a family.  If you cannot adopt a child, you can help someone else adopt.  You can help encourage and support ministries who work with orphans who will never get adopted but who can be a part of God's eternal family!
One child at a time.  You will be blessed and a child will be blessed.

Russian orphan who may never get adopted still needs hugs and love!

Praise God: a new kind of "orphan factory"

     "The Orphan Factory", an article written by Boris Altshuler, chairman of the board of Right of the Child, a regional NGO in Russia, was recently published on Russia Beyond the Headlines.
     He points out some of the tragic realities of the care system for orphans and children at risk in Russia:

  • 100,000 new orphans every year despite a steady and sharp decrease in the number of school-age children in Russia;
  • top-level government develops initiatives to make the system better for children but nothing happens at the local level;
  • it is far too easy for parents to deal with drug and alcohol addiction and poverty by bringing their unwanted children to the "orphan factory";
  • thousands of bright and healthy children labeled as "mentally handicapped" and forced into special schools that are not really schools at all... their lives buried in the system forever.     
  • The Russian government has been trying to solve the "orphan factory" problem for many years, and it seems that little or no progress is made.
Celebrating Christmas in a Russian orphanage
      But now, Praise God, we are seeing the dawn on a new initiative for orphans.  The church in Russia is awakening to the needs of orphans and God's commands to care for orphans.  God's heart for orphans is being preached from pulpits all across Russia.  Over 1,000 churches participated in Orphan Sunday.  All across Russia, Christian families are praying about bringing orphans into their families.  Orphan ministries are being set up in many churches.  More and more children are being adopted.
     When President Medvedev gave his annual "state of the union" address in late 2010, he declared that there should "be no orphans in Russia".  Through the power of God and the obedience of His people, Russia with No Orphans can become a reality.  With man, it is impossible.  But, with God, all things are possible!
     Consider helping the church and the Russia with No Orphans Alliance.  Pray for Russia with No Orphans.  If you would like to plant into this special project, you can learn more and contribute by visiting the Big Family Mission website here.