Red Sails Project Brings Hope and Love to Orphan Graduates
Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2016
In a small Russian fishing village, a young girl watches wistfully for the ship that will bring true love to her. Her father says she'll know it by its sails of scarlet - words given to him by a wizard years before. All the while, a young nobleman longs for her. When he learns of the legend of the red sails, he decides to make her dreams come true. Painting the sails of his ship, he sets out to sea just to return to harbor - and to love.
For Margot, the story is more than a delightful fairy tale. It is her inspiration.
"It all started with my parents," she shares in the precious few moments before seeing a new patient at a clinic that serves children and adults with autism. "They were considering foster care, and learned about Angels from Abroad." The program invites Russian orphans to visit families in the United States who are interested in orphan care and adoption. Though her family had no personal ties to Russia, the idea of hosting children and providing them the care they needed sparked interest. "We had two kids the first year - a 10-year old boy and an 8-year old girl. The next year, two siblings were hosted. And the third year, two boys joined Margot and her family - Dennis would later become Margot's brother, and his friend Maxim would also be adopted.
Margot actually met Dennis in Russia, where she served as an intern and worked at a number of orphanages during her stay. "I got to be on the flight with him and the rest of the kids on our return flight to Dallas. And through that internship, I learned about what was being done through Orphan Outreach not only in Russia but in other countries around the world."
Margot's love for the people she had met in Russia inspired her to minor in its language at Texas A&M. While in college, she spent more time in the country. "I traveled there over the Christmas season in 2011. I went there on my own, as a volunteer, staying at a Christian university in St. Petersburg and working at Orphanage 15.
It wasn’t an easy trip – I was lonely and got sick for a bit – but God was giving me strength to be there and this overwhelming love for them. That orphanage was the transition orphanage so the kids were hurting so badly, and I fell in love with a lot of the kids I was working with. I realized then that serving those kids was my calling.”
"I got a lot of pushback from folks who didn’t understand why I wasn’t serving locally, why I felt I had ot go to Russia. Explaining to them that St Petersburg had my heart. I could feel the darkness and the pain, and knew I was there for a purpose."
Margot returned home and launched the Red Sails project, based on the Russian fairy tale. Through its fundraising efforts, she was able to meet specific needs of the children she had met while in Russia. "Orphan Outreach has been great to help me with the Orphan Graduate program. The story of scarlet sails is about hope, and I was delighted to hear that Orphan Outreach was helping orphans who had aged out of institutional care and wanted to live a good life. Part of the mission of the Red Sails project is to bring permanence to orphans, but with adoption being closed now, we aren't able work on that. Helping Orphan Graduates is another way to provide permanence."
"Orphan Outreach can provide what we can’t provide - we have a wonderful partner in them. We have funds, but we need staff, we need wisdom, we need relationships that are real to help the children. We want to help the orphans in their communities, to give orphans a chance to be successful right where they live. We may not have a lot of money, but it all goes to help."
Margot still gets tears in her eyes when she thinks about what God has done. "Watching how God takes so many pieces of your life and moves them into place for His purpose. It's overwhelming." She's learned much since the launch of the Red Sails project - about placing her trust fully in God. "I saw it in our first fundraising activity. The night came and it was cold and rainy and our turnout was lower. But then we go through the number at the end of the night and it was DOUBLE what I thought could be possible I see that God is going to work no matter what. He’s using me to fundraise and steward the money, but He’s mightier and He’s going to care for these kids. I can trust that He’s taking care of these kids and he’s using people to do that. The kids come to know that they are loved by people and loved by God. That’s the ultimate – trusting God to use you no matter the pushback you get from people or governments or sickness or circumstances. I pray for Him to give me the strength. And He comes through. He provides. It’s taken me a long time to put complete trust in Him, but it’s so freeing. God has this. He does. You work your hardest to do good for Him, and He will do something with it."
Margot returns to Russia to visit her friends when she can. But she longs to bring others with her. "What I’d really love is for more people to join me in Russia, especially men. These orphans need to see good, Godly men – they need role models. It's time for us to dye our sails and bring hope."