While considering what to write about in this post my mind kept drifting back to one thought and I decided it would be best not to fight it. In his post to the Orphan's Tree blog two weeks ago, Kerry Haps wrote about the power of our imaginations and asked us to imagine what these orphans may one day become. Kerry's post struck a cord as I was reading, particularly because it was one year ago today that I was blessed to be able to see imagination become reality, and I would like to expand on his words. During my first experience working with orphans I became close friends with ten kids at the CHC summer camp where we worked. After I left Russia, we lost contact for more than seven years. I can not count the number of times in those years I would take Kerry's advice and imagine the direction of the lives and stories of my friends since I last saw them. To imagine what the orphans we serve might become is powerful advice and a great tool to stay focused on how to help. And often, we are fortunate enough to see our friends grow into the young people we imagined they might.
On New Years Eve last year, I was reunited with one of my ten friends, Anya B. Since we last saw each other Anya had graduated from the orphanage and then graduated from a teaching college in Ivanovo as well. She had worked with younger orphans at the Ivanovo ministry center and currently attends college in Virginia.
Since then I have been able to reunite with two more of my ten friends from the orphanage. Victor N now studies engineering at a University in St. Petersburg, and Anzhela S became a new mother just a few days before I visited her in Russia. Along the way I have become friends with countless other orphan graduates who also have exceeded all expectations because they imagined all the possibilities of what they could do with their lives. And in many cases they had supporters like you who imagined the wonderful things they could do with their lives and encouraged them every step towards making it a reality.
I pray that one day I will be able to meet my seven other friends again and see the different paths their lives have taken them since we last met. Until then I will continue to imagine all of the directions Christ may take their lives. One thing I don't have to imagine is how happy and loving all of these kids were and the potential each one had. With that knowledge, it is easy to see everything we imagine for them becoming reality.