Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Then the journey began...from DC to Germany and onto Minsk. Here we went speedily through customs (once again, Praise the Lord!) and boarded the bus to Mogilov. The roads were covered in snow, which didn't stop the bus driver who continued on at full speed, past the snow plows. Rommy was just a bit nervous and said he would have been going 5mph, if on the roads at all! However, we arrived in Mogilov safely and were greeted at the train station by Sergei and then were able to pick up Ihor at the military school to join us for our trip. Praise God for working in the director's heart to allow us not only to see Ihor, but to have him with us overnight! This year, the Atroshkins prepared a glorious "welcome home" feast for us, complete with the whole family (even the grandparents)!
I will also report that the pet rat is (sadly) no longer. I'm sure that Marta is very distraught not to see her old friend again this year! Whether or not it was part of the feast is still TBD...although I stronly think not!
However, not everything in Belarus is as perfect as it sounds. After calling today, I recieved word of what Ihor had been doing to get in trouble at the military school. I'm not sure how much I am supposed to share, but I will say that he has been caught cheating and getting involved with the wrong group at his school. He has also been selling some of his things (apparently some of what we have sent him as well) to buy cigarettes. This has greatly burdened my heart this evening and I would ask that all of you specifically pray for Ihor at this time. Pray that the Lord will use Rommy and Marta to be a light for him and to help him understand the consequences of his actions. The Lord can do mighty things and it is my prayer that he would do a mighty work in Ihor's life and give new light to Ihor to walk in His steps. Only God knows his heart and I know this is especially troubling to Rommy and Marta as they strive to be a Godly expample, even half a world away.
-More later from Rommy and Marta, on behalf of Zack-
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Flight information follows:
Lufthansa 419 leaves D.C. on Dec. 28 at 5:50 p.m. and arrives in Frankfort at 7:30 a.m Dec. 29.
Lufthansa 3240 leaves Frankfort De.c 29 at 10:50 a.m. and arrives in Minsk, Belarus at 2:10 pm.
Our return trip flight information:
Lufthansa 3241 leaves Minsk, Belarus on Jan. 9 at 3:10 p.m. arrives in Frankfort at 4:35 p.m. We have a one night stay in Frankfort.
Lufthansa 418 leaves Frankfort on Jan. 10 at 1:00 p.m. and arrives in Washington, D.C. at 3:50 p.m.
Because it will be so late and we will be so tired, we have opted to spend the night in D.C. after clearing customs we don't want to drive another 6-7 hours. So we will be leaving D.C. on January 11 for Charlotte and home!
Thanks to everyone for praying for us. Several requests:
1. Pray doors will be open for us to share Christ.
2. Safe travel and be able to clear customs with all our medical supplies in hand.
3. For Ihar to be able to stay with us while we're there.
4. For meetings between the Director of ABRO and with government officials in Minsk to get our program re-opened for orphans (like our Ihar) to come back this summer.
Don't forget that Belaurs is 7 hours ahead of Charlotte time!
Many many thanks to Cindy (for all the socks), Kristin (for all the good smelly soaps), Elouise (my dear friend who crocheted all the beautiful hats and scarfs), Dr. Gus (for all the toothpaste and toothbrushes), and Miranda (for all the beanies, shirts and purses)....for the children! and many blessings to Zack (you know what you did) and Tory, Patti and Susan (for the children)! Love you guys!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
My latest letter from Ihar:
Hi, Mama and Papa, How are you doing?Sorry for my not writing for long. I had a good vacation. And now I am very busy at school. The school I going well for me. I am learning English. I have started thinking about my future professions. As of now, I am planning to try to get to the Aviation school and to become a military pilot. How is Miranda in South Korea doing? We were told that next summer other kids and I may go to America. Are you going to come to Belarus at Christmas time? Thank you for everything you are doing for me!!!! How is Ethan? Does he play soccer? How is his team doing? How is Caddles (?)? Now when the school has started I can’t often go to Anzhelika and Sergei. I love you very much! Ihar
Friday, September 18, 2009
One of the most convicting books I have read in a very long time.
In this world you are an orphan eagerly anticipating your adoption as God's child.
In this world you are a widow, longing for reunion with your Bridegroom.
In this world you are a stranger, a pilgrim waiting to become a citizen of heaven.
And in this world, God has called you to care for the orphan, the widow and the stranger.
"God gave the responsibility to care for the defenseless to those claiming to be followers of Christ. It is through our hands the Father's love comes. It is through our voices His voice is heard, it is through our efforts and those of the church that His care is revealed to the ones the rest of the world has forgotten. "
Why reach out??? "God calls His people to reach out to the defenseless because they are the neediest. Without our help, they die early deaths, they are swept into lives of poverty, they make bad decisions and end up in jail." "One person has the ability to completely revolutionize the life of an abandoned child, a foreigner who is here to study or work, a single mom, or an elderly widow."
True compassion is Involvement.
As most of you know reading this blog, our journey began when God brought into our home a 11 year old young man named Ihar from Belarus. During his visit to our home, God showed us His great love for Ihar by causing us to fall in love with his child. He is the ours even though we are unable to adopt. God gave him to us to love, to nurture to give hope too. Although Ihar was unable to come to America this past summer, God provided by placing Ihar in my host family (Atroshkin family) home for the summer. While their daughter, Liza, came to our home.
Ihar needs to know we are still there for him and that we still love him like a son. His biggest desire has been for Rommy and me to both come to Belarus this Christmas. While I have been unable to see how this could happen, God has used one very special person to pay our passage to Belarus. Still there are other funds we need...but yet God is showing us He has more work for us to do and the orphans in Belarus are part of that work. So while we are unsure about the rest of the funds, we are reaching out and trusting God in His unliminted resources and will go and get involved in these orphanages to a deeper level. Our trip begins December 28. There are so many orphans (like Ihar) who need to experience the Hope of Jesus. How can they know this hope if no one is willing to go?
Please pray for us. We love you all.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
A letter from Anzhelika
Dear Marta and your Family,
We want to wholeheartedly thank you for your care and love for our entire family. Liza enjoyed so much the time she spent in your family and she will always remember these 6 weeks. Every day of them was full of joy! May the Lord bless you for your kindness and your love!
A little about us.
We have had a rather cold summer this year with plenty of rains.
The favorite pastime of David and Ihar is soccer, sure.
Ihar loves you very and misses not being with you this summer.
On the night Liza and Anhelina returned, he was not sleeping.
He was eager to get to know how you were doing.
He was so excited to get the gifts you sent him.
He was so happy and we were happy for him!
We met Adam in the church only once but Ihar and David were in the country on that day and they did not meet.
Again, we are very grateful to you and your Family for everything.
We will be happy to meet with you here if you come to Belarus again.
With much love, our entire Family
And here are thanks coming from me, Lena .
Thank you very much for your care and remembrance.
It was so kind of you to think about me too and to send the gifts through Tatiana.
You have so many people you care about!!!!
I really was deeply moved by it.
You are very special and Tatiana spoke so highly of you!
I wish you and your Family lots of God’s blessings!
Today is our last day before the vacation. All groups have returned safely! Praise the Lord!!!!
Please write us when we are back in the office and I am always glad to be of any help to you.
I am writing through Mark as I feel that messages from here do not get to you for some reason.
With much love, Lena
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
at a Russian Orthodox Church
Here's a link to my web album. Just click it on to view my pictures. I Love you all...thanks for praying for me! Marta
Some of my favorite memories while I was in Belarus:
- Seeing Ihar the first full day I was there. He was waiting for me by the front door of the orphanage. He threw himself into my arms.....for a giant hug!
-The times Ihar told me how much he loved me....over and over again!
-Watching God work in the arrangements with the Orphanage Director in getting Ihar everyday till 8:00 pm.
-Worshipping God in the two churches that profess His Holy Name. And hearing praises flow from the Belarussians singing. And sitting in these churches knowing that Ihar was hearing about our God in his own language
-Praying mornings and evenings with my host family. And being able to share my testimony with them.
-Visiting the orphanages and seeing the precious children God has not forgotten. Also when Adam played the piano and sang with an orphan "How Great Is Our God" in Russian at Cherikvo Shelter.
-Taking Ihar to the pizza place. Waching him enjoy pizza, coca-cola, and ice cream!
Some of my least favorite moments!:
-Learning my family has a pet. A "house mouse" named "Sima". Sima is actually a RAT and not a mouse. He lives in a small cage right next to the kitchen sink. These are my least favorite animals so anyone who knows me it was God's grace that helped me endure!
-Watching my family wash dishes with water and a rag, no dish detergent used. Knowing I would be eating off of those dishes again. And 4 of the children were sick with a stomach virus and high fevers.
-Being in the bathroom knowing the door would open on me at any moment!
-Night times after I had to return Ihar to his orphanage. I cried all the way back to my host family home every night.
-Having to say "Good-Bye" to Ihar and not knowing if I will get to see him this summer. (At this time the Goverenments of USA and Belarus do not have an agreement signed for the orphans to return. And Ihar is a orphan)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
My Host Family in Mogilev - Sergei and Anzhelika Atroshkin and Children
WOW! God is so good! We arrived back in Charlotte around 11:30 PM. It was so incredibly good to be back on the ground. (I still feel like I am flying)! I walked in my house and couldn't believe how clean, and how big my house seemed to me. We are so incredibly blessed here in America.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
It was extremely cold again, -4 degrees Farenheit. A sunny day, though there was snow on the ground, and they are expecting more snow tomorrow.
Marta called me this morning around 9am (4pm her time) from the bus as they were driving back to the city. Ihar was asleep at her side. The phone reception was poor and we were cut off 5 times during a 1o minute conversation. At one point I started hearing a lot of commotion in the background, then Marta said, " Oh, my gosh; Oh, my gosh; honey, I wish you could see this..." then click, the phone went dead. I had no idea what was going on until a couple of minutes later when she was able to call back. The excitement was a Hallmark moment. They were driving through the countryside, vast expanses of nothing but flat, snow covered fields, enjoying one of God's beautiful sunsets. Seemingly from nowhere, a herd of deer came into view wandering across the field, silhouetted against the orange sky. I think Marta has fallen in love with Ihar's home!
Tomorrow will be her last full day in Belarus. Ihar goes back to school. And Marta and the group will have a farewell party at the ABRO headquarters.
Posted by Rommy
They also met up with Cheri and Anastasia and went to the girls orphanage in Mogilev to deliver a gift from Lakeview Baptist Church in Monroe. That also involved a great deal of paperwork and a trip to the bank. (And not just a quick trip thru the drive thru window like here in the states.)
Being a ladies day out, of course, the day had to include shopping! And to appease Ihar, another visit to the pizza restaurant for pizza, coke, and dessert.
Posted by Rommy
As part of the program the children presented to the group, they each told their story of how they ended up at Cherikov. Some of their situations were really pitiful and had Marta and the others in tears. Father Frost was there and spent time with each child asking them what they wanted for Christmas. Then the group gave out the gifts they had brought. The children were thrilled with their presents.
Again there was an auction of crafts made by the children and lunch with them. Over $1200 was raised to help with expenses of operating the shelter. The shelter is funded by private donations, much of which comes from churches and individuals in America.
Posted by Rommy
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Marta and Ihar went to the Baptist church with her host family this morning. It is a large church by European standards - about 200 people in attendance. Adam, the American with the ABRO group was there again and helped her understand what was going on. The service was beautiful, though long, about 3 hours. Most of the hymns were familiar tunes; songs like"There is Power in the Blood", so Marta sang along in English under her breath. They also served communion which was especially touching for her; the bonds we share in Christ cross the boundaries of language and culture. The congregation shared a common loaf of bread and and cup (spread those germs!). She is hoping her contacts with this church might serve as a source for future cooperation.
Marta is still looking to the Lord for direction as how she can further assist one of the orphanages with needs they might have. She has talked with Tatiana and others in the ABRO office. There are a number of areas where help is needed. Pray with her that God would clearly show her how the funds she has available could best minister to the orphans there.
She slept better last night than she has the entire time she has been away, and felt really rested when she woke up this morning. She thanks those of you who have been praying for her.
This afternoon she plans to go with the Anjelica(the mother in her host family) to Hipos (a store similar to a Walmart). She wants to purchase some things for the family that they usually would be unable to afford (treats such as ice cream, fruit, and candy).
Then this evening they are going to go sledding! She has promised Ihar that she would sled down the hill with him. He is excited about that. Ihar is very happy that she is there. Most of his friends in the orphanage had family members to stay with over the Christmas break from school, but Ihar has no one.
Tomorrow the group goes to the Cherikov shelter to distribute Christmas gifts.
Posted by Rommy
Saturday, January 3, 2009
When her group arrived at Ryasno this morning, they were treated to a Christmas program performed by the children. They sang, danced, and performed little skits.
Afterwards, the orphanage held an auction featuring crafts made by the children. They were able to raise about $1200 through it to help fund projects for the orphanage.
The orphanage also hosted a lunch for the group. [A highlight, because Marta was given an orange--the first time she's had fresh fruit since arriving in Belarus.]
It was extremely cold today--the coldest day of the trip so far. It also snowed all day.
Posted by: Miranda
Friday, January 2, 2009
She and Ihar had a traditional Russian New Years feast with Tatiana and her family last night. Tatiana and her husband were there along with their 2 daughters and sons-in-law and 3 grandchildren. It was a huge spread of food and Marta tried dishes she had never even heard of, much less eaten. Overall the meal was delicious. She was impressed by Tatiana's cooking and hospitality.
Today Tatiana took Marta, Ihar, and Anna (one of the host family daughters) sightseeing around Mogilev. She said it is a beautiful city and the people very friendly. They visited a museum and spent some time shopping (a highlight for Marta!). Apparently the value of the American dollar is much greater than that of the Belarussian ruble. Marta treated them to lunch at a local pizza restaurant (a favorite of Ihar's).
It was extremely cold today (about 6 degrees Farenheit). But the people keep their houses very hot. Going from the bitter cold into the inside heat, Marta has developed a sore throat. Please pray that it doesn't develop into anything worse.
Tomorrow the group will be delivering gifts to one of the orphanages. Marta is excited about meeting the children. She will also be seeing Cheri tomorrow. They haven't talked since arriving in Belarus, and she is anxious to get caught up on things.
I hope to hear from Marta again tomorrow and will post an update on her visit to the orphanage.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
She is doing well. She celebrated New Years Eve with Ihar and her host family. They began the evening with a service at church. Her family attends a Baptist church near their home. The service lasted an hour and a half. There were three ministers; each gave a sermon and a prayer. One of the other Americans with ABRO was also there with his host family and was able to interpret some for her. She said the service was really nice. She was told that Sunday services usually last about two and a half hours.
After church they went on a walking tour of the area around their home. It was bitterly cold! (She said she has been staying warm aside from this late evening stroll.) Then went back home for dinner around 10:30. The festivities in the square below their apartment got cranked up around midnight. Fireworks, music, and dancing until after 3:00am. Ihar was able to spend the night since they were out so late. She got very little sleep because of all the noise and partying going on.
There are no planned activities with ABRO for today or tomorrow, so Marta is looking forward to some "down time" with Ihar. Tonight they go to Tatiana's home for dinner.
Posted by Rommy.