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Katya's Story
by Amy Norton
Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Arriving home from a mission trip can be overwhelming. We experience so many emotions and trying to put into perspective what we saw and how the Lord used us on the trip. As days and weeks go by, we begin to get back into our normal routine and the days become filled with busyness. The mission trip can begin to seem like just a wonderful memory - it's easy to lose sight of how the Lord used you and I on that trip and the children whose lives we touched.

Katya 1

One such child for me was a little nine-year-old girl in an orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was our first visit to this orphanage. The director had no desire to allow a mission team to come in. We found out while we were there in the city that he had unexpectedly passed away and the assistant director wanted us to visit.

While we were there, a little girl named Katya sought me out. She held my hand and showed me her room and we found out we had a lot in common. I was so touched by her sweet spirit and found out she had been in the orphanage since she was 4. She had come from a very difficult family situation. When I left, I told her I would pray for her. It is always hard leaving a child knowing you may never see them again, but committing to pray is one of the greatest gifts we can give that child. I was fortunate enough to get to see Katya several times over the years.

One visit, I found out she was on the streets but I was still able to get her to come meet me. I truly thought when I saw her that time that I would never see her again. She looked so rough and so lost. My heart broke when I left her, knowing she was just another of the terrible statistics of Russian orphan graduates – suicide, prostitution or drugs, but I kept praying for her.

Katya 2

Several years later I was overjoyed to hear she called our staff and said she really wanted to change her life. She wanted help. Since then she has had her ups and downs but she is now a leader in our graduate program, working every day and going to university. She turned 26 just last month and now I can write her and encourage her through Facebook. She told me recently that she was able to make that call for help because she trusted me. She knew that I was praying for her. She knew her life could change. She said if she hadn’t had that trust she would still be on the street and maybe even dead.

We may not get the opportunity to return to the country or the child that touched our life on a mission trip, but we can pray. We can let them know through our sponsorship program or through a letter, that they are not forgotten, that they are cared for, they can have hope and that they are prayed for. What all of these children want more than anything is to know they are not forgotten. They have been abandoned by those closest to them and they need to know they matter. The Lord places a child in your path for a reason. I have heard time and time again from trip participants how amazed they are that a child remembered them even when they spent very little time with them. We make an impact on that child by visiting them and loving on them, and can continue to make an impact by praying for them and remaining a part of their lives through sponsorship.

Amy Norton, our Director of Programs for Orphan Outreach, shares this powerful story of what you mean to the children you meet. Let this year be your year to sponsor a vulnerable child. You plus one child. Your church plus one orphanage. All it takes is one for you to help change history. 

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