When we go on a summer mission trip we think that we are going to bring, to share, to teach. The truth is, we are the ones who learn, who get blessed, who receive. Tolik, the leader of our ministry, once told us once that in Heaven there would be no tears, and therefore, no orphans. But there would also be no more chances to serve or witness. This short 50 – 60 years of adulthood is all that we have to make a difference.
I will never forget a boy I met named Kirill. At first, I thought this boy seemed to be scared, his eyes were always so sad and empty. But very shortly Kirill was following me everywhere I went. He had no one else to follow. Surprisingly, Kirill had a large family but all of his seven siblings had different fathers. Teachers at the orphanage told us that when he was taken into the orphanage Kirill was always hiding, playing and eating under the desk. He seemed to be afraid of something. The numerous scars on his body told me without a doubt that he had been badly abused.
In his nine years of life Kirill learned things that children should never be exposed to.
Regardless of the pain he went through early in life, his favorite thing to do was to make a craft and give it to someone. Whenever he gave someone a gift his eyes would light up—he had such a joy in sharing. Just think about it: a little boy who had just one box of belongings seemed to be willing to sacrifice it all for a little bit of love and attention.
It did not take long for Kirill to start sharing with me things he had never shared with anyone. However, I was still shocked when he began calling me “PAPA”… Kirill never knew his real biological father. But Kirill got to know the Heavenly Father who would never leave, forsake, or hurt him. Kirill’s prayers to his Heavenly Father were simple, but so sincere.
One day I was walking down a hall in the orphanage and an older girl ran to me and said to me: “thank you for loving my younger brother, my Kirill.” And than this girl told me Kirill’s life story. This sad story makes me tremble to this day. I knew that I would never forget this boy who had gone through so much, but yet remained so loving, giving and caring.
There is a card Kirill had made for me that I pinned over my bed when I returned home to the States. On this slip of paper, this treasure, he had tried to express his gratitude and love towards our team. This card reminds me to pray, but also to do something for the many other children like Kirill. Sometimes I worry and I wonder if somebody back there is showing love to the children we left behind; I wonder if they still pray at night, if they read their Bibles. But I know one thing for sure:God is calling us to do whatever we can here and now, reaching out to one orphan at a time.
Kirill, thank you for your big heart, for your willingness to get out of that vicious cycle. For learning to trust again and falling into the Loving Arms of your Heavenly Father.