The hands and heart of our ministry

Helping just one orphan to attain family life and develop healthy relationships is a big undertaking, and Orphan’s Tree touches hundreds of orphans each year. To do that and do it well, it takes professionals, volunteers, and other orphans from both the US and Russia.


Meet the staff

Our staff includes both Americans and Russians working full-time to enable the ministry of Orphan’s Tree. Combined, our staff has nearly 200 years of experience working with Russian orphans, and some of our Russian staff are orphans themselves. Our US headquarters are in Colorado Springs, CO. 

 
  George Steiner, President |  Born in a missionary family, George has always been interested in people of different cultures. But when he was sent on his first trip to Russia in 1991 with International Bible Society, he did not know how life-changing that trip would become. When distributing scriptures in Russian orphanages in 1993, George knew something more had to be done for the children. 

George Steiner, President | Born in a missionary family, George has always been interested in people of different cultures. But when he was sent on his first trip to Russia in 1991 with International Bible Society, he did not know how life-changing that trip would become. When distributing scriptures in Russian orphanages in 1993, George knew something more had to be done for the children. 

  Rebecca Peterson, Partner Relations Director |  Rebecca Peterson serves as the Partner Relations Director for Orphan’s Tree. In that role she manages the ministry’s communications and development. Having traveled to Russia numerous times since she was 17, Rebecca has a huge heart for orphan care and works to find and encourage others with that same passion. After earning a degree in Elementary Education, Rebecca joined the staff of Orphan’s Tree in 2012.

Rebecca Peterson, Partner Relations Director | Rebecca Peterson serves as the Partner Relations Director for Orphan’s Tree. In that role she manages the ministry’s communications and development. Having traveled to Russia numerous times since she was 17, Rebecca has a huge heart for orphan care and works to find and encourage others with that same passion. After earning a degree in Elementary Education, Rebecca joined the staff of Orphan’s Tree in 2012.

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  Pastor John Smith, PhD , Church Liaison   |  While serving as Senior Pastor of Concord United Methodist Church near Pittsburgh, PA, Pastor John made his first trip to Russia with George Steiner in 1995. He later said that Russia was far down on his list of places he wanted to go on a mission trip, but went because of his friendship with the Steiner family. He planned to do one trip. That was over 20 trips ago. God gave Pastor John a heart for Russia and its orphans. 

Pastor John Smith, PhD , Church Liaison | While serving as Senior Pastor of Concord United Methodist Church near Pittsburgh, PA, Pastor John made his first trip to Russia with George Steiner in 1995. He later said that Russia was far down on his list of places he wanted to go on a mission trip, but went because of his friendship with the Steiner family. He planned to do one trip. That was over 20 trips ago. God gave Pastor John a heart for Russia and its orphans. 

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  Jenya Haps, Vice President |  Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Jenya received her degree from Moscow Linguistic University. Although developing a successful career as a translator and interpreter in the rapidly changing business world of perestroika-era Russia, it was her visits to orphanages with International Bible Society that really changed her life. Moved and burdened by the dire needs of orphans, Jenya felt a calling to serve those without families. 

Jenya Haps, Vice President | Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Jenya received her degree from Moscow Linguistic University. Although developing a successful career as a translator and interpreter in the rapidly changing business world of perestroika-era Russia, it was her visits to orphanages with International Bible Society that really changed her life. Moved and burdened by the dire needs of orphans, Jenya felt a calling to serve those without families. 

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  Cindy Tupper, Assistant to the President |  Raised in a churched home, Cindy really didn’t begin developing her relationship with the Lord until after leaving home and beginning her own family. The desire to see others find their true faith and have a solid support system at a much earlier age than her, led her to service in children and youth ministry. She took her first trip to Russia in 1998 as a co-leader of a high school ministry team. 

Cindy Tupper, Assistant to the President | Raised in a churched home, Cindy really didn’t begin developing her relationship with the Lord until after leaving home and beginning her own family. The desire to see others find their true faith and have a solid support system at a much earlier age than her, led her to service in children and youth ministry. She took her first trip to Russia in 1998 as a co-leader of a high school ministry team. 

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The orphans we serve

Orphan’s Tree focuses on orphans who are out of orphanages—typically kids who are over the age of 16 Most would be considered social orphans, meaning they have at least one living parent who lost their parental rights, frequently due to crime or abuse. Most are also the grandchildren of orphans; it’s a cycle that keeps repeating.

We work both with kids just out of orphanages, as well as older orphans starting families. Some will stay in touch with us for decades, others will work with Orphan’s Tree just for a season. 

 
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Volunteering on two sides of the globe

In serving orphans we believe that we join the heart of God, and that’s a benefit we want to share with everyone! Americans or Russians, orphan or families: Everyone has something to share. 

Typically, about 100 Americans travel to Russia with us annually, and many more give generously. Orphans in our programs are involved in peer-to-peer mentoring, as well as volunteering of their time with widows, churches, and orphanages in their local communities. Interested to travel with us?

 
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Board of directors

Orphan’s Tree believes in accountability and learning from the wisdom of others. It’s why we have a board of directors with financial, programmatic, and staff oversite. Our board includes voices from both Russia and the US, and is comprised of some of our most committed and experienced volunteers. 

 
  Chris Busch |  Chris hails from the small town of New Brighton in Western Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he now lives with his wife of 44 years, Linda. Chris earned his MBA from the University of Tulsa, and has served in executive capacities as well as starting several small businesses. He is the founder and CEO of LightQuest Media, Inc., a company that serves ministries and nonprofits by extending their outreach.

Chris Busch | Chris hails from the small town of New Brighton in Western Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he now lives with his wife of 44 years, Linda. Chris earned his MBA from the University of Tulsa, and has served in executive capacities as well as starting several small businesses. He is the founder and CEO of LightQuest Media, Inc., a company that serves ministries and nonprofits by extending their outreach.

  Brooke Patterson |  Brooke lives in Zelienople, PA (about 23 miles north of Pittsburgh)with her dog, Penny Lane. She graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2002, and is currently serving the congregation of Harmony-Zelienople United Methodist Church as Director of Kids and Student Ministries. Her first trip to Russia was in November 2008 and she has returned to Russia ten times since then.

Brooke Patterson | Brooke lives in Zelienople, PA (about 23 miles north of Pittsburgh)with her dog, Penny Lane. She graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2002, and is currently serving the congregation of Harmony-Zelienople United Methodist Church as Director of Kids and Student Ministries. Her first trip to Russia was in November 2008 and she has returned to Russia ten times since then.

  Meredith Steiner |  Meredith resides in Portland, OR with her charming cattle dog, Lucy.  She graduated from the University of Colorado and is currently the Managing Director of a Portland-based digital marketing agency. Meredith has traveled to Russia a half-dozen times since 1994. Over the years, she has worked at a camp in Vladimir, visited orphanages in Kostroma, Ivanovo and  Vladimir, and partnered with a number of ministry centers.

Meredith Steiner | Meredith resides in Portland, OR with her charming cattle dog, Lucy.  She graduated from the University of Colorado and is currently the Managing Director of a Portland-based digital marketing agency. Meredith has traveled to Russia a half-dozen times since 1994. Over the years, she has worked at a camp in Vladimir, visited orphanages in Kostroma, Ivanovo and  Vladimir, and partnered with a number of ministry centers.

  Stacy Moulton |  Stacy was raised in Northern California and attended UC Davis where she earned a BS in Human Development. She then went on to Cal State Los Angeles to earn her teaching credentials. Following that, she taught for five years in the Los Angeles area before starting her family.She and her husband Rob moved to Colorado in 2004. Rob is self-employed and owns Blue Peak Solutions. 

Stacy Moulton | Stacy was raised in Northern California and attended UC Davis where she earned a BS in Human Development. She then went on to Cal State Los Angeles to earn her teaching credentials. Following that, she taught for five years in the Los Angeles area before starting her family.She and her husband Rob moved to Colorado in 2004. Rob is self-employed and owns Blue Peak Solutions. 

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  Mark Elliott, PhD |  Mark lives in Wilmore, Kentucky with his wife Darlene. He is a retired professor of history having taught at Asbury College, Wheaton College (IL), Samford University and Southern Wesleyan University. While at Wheaton College he served as director of the East-West Christian Studies for 13 years. And during his tenure at Samford, he served for six years as the director of the Global Center at Beeson Divinity School.

Mark Elliott, PhD | Mark lives in Wilmore, Kentucky with his wife Darlene. He is a retired professor of history having taught at Asbury College, Wheaton College (IL), Samford University and Southern Wesleyan University. While at Wheaton College he served as director of the East-West Christian Studies for 13 years. And during his tenure at Samford, he served for six years as the director of the Global Center at Beeson Divinity School.

  Katya Smyslova |  Katya is an attorney with 36 years of experience specializing in non-profit and religious organizations. She has served as a member of the board of directors for numerous International Charitable and faith-based organizations. Katya has three sons, two who also live in Moscow and one residing in the Ural Mountains.

Katya Smyslova | Katya is an attorney with 36 years of experience specializing in non-profit and religious organizations. She has served as a member of the board of directors for numerous International Charitable and faith-based organizations. Katya has three sons, two who also live in Moscow and one residing in the Ural Mountains.

  Thomas Bennett, PhD |  Tom is a successful banker in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Together with his wife Sue, they founded First Oklahoma Bank in 2009. Previously they pioneered Oklahoma National Bank in 1999 and sold it in 2007. Tom has degrees from Oklahoma State University, MPA from Harvard and PhD from Oklahoma State University. He and Sue have been very involved in promoting business in Oklahoma for many years.

Thomas Bennett, PhD | Tom is a successful banker in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Together with his wife Sue, they founded First Oklahoma Bank in 2009. Previously they pioneered Oklahoma National Bank in 1999 and sold it in 2007. Tom has degrees from Oklahoma State University, MPA from Harvard and PhD from Oklahoma State University. He and Sue have been very involved in promoting business in Oklahoma for many years.

  Sue Awes |  Now retired after many years in direct sales and leading Walk Thru the Bible seminars, Sue enjoys writing a weekly blog, painting, and spending time with her 5 adult children and 11 grandchildren.  She has traveled to Russia on three occasions to foster life skills with groups of orphaned girls. Sue and her husband Mel live in Minneapolis and are members of a young Anglican community.

Sue Awes | Now retired after many years in direct sales and leading Walk Thru the Bible seminars, Sue enjoys writing a weekly blog, painting, and spending time with her 5 adult children and 11 grandchildren.  She has traveled to Russia on three occasions to foster life skills with groups of orphaned girls. Sue and her husband Mel live in Minneapolis and are members of a young Anglican community.

  Dan Duffy |  Dan resides in Fombell, PA which is less than an hour from Pittsburgh. Dan’s career was primarily in his family’s business where he managed the Sales Department. For the past seven years he has been involved in real estate and farming. Dan and his wife Anita have four children, Danelle, Erica, Brad and Sonya. Sonya was adopted from a Russian orphanage so Russian blood runs in the Duffy family!

Dan Duffy | Dan resides in Fombell, PA which is less than an hour from Pittsburgh. Dan’s career was primarily in his family’s business where he managed the Sales Department. For the past seven years he has been involved in real estate and farming. Dan and his wife Anita have four children, Danelle, Erica, Brad and Sonya. Sonya was adopted from a Russian orphanage so Russian blood runs in the Duffy family!

  Cathy Eskew |  Cathy recently retired as an Associate Pastor in the PC (USA).  She took her first trip to Russia in 2005 and has been a number of times since to work with older orphans. Cathy graduated with a math degree at Whitworth University and a M.Div. at Fuller Seminary.  She lives with her husband Bruce in Colorado Springs where they raised three children. Cathy enjoys being a new grandmother.

Cathy Eskew | Cathy recently retired as an Associate Pastor in the PC (USA).  She took her first trip to Russia in 2005 and has been a number of times since to work with older orphans. Cathy graduated with a math degree at Whitworth University and a M.Div. at Fuller Seminary.  She lives with her husband Bruce in Colorado Springs where they raised three children. Cathy enjoys being a new grandmother.

  David Fish |  David is married to Terri and together they have two adult children, Sarah and Andrew. David and Terri live in Monument, CO and attend Covenant Presbyterian Church. He holds a BSEE degree from California Polytechnic State University. David has held a number of marketing and engineering positions within the telecommunications test industry for Hewlett-Packard and Fluke Networks.

David Fish | David is married to Terri and together they have two adult children, Sarah and Andrew. David and Terri live in Monument, CO and attend Covenant Presbyterian Church. He holds a BSEE degree from California Polytechnic State University. David has held a number of marketing and engineering positions within the telecommunications test industry for Hewlett-Packard and Fluke Networks.



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