An orphan's life

 You Are Unique!!

 

Friday. The long awaited lesson with class number 5 at the local vocational college has finally arrived. (This is a group with many orphanage graduates in it. Local vocational schools are usually the only choice an orphanage graduate has upon finishing 9th grade and leaving the orphanage.) The students were glad to be there. They happily took part in the discussion during the lesson, were involved and interested, and the time just flew by. After the lesson, we hung out for a little while, then everyone raced off to enjoy the break before their next class. Lyuda was the only one who stayed behind, she wanted to spend a little more time with me.

 Lyuda is an open, tenderhearted girl, very sensitive and easily hurt. She asked very politely how I was doing personally, and despite her shyness and discomfort, struck up a conversation with me.

 Lyuda began by telling me how alone she felt since her friend Sasha hadn't been around. She'd really been missing Sasha, who'd been sick and hadn't come to school for 2 weeks already. Every day without Sasha was a real trial for Lyuda, and she was very lonely and anxious. "You understand," she said, "It's like I'm an outsider in my own class. The main thing everyone else is interested in is 'just having fun' - alcohol, parties, boyfriends and girlfriends... and all of that just doesn't interest me." Tears started streaming down her face. I could hear the self-accusation and shame in her voice... she couldn't figure out why none of her peers wanted to hang out with her, why she was always the odd one out. I could tell that this was something that was a constant torment for the poor girl. She was completely at a loss as to what to do. She didn't want to change and adopt the morals of her peers, but at the same time, to hang on to her convictions all on her own was a real challenge. It would take a lot of determination, and would cause her a lot of anxiety... but it's so important to be able to stand up for what you believe, especially at her age.

I just listened as Lyuda poured out everything she had on her heart, and comforted her as best I could.

          "Yes, I understand, Lyuda. This is a hard time for you. Your peers' treatment of you is making you feel lonely and rejected. It won't always be like this. You are trying to live according to God's Word, and I have no doubt that God will turn your sorrow into joy. Believe it - you are precious in God's eyes!  One more thing: the Lord made each one of us an unique individual, unlike anyone else - and He did this on purpose. Stay just like you are. That's what makes you who you are, what makes you special. It's also what makes you strong. You are wonderful, you're doing a great job living by your convictions, and I'm proud of you. You are exceptional, wonderful, and unique!"

 Her tears dried up, and she gave me a big smile. Her eyes shone with joy and confidence.

 The time had sped by as we talked, and the bell was already ringing for her next class. Lyuda quickly thanked me for talking and ran on to class. I wanted to yell after her "Hang in there, girl! You'll find your way to happiness soon, just hold on to what makes you so unique!"

 

An Agape Teacher

 

 

An orphan's life

 “Do you yourself even believe what you’re saying?” Sergei asked, still laughing.       

“Of course I believe what I said. The Lord has given you all a lot of talent, I know that each one of you can have a great life,” I answered.

“Well, that’s all the future I see for me,” said Sergei, pointing at the bars on the ground-floor window, “a life behind bars.”

 

As I watched the video about the plight of Ukrainian orphans, my eyes filled with tears as I began to see how great their need is - and began to understand that God wanted to use me to serve them...

 

 

Soon Agape Ministries will celebrate it's 10th anniversary.  In some ways it seems like a long time, in others, not long at all. When we stop to consider -  the tears and laughter, the heights of joy and depths of despair...it's by God’s grace we have learned and grown through it all.

 

When she first came to live with us in Agape's Adaptation Center,  it seemed that she would never ever open up to anyone again, never speak of the pain in her heart...

My name is Sergey. I am in third grade. I believe in God because He is my Heavenly Father. I was abandoned by my parents and now I live at an orphanage. I am very fascinated with all topics about God. I enjoy reading Bible stories and learning more about Jesus’ life on earth. I pray and read the Bible regularly. I am glad my Savior is always near. I feel His protection.