Team Russia

by Focus International

Team Russia partnered with Eastern European Outreach for a three week trip in the Mari-El Republic outside the capital city of Yoshkar-ola.

The team’s main focus was to work with orphans in a vacation Bible school ministry, focusing on building relationships and loving children wholeheartedly. Many of the orphans have never known the love and devotion of a parent. The team attempted to reveal this to them by presenting the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, as well as the love of their Father in Heaven. Many of the children were receptive to the message, and the team witnessed changes in the children’s outlook.

The team also had an opportunity to visit an orphanage where some of the children live during the school year. “For me, the image that stands out the most is not the kids at camp, but the little children in the orphanage,” said sophomore English major Melanie Dosen. “Even though we were interacting with the kids at camp and hearing their stories, it was still possible to shut the idea that they didn't have a home out of my mind; I could just imagine that they are kids away from their homes at summer camp. But when I saw those tiny kids walk out of the room waving goodbye to us, my heart sank because I knew that they were not walking to a warm home with toys, plenty of food, and loving parents, but to a crowded room with a few care-takers and way too many kids. The reality of being an orphan hit hard.”

The Mari-El government responded positively to the team and showed appreciation for the love that they showed towards the children. They are looking forward to having another Azusa Pacific University team at the camp next year.