Mission trip to Irkutsk, Russia

siberia 139People ask me, “Why you go to mission trips”? Only one thing pups up in my mind. Matthew 28:19. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things what so ever I have commanded you: and I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

My first mission trip changed my life. The children in the orphanage had a big impact on me; God had a big impact on me. My views on life, money and time changed. But not even that, I changed. I saw God in a totally new way.

I got to know Him better; I developed a stronger relationship with Him. I saw Him do miracles everyday. My prayers were answered instantly, and God always gave me energy and wisdom. I saw Him changing the kids day by day. I wasn’t doing it, but God was doing his work in these kids through me. I thank the Lord that he was able to use me for his work.

So when another opportunity came up to go to Siberia this summer I said “Lord here I am, send me”. Yeh, there was a lot of obstacles, and the devil obviously didn’t want me to go. But I wanted to go. American way of life wraps you up in so many everyday things, and before you even know it, you are neither hot nor cold, you’re warm. I didn’t want to be warm. I wanted to feel close to God. I wanted to experience His power and miracles. I wanted to have that close relationship with Him again.

The two camps that we organized in Irkutsk weren’t easy. They took a lot of hard work, and prayer. The first camp was blessed in its own way. I had a group of oldest boys ranging in ages from 12-17. The boys were difficult in their own ways. There were days when they listened and days they didn’t, there were days where they behaved, and days they didn’t. But everyday God was doing his work in their hearts. Buy the end of the firs camp 4 boys out of my group repented their sins and gave their hearts to Jesus.

The second camp was even harder than the first. Some kids were orphans and some were from broken families. They were all so different; they all had their different personalities. Their behavior was uncontrollable, and yes, they were boys. I think I spent more time getting them together and looking for them around the camp area than anything else. Three boys in my group smoked, and would disappear constantly (of course to smoke). It was impossible to put them to sleep at night, and it was impossible to make them clean up in the morning. They would constantly fight, tease each other, steal, put things in each others food, etc… I felt all I did was constantly calmed them down. I had to be with these kids 24/7 and it was getting a little hectic.

Around noontime everyday the leaders would get together, discuss any problems, pray, and share their experiences in their groups. I couldn’t believe it. Other kids in other groups were giving their hearts to Jesus and my group was uncontrollable. I would come back to my room and I would cry. I thought this is useless. What is the point? My kids are not changing at all. They listen to Bible lessons, memorize the verses (for candy of course), but I saw no changes at all. I thought they would never change. Everyday it was getting harder and harder. Everyday I had less and less strength. To tell you the truth, I lost hope. I didn’t expect anything good out of my group anymore. Was I wrong! Was God teaching me a lesson!

siberia 158During the Day of “pokayaniya”, everything was centered on Jesus’ death for our sins. The lesson, the games, the plays we showed all reflected Jesus’ gift to us on the cross. After the evening service, the kids were asked to come to their leaders if they wanted to give their hearts to Jesus and ask for forgiveness. Me and my group stepped outside; they were crying, all of them. I said to myself “don’t let the tears fool you”. I wanted them to be sincere and I wanted it to be from their heart. I wanted this moment to mean something to them. And you know what? It was sincere; they meant every word of it. They were asking Lord for forgiveness, they were asking Lord for his mercy to help them leave all their bad habits and start their lives all over. It was an amazing evening, one of the best evenings I ever experienced in my life. When we all went back inside, they were still crying. I couldn’t hug them all, I couldn’t hold them all, there were 12 of them and I only have two hands. We sat down. Two boys were crying on my shoulders each clinging to my hand. The others were by my sides clinging to my knees. They were all around and they were all crying. I felt their tears running down my arms. I saw the tears that ran down their cheeks and dripped from their noses and soaked through the fabric of my jeans. And there I was, surrounded by them, the boys that I thought were lost, hopeless, whose hearts I thought would never melt, because they were solid ice. I was crying with them. The tears were running down my cheeks and I couldn’t stop them either. They were tears of happiness. Tears praising the Lord, that HE is so awesome, that He loves us so much, EVERY ONE OF US. At that time I was asking forgiveness, for loosing hope in these kids, for not believing the Lord completely. Thank God that HE never looses hope in us, that he believes in us and gives us another chance. I thank the Lord that I was able to serve Him this summer and I hope I can continue that in the years to come.


Port Charlotte, Florida

    3 Responses to Mission trip to Irkutsk, Russia

    1. admin says:

      What a great testimony.. 🙂

    2. admin says:

      God works in great ways… It’s nice to see that you were in God’s hands while there

    3. Inna says:

      Luda, thank you for posting this article. I rember this trip, but you have a talent to bringing it back to life as it was. It is very encouraging to be reminded. It reinspires me to do it again! May God bless you!!

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