Ignat Ivanov, President
What is common between a newborn baby in the village of Slatina in Bulgaria and an 18-year-old young man Kiril in Yekaterinburg, Russia? We will tell you about them in this newsletter! One of them has just arrived in this world and opened his eyes to explore his surroundings that, unfortunately, are extremely unfavorable. The other boy’s eyes have just opened to see the mistakes he has made in this world during his young life...
The common thing they share is that both have received important help from us at the right moment. The infant in the photo on the right received a box full of clothes and other useful items. The young drug user, Kiril, came to live in one of our emergency homes in Russia and as a result, his life changed totally.
These two boys have also something else in common: Both have a mother who has struggled to care for them and felt overwhelmed by troubles and difficulties. Both mothers have received help and support from us and now know that they are not alone.
Thank you for coming alongside us as we help babies, youngsters, and children in between!
The first baby boxes containing clothing gathered from Finland and hygiene products bought from Bulgaria were taken to mothers in the villages of Pevtsite, Rozino, and Slatina just before the end of December.
In the photo above, Tanya Konyarova and Daniela Encheva carry a box to Zlatka’s home. Zlatka has three older sons and a twenty-day old baby boy. In the photo below, the local coordinator and pastor’s wife Maria shows her what is in the box.
The text on the box reads: “For the mother with love, Mission Possible Baby Boxes - A project to protect life.”
Winding rocky roads, high in the beautiful mountains of Bulgaria, leads us to the village of Slatina. On this visit snow blocks access so we need to leave the car and walk for ten minutes while carrying the boxes. The children who have already seen us coming run to meet us. Smiling faces and bare feet - it’s January and temperatures are 10 degrees (C) ... The children run back and forth to keep warm.
The village looks abandoned, but there were several mothers with babies waiting for us at the doors. It is hard to believe that families actually live in these shacks, the window openings have plastic or blankets instead of glass. There is no sewer system, the houses only have outdoor running water, is this village really in today’s Europe?
Twenty-two year old Gergina is gifted a Baby Box. She was born in Slatina, as were her three children, she is expecting her fourth. She lives with her husband and grandmother in a small plywood shack that has two bed, some worn-out rugs, wood-burning stove and a pot of water on the top of it.
The children are wearing only shirts and shorts, they have not eaten today! Today’s meal will only come if their unemployed father has been able to earn something.
A mother in these circumstances can only hope that she will be able to help her children survive the winter... Gergina asks us to pray for little Pavel who has fever and cough. For the people here, prayer is the channel for receiving help. The little money they can earn is not enough to buy medicine.
Faith in God carries them through their difficult lives. For them, the church is the place of support, love, encouragement, and prayer for the sick. This is why the children run to the church - even barefooted.
”Her name is Christina!” The blue eyes of the young mother shine as she proudly tells us the name of her baby.
Every child who is born is worthy of love, respect and must be welcomed with dignity. With these words, we introduce our BabyBox Project in Bulgaria. In the village of Pevtsite, we met many babies who had just arrived into this world and their mothers.
Freezing wind penetrated to the bone, as we carried a BabyBox to a home where a new life had just begun. We want to support and encourage the young parents of baby Christina: Bozhana who is only sixteen years old, and Todor, nineteen years old.
When you are sixteen, the winter doesn’t feel so cold and your husband’s unemployment doesn’t seem so scary...
- Is there anything you need? we asked.
- Thank you, we have everything. But could you please pray for Christina? She has continuously been sick with something.
We look around in the room. The dilapidated room has two old, saggy beds with blankets that look like they have been used by at least three generations. The wardrobe is collapsing. That’s all there is. They don’t even have a place for the baby to sleep.
This family, just like we who try to help them, has no other source of hope than God who makes the impossible possible. We pray for Christina’s healing and for Todor to find a job.
We give the parents a BabyBox with warm baby clothes and things to help them. With delight, they begin to look through the pretty items, and we leave to visit the next home.
Mission Possible operates soups kitchens in partnership with the local churches in several villages. In addition to the BabyBoxes, we brought winter shoes for the older children.
You can make a difference now by helping us to manufacture the boxes, purchase items locally for them and to get them into the hands of these young mothers. An instruction booklet will also be included in the box. It contains information about becoming a mother and how to care for your baby. We are also preparing a series of training videos by a team of midwives and doctors that will be used by local coordinators to help the mothers.
The cost for one Babybox is $60. Please go to mp.org/give or call 1-800-729-2425 to make a difference!
"I was like blind, I only could see myself. But then everything changed", says Kiril, pictured here with his mother at a Mission Possible shelter home.
It was evening and we were having tea and planning the next day’s activities and work at the shelter home, when a young man with curly hair, blue eyes and a broad smile appeared at the door.
It took a few moments before we recognized Kiril. Two years earlier, when he first came to our center, he was a 16-year-old, rude and undisciplined drug addict who only did what he wanted and had an exhausted and hopeless mother.
The following six months were an ordeal for us, the workers and the other children. Kiril did foolish things and kept causing problems one after another. Every time he was embarrassed. ”I am sorry...!” ”Sorry again...”
Finally he left our center, but we didn’t know that the time he spent here became a turning point in his life. ”I realized that my life was bringing only sorrow and destruction. I decided to go to a Christian rehabilitation center.”
There Kiril came to understand even deeper the emptiness and unworthiness of his life. "I pulled the blanket over my head and began to cry and pray. That’s when I surrendered my life sincerely and seriously to God.”
Soon after that, Kiril was struck by a sermon about how we should talk to God about everything, not just difficulties, because He is like a good father who is interested in our life. ”I wanted to have this kind of relationship with God.”
Everyone who had known Kiril before could see the full and miraculous transformation in the life of this young man who became a follower of Christ. He now studies in a college in Moscow - and his mother is happy!
”I very much wanted to come and see you”, Kiril said, standing at the door. ”I have prayed about this moment a lot and thought over and over how it would be. I want to ask for your forgiveness for all the trouble I caused you, and to thank you from all my heart!”
His words were followed by many tears and hugs... Again, we had witnessed a miracle!
The police brought Alina to our shelter home. ”This is a very difficult girl. We don’t know what you can do to help her, but please try to keep her here for two or three days while we look for an orphanage or a youth prison where can take her.”
This is what we were told about the young ”bandit” with blond hair and big eyes who had run away from her home and traveled by train to another city."
Alina’s mother went to the police station and signed away her parental rights. She had never been serious about the role of mother.
Alina remembers her childhood, how they continuously moved from place to place and how her relatives would gathered to party and drink. She tried to keep the home tidy but eventually understood that all the efforts were in vain. She lost her hope that things would ever improve.
Alina began to run away and not attend school, sometimes she slept in doorways. She began to smoke.
It was surprising that all we needed to do was to talk with Alina just one time - and as a result her way of thinking changed. Two days after her arrival it was impossible to understand how this girl could be described by what we were told about her.
When the director of our shelter, Andrey, went to see Alina’s home, he said that he, too, would have run away from that horrible place. But Alina has not thought about running away from the shelter home.
All the children and workers in the shelter home fell immediately in love with Alina. She is always ready to help, fulfills her tasks diligently and is able to take initiatives. She is reliable and sociable, and it is easy to talk and make friends with her.
When Alina attended a church service for the first time in her life, she listened to everything in tears and opened her heart to God. Following this, she was able to forgive her mother, towards who she had long been bitter. She now prays for her mother and goes to see her. Also, Alina's relationship with her sister was restored.
Alina shares openly about her newly found faith in Christ and tells how her life has been changed as a result.
We are currently preparing the custody papers to fill Alina's desire: to have a forever family with us!