When we meet young people in Russia, they are often shocked to hear that it is supporters in the UK that have donated the money for them to receive some of the support they do. This isn’t something they are used to as they have often experienced segregation by those in their closest communities. A small piece of research in 2007 in Moscow found that 99.9% of people thought that orphans were ‘not my problem’ (1). While these attitudes are slowly changing, orphans and orphanage leavers still face significant discrimination today. So, in the context these young people live in, knowing they are receiving support from an international community is an incredible gesture of love, support and care.
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
When John was writing he really encapsulates what love should be – not something that is just said or kind actions that are emptily promised but something that is demonstrated through actions and integrity. It is likely that in this context truth is talking about keeping promises we make verbally and turning them into action rather than leaving them as empty words.
And if you are wondering why we love, John answers that later on too…
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11
From the environment they are brought up in it’s clear why the young people react in the way they do – because for them, it might be one of their first experiences of love. How amazing to be able to demonstrate God’s love to them and having the privilege of witnessing their awe at receiving it!