Hope for Life Homes in Russia provides an alternative to the institutional setting that most orphans experience there. The children are nurtured in loving, Christian homes by a couple who has a heart to care for orphans.
HFL also reaches out to children who are living in government-operated orphanages and sends a number of them to a Christian camp each summer where they learn about the love of God. Many come to faith in Christ and take that message of hope back to the other children and staff in the orphanages where they live. We are excited to share with you the stories of three children that have been impacted by HFL.
We met Polina in the Ussuryisk orphanage seven years ago. At the time, she was a sad and withdrawn girl. Her parents regularly abused alcohol. They divorced and decided it would be best to take Polina to an orphanage. Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, Polina now knows that it really changed her life in a positive way. It was in the orphanage that she was exposed to Christians and learned of God. Her hunger for Him was strong, and we were able to send her to the Transformation Camp where she gave her life to Jesus. Her walk with the Lord has been such a blessing to see. When she graduated from the orphanage at 15, she entered into a vocational school in Vladivostok so that she could attend the Vladivostok Bible Church.
Polina found and talked with her parents. Her mother hated her for coming back since she would have to share her apartment with her. Her dad tried to be supportive, but his wife didn’t want her around. In spite of that, Polina keeps in touch with, and prays for, her parents. Her eyes always get watery when she shares about them. She says: “I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I know that without God I won’t have a future.”
Polina was baptized last fall. She has a beautiful ministry of greeting people at the church door each week. She will be graduating from vocational school next year and wants to enter Far Eastern University to become a teacher. She also has a strong desire to adopt a child from an orphanage when she has a family. She longs to see her parents come to church. Polina trusts God sincerely and is excited to see what He has in store for her.
Angelina’s parents lost their parental rights due to alcohol and child neglect. Her health was extremely poor. The doctors and local authorities tried to talk Misha and Lena, our HFL house parents, out of taking her. Of course, they didn’t consider giving her up, even for a second. Lena spent one year in and out of hospitals with Angelina because of her severe lung and allergy conditions. Then, God granted them a miracle! Angelina’s health changed to perfect. She has grown into a very bright, always smiling, kind, healthy girl who loves both the Lord and the church. She loves helping her mom in the kitchen and around the house and is quick to take initiative. Her favorite verse is Luke 1:37: “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Dear Elijah came into our HFL 2 Home when he was four. His birth mother abandoned him just after birth because she had a problem with alcohol and had no means to raise him. He was adopted by a non-Christian family, then abandoned again.
Even at the age of four, he was not trusting of people. But when our HFL 2 mom, Lena, came into the orphanage where he lived, Elijah must have been moved by God to just run to her as fast he could and ask whether she would take him to her home. She did.
Elijah will be 13 this year. It has taken many years of questioning for him to accept that his HFL parents really love him and want him to be part of their family. He now has peace that he is loved unconditionally. He is a challenging child, but also bright, kind, and loves the Lord.
Last year, Elijah’s birth mother came in contact with his HFL parents. They learned that she is now a believer and had been praying for the son she abandoned. She now raises a handicapped daughter. Our HFL Home parents help by taking her to doctor appointments or for groceries, and she often comes to spend time with Elijah. We trust that Elijah will root his life in God and that He will use him to lead more people into the Kingdom. We believe in him and we trust our God and praise Him for using us to minister to Elijah.