fredag 15 mars 2013

Saving Grace - How to make a good investment

Over 2000 of the verses in the Bible encourages us to support orphans, poor people, widows and those who are oppressed. God is clearly on their side! But which side are you on? Grace Family Center in St. Petersburg are on the same side as God, and they work hard to help young people in need. But they are also in a desperate need of new investors so that they can continue with their important job among the least of our brothers and sisters.

When young people leave institutions in Russia (at age 18) they encounter multiple problems. Many are met with various types of prejudice because they come from an institution, they have no adults who care about them and they often lack the everyday knowledge that others may learn in their family, such as washing clothes, cooking, managing household cash, finding suitable accommodations in which to live and more. Most have no parents or other relatives to turn to, so they often feel lonely and left out, and in reality, they are.

Valentina is The Director at Grace Family Center © Mikael Good 

The Family Center is located in a apartment at a Russian Orthodox monastery in St. Petersburg. The volunteers at the family center works closely with priests and nuns from the monastery. The work that they do is really remarkable and most of the orphans and young mothers that come in their custody receive the support and the training that they need so that they can live ordinary lives. When I asked Valentina who is the director about the recipe for their successful work at the Family Center she answered:
- Love and kindness is something that we all need. It's also something that we want to teach at Grace, We also know that we need to talk a lot with the orphans to teach them to love and enjoy each other.

At Grace Family Center young people meet and spend time with adults who give them support and encouragement and help them to develop into independent people with strong self-worth. The staff, at the project, prepare an individual plan for each young person who comes to it. The work is based on Christian principles. They live and work in an environment where they can meet and know the saving grace of Jesus and become part of God's great family. Despite that Valentina and the other volunteers does everything that they can for the orphans and the young mothers at Grace they feel uncomfortable about the situation. When I spoked with Valentina, she said with tears in her eyes:
- When I see that the needs are so great as they are, it feels as I do not do anything at all. I know that there are so many people who need our help, and it is difficult to have to refuse people since our resources are not sufficient. But I know that God will provide us with more resources when the time is right.

The work at the Family Center is very successful and according to Valentina, the majority of the orphans and the young mothers who have received help and support have been able to adapt to a normal life. The statistics for other orphans who didn´t get the same opportunities is very dark, only 10% of them can adapt to a normal life and many of them end up as criminals, prostitutes or homeless. But despite the very positive result at Grace, one of their major sponsors decided to end the cooperation with the Family Center at the end of year 2013. The reason is that they want to concentrate all its activities to other parts of the world. The decision to end the cooperation creates great economical problems for the Family Center who already stuggles with a strained economy. And it will be difficult for the Family Center to maintain their important work. They are really in a desperate need of a economical miracle.

Perhaps it is one of you who read this article that shall provide the economical miracle that is needed? One of the best investments that you can make is to invest your money in the least of our brothers and sisters. I believe in miracles and I also believe that it´s very important that Grace Family Center can continue their work among the least in Russia. I believe that their methods can be a role model for other Orthodox Family Centers in Russia to follow. I also believe that the Family Center have a key to a revival in the Russian Orthodox Church and that this revival can affect millions of Russians. Dosen´t that sound like a really good investment to you?

Click the following link if you want to donate money via Star of Hope, USA: Grace St. Petersburg 

Star of Hope, USA concentrates their efforts on different countries than Russia. However if you wish to donate they will be happy to funnel your gift to Grace Family Center. 

"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done". - Proverbs 19:17 

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me". - Matt 25:40

Text and Photo: © Mikael Good, All Rights Reserved

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