Making the Impossible Possible
When Trips with a Mission first went to Belarus, it seemed that God closed the door immediately. The government did not allow privately owned and operated children’s homes, orphanages or schools.
Then we were told about a couple who had expressed interest in helping orphaned children. Through a series of miracles, what seemed impossible became possible! It’s interesting how that happens when we depend on Him! Our Polotsk home has received several awards and the government has held it up as the ‘model’ of what a children’s home should be. Praise the Lord!
Trips with a Mission has two home orphanages in Belarus, one in Polotsk and the other in Sviclock. The government allows each home to have a maximum of 8 children and each home is administrated by a couple who are not only married but parents with their own children. What motivated these people to enlarge their hearts and families, then to complicate their lives with troubled, abandoned, abused children?
Interview with Alexey and Luda
The following interview is of Alexey and Luda, the ‘parents’ and administrators of the TWAM home in Polotsk.
Alexey: My career was in the army. I had very strong service and I was very busy every day. When I retired I had a vacuum. Our children were grown and we realized we needed some change in our life. We decided we wanted to live in the country, to give it a try, because it was so different from city life. But that was not enough for us. It did not satisfy us. Luda, my wife, and I talked about finding some project we could get involved with that would help children. We were thinking we could educate a couple of boys. Then Suzy Sims came to Belarus and helping became a possibility.
Luda: We knew there were many children who greatly needed help, especially in our country. So when the possibility came we did not even talk about it. We just knew that God wanted us to help these children.
Alexey: We knew there were too many children who are without parents and family. Since we had a good family, we thought we could help these children, even a few of them. We actually did not expect to have so many! (He laughed.) Because we, ourselves, had 2 daughters, we first brought 2 boys (Vlad & Dima) into our home.
Luda: After that, our family became bigger and bigger! When the children came into our home we could see they desperately needed help. These children felt hopeless and their life circumstances were pressing upon them. Suddenly a huge responsibility was on our shoulders.
Alexey: We have had many hardships but of course, we have had many joyful moments as well. Sometimes we have moments when we feel like the earth is going out from under our feet. The trials of raising children who have never received love, is a challenge. The difficulties have a goal and in the end, we see positive changes in our children. At first they are not in the best condition. Now they have changed to become ‘normal’ people and good citizens of our country and this earth. They are also growing spiritually.
Luda: We feel blessed in every area of our life. If we didn’t have the children we would be thinking about getting old. Instead they are giving us joy and we feel younger. We exercise and play sports with our children. We take them out in nature and it’s good for them and for us. When blessings come we know we are not doing this in vain. First we felt great responsibility then we were joyful. We have had other small rewards. People have said nice words for our small help to children. Sometimes they write about us in the newspaper. There have been articles in the state, regional and local newspapers. We received an award of recognition in Vitebsk for our good work in this area. We felt blessed by that. It boosts our moral and spiritual health.
Alexey: We have gotten several awards for our “High Moral Example in Education of Children” and for “Making Families Stronger”. In 2006 we received an award from the administration of the Vitebsk Region. This award of distinction is for the ‘Most Musical Family in Polotsk’. All of our children go to music school and they have the best grades in school. They happily study and play different instruments. We have 2 studying piano, 2 on the accordion, 2 study the violin, 1 is studying organ, 1 learning flute, and the youngest has just started. We have a talented family.
Alexey: I think that when you live a normal lifestyle, when you have all the things you need, then it is hard to imagine that somewhere children have problems, difficulties, and needs. It is very difficult to understand that a child is starving and doesn’t have a roof over his head. But when you begin thinking more about it, you realize you can help. When we went to the orphanage (government operated) and saw how the children lived, then we understood the situation. It is easy to just listen or read about problems but you can actually participate to solve these problems. When you are involved in this kind of work you always feel blessed for participating in something big!
Luda: Even though we are only helping 8 children, we are happy to be instrumental in changing their lives! It makes us happy to see them in a normal world where they live without problems. We hope that in their hearts they will remember their past so they will desire to help other people in the future. I think people know in their hearts that there are so many problems in the world but they are afraid to get involved in these things. You have to realize that you can dedicate your life to that. It really gives you joy!
Images of Polotsk, Belarus