Love Heals Through God’s People (Series Intro)
We believe our programs really help orphanage graduates, and we love sharing about them. Programs are quantifiable: for example, we can tell you that, on average, 15 youth attend each of our life skills classes. We can describe the appliances we installed in a newly-renovated apartment, or share that 50 orphan moms received groceries last month.
Staff and youth at a recent event
And these are all important. But programs are not the heart of our ministry.
The event’s theme: tabloids distort our understanding of sexuality and value
Children need parents to hold them, look into their eyes, talk to them, teach them. But our youth had parents and caregivers who ignored or abused them, left them cold or hungry or in danger, and didn’t respond to their needs and distress.
Left: our newest staff member, Alexander
This kind of childhood rewires the brain. Some children withdraw, others lash out. For orphaned, traumatized teenagers, the world is an overwhelming, scary place. They don’t know who they are or where they belong.
Andrey has been building long-term relationships with our youth for eleven years
This moving talk by the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child, describes how deeply important it is for children to find their own value in the faces of their caregivers: Precious In His Sight
Lena persistently reaches out to lonely, isolated youth
Even in their teens and twenties, orphanage grads hunger for the love that was withheld from them as children. Dr. Purvis describes one encounter with teenagers at a church: “Those kids were eighteen years old,” she says. “But what they wanted was to look into some caregiver’s face and know who they were. They wanted to look into somebody’s face and know they were precious… That they were valuable… That there was nobody in the world like them.”
The love of our staff brought Masha to faith in Christ and leadership at Last Bell
Without close, trusting relationships, all Last Bell’s programs would fail, and our young people would remain wounded and frightened.
Andrey and other staff offer stability, brotherly kindness, and physical and emotional safety
But orphanage grads do keep showing up at our activities and programs, because that’s where the love is. All tangible results – better housing, employment, lives given to God – are founded on the healing that comes through being loved by our staff.
Loving orphanage graduates takes creativity and humor
In 2018 we’re going to begin highlighting our staff members, introducing individually the men and women at the heart of healing for our youth. Watch for the first installment of this series, coming soon!
In the faces of our staff, Last Bell’s youth see they’re loved