A place where the needy can go

A place where the needy can go and the prodigals return

IGNAT IVANOV 
President

Yes, the church takes in the needy and the prodigals, but many could not find the church without a safe place to go first – a shelter home or a rehabilitation center. Mission Possible has the joy and privilege of operating ten such centers.

These centers are not only places where desperate people – such as the mothers in this issue’s stories – can find help and hope. They are also places where the prodigal sons and daughters can return.

I remember an instance during the early years of our work. One of our shelter home leaders was wondering what to do with a boy who would run away to the street and then come back, over and over again. Our leader felt that God had spoken to him: “The door to the home of the Heavenly Father is always open and His children will always find forgiveness there.” So that’s how our leader relates to these children.

Over the years we have seen quite a few young homeless people rescued from the street and restored to normal lives, only to return to the street. But when their lives are again in ruins, they remember us, and we offer another chance to change. They accept this opportunity and value it very highly.


 

When women and children are beaten in their homes...

ALBERT DOKTER

The author of the article, Albert “Bert” Dokter, leads Mission Possible’s sister organization in the Netherlands. Together we raise support for our shelter homes and projects. Bert speaks Russian fluently and has participated in the work for twenty years. The photo shows Bert with mothers and their children in the Asbest center.

One in four families in Russia has experienced domestic violence 

Recently I read a press release about domestic violence in Russia. According to the data given by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, in 2015 over 12,000 minors were victims of violent crimes, and 2,000 children were killed. “Terrifying,” stated the investigation’s leader, noting that Russia’s crime rates have been on the rise the past few years. He was deeply disturbed to realize the frequency and severity of crimes within homes.

It is not only children who fall victim to these violent crimes. Each year 600,000 women are targets of domestic violence. Every day 36,000 women are beaten by their husbands or partners.

Unfortunately, the government is not yet properly equipped to help this growing number. To solve immediate problems, the authorities are depriving parents of custody and sending children to orphanages.  Studies  show that only a small percentage of these children become responsible adults and function in society.

Mission Possible is responding to the huge need for shelters

Despite these alarming figures, there are hardly any shelters for these women. Since that is the case, Mission Possible has increasingly focused on troubled young mothers in recent years. Some of these mothers are merely teenagers. Many grew up in broken families and some have lived in orphanages. Almost all of them have been victims of domestic violence.

Every time I visit our centers I’m touched and impressed by the work of our staff. With minimal resources and a lot of dedication, young mothers are being helped. And that is certainly no easy task.

The problems that these mothers are facing can’t be solved by providing shelter and finding a source of income. They have had traumatic experiences, so long-lasting, professional guidance is needed. It takes a lot of patience and love to do this work, and it is not always successful. When I ask the Mission Possible teams where they get the courage and motivation to do this work, the answer is: “Our faith in Jesus.”

On the last page of this newsletter you will find more statistics. The figures represent the number of people we helped in 2015. Each number stands for a person whose life has been touched.

The women in our shelters are very grateful for the assistance they’ve received but especially because they have come to know Jesus. It is a great privilege to support this important work of such a dedicated staff.


 

Encounter with an accordion player

A story about a weary night club waitress, very difficult circumstances, a child with autism, and God’s guidance

Anna is one of the 100 mothers and Vitalik i one of the 290 children who were helped in our emergency homes last year.

What can a young girl do who for thirteen years lived in an orphanage in a remote, depressed Russian town because her mother drank and her father had gone missing?

What can a young girl do who was raised by a system, not by parents; who was brought up in such a way that she wasn’t able to manage her time or finances, keep a commitment, or remember to take care of her personal  hygiene?

What can a young mother do when after having a child with a married man, was cruelly abandoned by him? And what can this mother do when she is constantly told by everyone that her child is disabled and his condition will only worsen?

Anna did what she could.

She took her son Vitalik and they went to St. Petersburg to look for a job. She had professional training to be a lathe operator but took work in bars and nightclubs as a waitress where the pay was better. At least this way she could be with her son during the day. When the opportunity arose, she served as a model for an artist. Anna and Vitalik stayed in rented apartments with friends or with Anna’s boyfriends.

One morning, on her way back from a nightclub, Anna met a young man playing the accordion on one of St. Petersburg’s main streets. They began to talk. Anna told him about her difficult life and that she was looking for a place to live with her son but didn’t have enough money and was tired from working nights.

It turned out that the young man was a member of a local church. He and his friends helped Anna with what they could and a week later called us. We were ready to receive Anna and Vitalik, and at the end of November they moved to Mission Possible’s emergency home.

On the very first day we could see that Anna was eager to accept all the help we offered and was very motivated to change her life. She immediately quit smoking, broke up with her boyfriend, and adjusted herself to a daily routine very different than any she’d ever had before.

Anna helps with all the shelter house work without question and is responsive to our staff’s instructions. Often she helps other mothers with their children. She is also learning to communicate effectively with others – something that has always been difficult for her.

Special attention was needed for Vitalik. At five years old he wasn’t talking and only wanted to play alone. All new things caused him great distress. After several consultations with doctors he was diagnosed with autism. There will be further examinations for establishing a more complete diagnosis and prescribing treatment. Anna now needs to learn how to create favorable conditions for raising and educating her son for his optimal development. This will determine her future job, living arrangements – her life.

We were able to recover some of their lost documentation. Along with social services, we are now working on their housing situation.

All this, and yet the greatest change occurred in Anna’s life when she started going to church. It was there she learned about her Savior, quickly made new friends, and became part of an evangelistic drama team.

We believe that this young woman will overcome the numerous obstacles in her life. All wonderful things still lie ahead for her!


 

Daughters led their mother to faith and to Mission Possible’s Hope Center

ALBANIA: The testimony of a mother who had lost all hope

“I felt like the most unfortunate person in the world. I was hopeless, deep in debt, and raising four kids alone. I didn’t know where to go.” “Today I thank God for the ministry of Mission Possible in Albania.” “Mission Possible, you are hope for us, the ones who feel forgotten by everybody. You give us smiles and love.”

 

 My name is Manushaqe. I am twenty-eight years old and have four children. I was only fourteen when I fell in love with a young man and ran away from my family. All my dreams soon vanished. I couldn’t go outside the house, not even to see my family. My husband would be away for days while his mother treated me as a servant. Since his family protected him, I didn’t know he had committed many crimes.

After a year of being together, our first daughter was born. I loved her more than my life and hoped that a baby would change the atmosphere in our home. Instead, my husband and his family began to physically abuse me. This continued for years, during which two more daughters and a son were born.

My dad decided to forgive me and came to visit after four years, but he couldn’t even recognize me and began to cry! There was nothing he could do to help me. My husband threatened that if Dad tried to get me back, he would burn me alive and kill my family! I wasn’t even allowed to care for my parents when they became very ill.

In the midst of these troubles I heard about the Hope Center’s activities for children. I couldn’t leave the house, but my neighbor helped register my two oldest daughters for Miracle Club. Every time they returned home they told of their happy experiences.

One evening, as I was setting the table for dinner, the girls clasped their hands together and in loud voices said, “Our Lord, You who protect us and take care of us, please help and provide food for our family. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen!”

We couldn’t believe our ears! We had never talked about God in our family before. After a moment of silence, my mother-in-law started yelling, “Where have you learned this? We are Muslims and don’t use those words!” The girls calmly answered her, saying, “Grandma, we did no wrong! We only prayed to God to give us food and protect us!”

The girls continued to learn more about God and Jesus the Savior. After every Miracle Club meeting they shared these things with me also. I had never thought of God before except to blame Him for everything awful in my life.

One evening last summer the police appeared at our door to arrest my husband. I can still hear the chilling words of the policeman: “He has killed a man!” I was shocked. The children were frightened and cried as the police took him away. The next day at the police station I was told that he had a large file with many crimes and murders. Everything started to go black…

When I regained consciousness I found myself in the hospital. I felt hopeless. The girls gave me strength to keep going. They embraced me as we prayed to their God, to their Jesus, for my condition and for their father.

One evening as they were praying, I was reminded of Hope Center and decided to escape to there to share my story with someone. I entered their office the following day in tears. The ladies welcomed me warmly. As I was telling of all my problems, I began to feel relief.

A couple days later, Besa, Ornela, and Edjola came to visit us. They handed my daughters brand new backpacks filled with school items they needed so badly. The girls beamed with joy.

“Mom, you see, God is good to us! He protects us and cares for us even when we forget Him. We are happy to be called His daughters!” And I felt deep within me that they were right. Even though I did not know Him yet, He loved me! His love continues to amaze me more and more with each new day. Now I know that I am not a stranger to God and I believe that He has accepted me to be His daughter!

These sisters are some of the 1700 children who attend Mission Possible’s Christian children’s clubs.


 

2015 in numbers

We are very grateful for these figures. With your support our small team was able to continue ministry in five countries with ten shelters and rehabilitation centers and ninety local workers. Our team of 90 local workers, along with 240 volunteers, brought help and the Gospel to thousands of people last year. Local support and awareness were also raised, helping maintain the work in spite of Eastern Europe’s rising costs of living. Thank you! 

These are the numbers for our largest projects:
 
  • 6 shelter homes and emergency centers
  • 4 rehabilitation centers
  • 3 activity centers
  • 90 local workers in target countries
  • 240 local volunteers
  • 290 children and youth in shelter homes
  • 240 children at soup kitchens
  • 270 families receiving regular help
  • 670 children in these families
  • 1700 children at Christian clubs and camps
  • 48000 children at Christmas outreach events
  • 160 people in rehabilitation
  • 700 students in self-study Bible courses
  • 820 participants in teaching seminars
  • 15 graduates from vocational training (Bulgaria)
  • 200 women in different training courses (Albania)
  • 4800 library users (Albania)
  • 275 tested for HIV

Download Newsletter for April and May, 2016 pdf version

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