My first trip with Hand in Hand took place three years ago, and I was to work in the Be——-ya orphanage. I knew that the children there were very special, and that it would be difficult, but I was not prepared for just how difficult it would be. The hardest thing for me was to look into their eyes and to see the despair, the loneliness, and to hear the words: “take me home with you.” I was shocked that a child who had known me for all of thirty minutes could be ready to call me “Mama.”
I know from my own personal experience that the feeling of loneliness can be incredibly suffocating, and children who live in orphanages not only feel loneliness, but actually live a life of loneliness. And so every child is a mystery: each one of them has their own personal problems, their own worries, and they need people in their lives to hold and comfort them… because doesn’t everyone deserve to know that they are loved and thought of?
After each trip I would return home with tears in my eyes. These children need so little to make them happy… they didn’t need to hear a lot of wise words, or to have our Christian doctrines explained in minute detail; they didn’t need amazing gifts… they just wanted a friend; a friend who could give them the gift of time, attention, and love. And thinking about this is when I realized how much they need God’s love. Only His love can heal the scars that life has written upon their hearts, only His love can help them come to understand that they are not alone, that they have a Heavenly Father who is not indifferent to them or to their pain.
Every Christian should do something in their life for God. Some simply come to church once a week, and consider this enough. Still others don’t limit themselves to only this—they may sing in the choir. But I’ve come to understand that for myself, this type of serving is not enough. For some, these children will continue to remain as images on photographs, or the characters in someone else’s testimony, but for myself—they are entire lives and fates who are in need of the healing love of God.
Time flies by incredibly quickly, and every year I see the graduates of these orphanages standing on the threshold of their own independent lives, and I want each one to know that it is impossible to live a real life without God. The world around us is becoming crueler with each day, and I must do everything in my power so that these children do not feel alone during life’s hardest moments; so that instead of pain, their eyes would be filled with joy.
I must give them hope in a future with Jesus.
–Natasha I., (Belarus)