Hope in Plavsk
On January 8th we visited the church in Tula where the members had worked for months painstakingly preparing their Christmas program.
Children arrived from the surrounding area, including the village of Plavsk. The program brilliantly incorporated recognizable characters from Russian culture to tell the true story of Christmas. The children were invited to participate in fun songs and games throughout and in the end Pastor Ilya presented the Nativity and shared the Gospel followed by distribution of Christmas Boxes for all the children.
Afterward, we drove the short distance to Plavsk where we met and fellowshipped with Ylena and others who showed us the site of the new Hope Center Bible Mission will help build this spring. She shared with us how this new facility will allow them to expand beyond the now tiny house and accommodate the 72 children they currently serve. It will allow them to feed, clothe, and care for these at-risk children daily. On top of that, during the summer, they will be able to host summer camps on site.
We then joined Alla and visited three families in Plavsk.
Little Stas met us with a beaming smile through the front window when we arrived at the first house. He and his older brother and sister, Kirill and Alina, are being raised by their aunt and grandparents since their mother lost custody. Alina, who suffers from epilepsy, had attended the Christmas program in Tula and she was in the middle of assembling her box when we came to deliver two more for her brothers. Ilya shared the Gospel and together we prayed and sang Silent Night in three different languages before leaving.
Then we visited and brought some supplies to the family Tomonovy. Three boys, Volodya, Andrey, and Stas, all have different fathers and are now living with their single mom in a dilapidated, five-story, concrete, apartment built during the Soviet era. Volodya is 16 and recently fell ill to a strange disease that doctors have been unable to identify. He and his family are hurting, but through Ylena and her husband, they are seeing the love of God. Please keep them in your prayers.
Lastly, we took a brand new coat and some food to the widow, Tatyana. She had been left destitute with an addicted son who cared little for her, and despite having suffered two strokes that left her partially paralyzed, she comes to church every Sunday. We shared the Gospel and prayed with her in her tiny one-room home. Before we left, she gave us each an apple even though she has so little.
It is people like these who Ylena and her husband are working to share the love of God with, and it is because of your prayers and support that we can provide them with the much-needed resources to continue.