you cannot be the same. I am grateful for this opportunity to practice my faith in such a way
Imagine being abandoned by your mother and father. How might that affect your perception of a Father God? How would you learn to love others when you grow up in an orphanage where people are paid to take care of you?
CCX Ukraine decided their witness to the university included caring for people in need. As part of their Social Care programme, three teams of students regularly visit three orphanages. They help the children with their school work. They take them roller-skating or bowling. They teach the girls to cook, they play games with them.
And they involve others. One CCX student put up a poster asking students to donate items for Christmas presents. A non-Christian was so moved that he brought a spare laptop and some clothes… and became an active member of CCX!
In one area, CCX has established a Social Centre where they meet with children from the orphanage. Currently five children meet with personal mentors. Relationships need time, but there are many stories that show how God is at work. For example, two girls started attending church.
Masha, one of the young orphans, is 15 years old. Her mom died when she was little and her father brought her to the orphanage. She has tried to cut her wrists several times, is constantly in trouble with the police and is addicted to alcohol. However the orphanage administration noted that Masha started behaving better and abstains from alcohol on certain days during the week. She told them that this is because she visits the “Christian centre” on those days.
It’s not only the children who are affected by this programme – the students are as well. Victoria realised that her church gave financial support to an orphanage, so she started to give part of her university scholarship.
Then she met Yulia, a coordinator for CCX Social Care. ‘I realised that anybody can donate money to orphans but often this is not what they need. They need those who are able to donate their time, love and attention. I realised that Jesus was calling me to join the team.
‘As I joined the ministry I realized that offering your time is much harder than money, but it is much more beneficial, as this experience moved my relationship with God to a new level. I simply fell in love with these children and now cannot imagine my Sunday evenings without them. They also teach me to be a real follower of Christ as they observe me and our relationships in the team. I want to develop in this ministry, contributing my finances, strengths and time to these children, so that they could leave their orphanage experience behind and find true meaning of life in Christ.’
Ira, another student volunteer, agrees that this is a life-changing experience. ‘When I got involved in CCX I heard about the opportunity of serving orphans. And now, as I have been involved in Social Care for half a year, I can say that it changes everyone. You cannot be the same. I am grateful for this opportunity to practice my faith in such a way.’
James 1:27 says ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’ How are you practicing this kind of religion today?