In today’s blog, Alina (left of picture), a mentor to young orphan mums, tells us about Valya (right of picture).
It’s a story that conveys clearly the importance of never giving up on someone and the impact of sowing seeds of faith over many years.
I (Alina) first met Valya in an orphanage when I would visit with my parents. Valya was 12 and I was a young teenager. My family and I would read Bible stories and play games with the children. Some would visit our family home in the summer when they had nowhere else to go.
Valya lived with her grandma before the orphanage until she could no long afford to keep her. She did not know her father and only met her mother once. She remembers the meeting; her mum was a stranger, very drunk and Valya was scared of her; after that it was as if she didn’t exist.
At 16 Valya was sent to a college/hostel with many other orphan girls. With less supervision and more freedom, these girls made bad choices… it was sad to see them so out of control.
Through my family, an American Christian charity wanted to help girls who were heading for danger and in need of guidance and offered to rent an apartment so they would have the care of an adult living with them – they invited me to take on that role and find 4 girls in need of help and wanting to change their lives. One of the four I chose was Valya.
She seemed secretive and didn’t accept the love and care with which I tried to surround her and she was still rebelling. But I had a soft spot for her, she didn’t pretend, just said what she felt.
During this time Valya was tragically hit by a motorcycle. The fracture was so bad that after 2 months in hospital in a leg brace with metal pins to rebuild her bones and a further 8 months without recovery, my parents tried to get her help in Moscow, but still to no avail. We eventually found help through a charity offering surgery in California. After 6 months she returned appearing joyful and open...and praise God, she could walk again!
On returning to college, she fell in with the same bad crowd and took up same reckless lifestyle as before.
Valya soon rejected the help I wanted to give her and chose to leave the project and move out of the apartment. I was devastated but could only pray for her.
Six months later I learned that Valya was expecting a baby, and living with an alcoholic man who treated her badly. We barely communicated and she rarely responded to my messages.
Two years ago, my church was organising a trip for orphanage leavers and the Lord put in my heart to ‘call Valya and invite her’. I did and she accepted the invitation! I learned that during the time I’d not seen her she felt ashamed so deliberately avoided communicating. She also told me that right before I called to invite her, she had decided that there was no God and she'd never again ask for His help. Instead, she took me reaching out as a sign that God did care! During the trip, Valya gave her life to God. Six months on and Valya says her life has changed so much, that when difficulties come, she knows God is with her.
God never gives up on anyone and neither must we.
With love and respect, Alina"
Alina runs a weekly Bible study for vulnerable orphan mums like Valya where they share their struggles, pray and work through them together. Poverty and making sure they have enough to feed their children is a big problem they all face. With Love Russia's support these young mums receive a little financial support too.
This Christmas you could give an Alternative Gift to help our orphan mums during the year ahead. A 'Food for Thought' gift is intended to bless people like Valya who are struggling and cannot put food on the table. Take a look at all 6 gifts here >
See Alternative Gifts >