I immediately recognized this first orphanage we were visiting. Last year when we visited this same orphanage, I met a little boy named Stasch. When we met him then, he had been left by his mother only a few days before our arrival. He kept asking up to just take him home. We had to tell him we didn’t know where he lived, which he countered with, “That’s ok, just take me to the bus station and I’ll find my way.” (Insert the sound of your heart breaking into a couple of thousand pieces here).
As we walked through the orphanage yard and started to set up, I kept looking around for Stasch. My constant prayer for this last year, “Please, God, let him be in a loving home,” echoed through that orphanage yard.
After a few minutes, I saw Stasch. He was rolled outside in a bed, in restraints to keep him from hurting himself. And my heart just sank.
I went up to him and started to talk to him in my very limited Russian. We asked what had happened to him that would cause him to be bedridden and found out that because of malnutrition, his hip joint had been damaged and even the slightest fall could do major damage. The caretakers at the orphanage told us that he would have to remain in the bed with very little movement for up to two years.
Everything in me screamed, “No! This is not right! This cannot be!” Little boys are supposed to be in loving families where they’re told they matter. Little boys are supposed to be able to have proper nutrition to make them healthy and strong. Little boys are supposed to be able to run and jump and play.
I got to spend some quality time with Stasch, and for that I’m so very thankful. We sang songs, fought with balloon swords, did some face painting, and looked through his new Russian kids Bible together.
To say yesterday was a tough one is a bit of an understatement. But even in the midst of the darkness, where all hope seems to be lost, where little boys and girls grow up without families and are kept in bed for years at a time, I still choose to hope. I still choose to hope that this is not the end of Stasch’s story. I still choose to hope that, in the end, this injustice will be made right.
So we ask you to pray. Pray for little kids like Stasch who listened to us share the message of who Christ is — that they would come to personally know their Creator and discover their value and worth in Him. Pray for our team as we enter the downhill slope of this grand adventure. And pray about how you can be a part of this story too. I hear there’s a great HopeHouse International trip coming up next year (hint, hint).