"Many people have forgotten me. But I am God’s Child – and I would like to meet you."

“Hello! My name is Valya. I am 20 and I am from Kostroma, Russia. I’ve graduated from tech school 18 and right now I am looking for a job according to my profession. I am much honored to be able to tell about our beloved home where we have become one family. I go there like to a little paradise. Have you ever thought why our Ministry Center is called “Hope?"

Everyone who comes there receives hope that life isn’t over, it goes on. People start to believe in a better life and future. That’s what happened to me two years ago. I left the boarding school, had nothing, came to a place where no one was waiting for me. I realized then how hard it is not to have parents and to walk this life alone. Life at the orphanage is one thing and life in the world is something completely different. But there came a day when I met some good people on my way and they showed me the road to the place where I could get a help and find what I am looking for. I came to the Ministry Center and believe me or not but I did receive peace, care, love, faith and hope that God’s will will be done. It’s been two years since then and I keep coming to the place where I found God.

I go there with joy. I know that I’ll always be encouraged, helped, hugged, kissed. I didn’t so much love in my childhood as I see here now. The staff of the there are like mothers, fathers, grandmas, brothers and sisters for us. They take such good care of us and make sure we feel protected and secure. I thank God for this gift, for the place where orphan kids can get help, where they get understanding that they belong here on earth and that they are the same people – they just don’t have parents.

I’ve also met a lot of friends from America thru Children’s HopeChest. I love them all very much and am very thankful to them for not abandoning me. I’ve also been to a lot of camps. I really like family hours. I like to listen to American people tell their stories about their life.

You can do so many things when people love you at a place like this. You can play, you can do laundry, you can find somebody to talk to and you’ll always be listened to and encouraged, you can watch good movies, you can go to the dentist… It’s like a dream and all is done for us. I really respect all the staff from Children’s HopeChest. I wish them many many years."

Valya has a very interesting life story. She had been in the orphanage system since she was a preschooler. As a small child, she lived in one orphanage and then was transferred to a special curriculum boarding school where she spent 9 years. She didn’t have any choice as to where to go or study. So she was sent to one of the worst tech schools in the region to study interior decoration (nothing more than painting walls and putting up the wallpaper – a holding tank) for a year. She was the only girl to graduate – all the other girls left, got pregnant, and lived on the street. I visited her here and it was a literal nightmare.

She “survived” that year, with horrible living conditions and people breaking into her room and stealing the little she had. After graduation Valya came to Kostroma with no place to live and no place to go. She lived at the Ministry Center for a few months until CHC found her an apartment to share with another girl. CHC helped Valya to go to a different tech school for two years to study sewing. She just graduated and is working as a seamstress at one of the sewing companies in Kostroma. Sadly, her mother recently died because she was totally lost and her life consisted of nothing more than drinking and begging.

Now, Valya is doing very well. She is very sensible, purposeful, and has really good moral grounds. She openly admits that without Hopechest she would not have survived and made it in life. The very fact that someone loved her, gave her the strength to carry on.

This is really what life is about: Making a difference in the life of one orphan. Jesus told us in Matthew 25 how important this kind of ministry is, "As you’ve done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me!"

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