Friday, November 18, 2011

A Pair of Shoes

I just finished reading "Red Letters" by Tom Davis.  In Chapter 9: Snapshots of Hope, Davis recounts the story of a young woman living in Russia.  As you read the story below I encourage you to think of the orphans we are trying to help through Christmas for Russia.

Natasha Koryakina is a second-year university student in Russia, majoring in foreign languages.  She looks like any happy normal Russian young woman, and you might guess she comes from a happy normal home.  You'd be guessing wrong.  Her happiness isn't the product of a wonderful family life.  In fact, her past is marked by pain, abandonment, and abuse.  So where did she find her smile?  

It was a gift handed to her by a man name George Steiner.

"I still remember how George put shoes on my feet when I was at Neya orphanage.  It was me and another boy from my class.  We still talk about it every time we get together.  That small, little moment changed our lives in a profound way."

In the ten years that have passed since that "small, little moment," Natasha graduated from one of the worst orphanages in the Kostroma region and entered a tech school in Kostroma.  She eventually got plugged in to the Ministry Center and graduated from her tech school with honors before being accepted to Kostroma State University, a truly rare accomplishment (less than 1 percent of orphans reach this milestone).

The odds were against Natasha.  Most girls living in Russian orphanages are forced to leave when they turn fifteen or sixteen.  Within two years of their release, 15 percent commit suicide and 60 percent end up as prostitutes.

But when George Steiner put those shoes on her feet, he tipped the scale just enough with his encouragement and compassion to help her rise above the statistics.  

His small act helped her believe in herself.  

Natasha will never forget George.  All he did was give her shoes.  But God used those shoes to help Natasha walk into a wonderful, new hope-filled life.

Can you imagine that this simple act of kindness changed Natasha's life forever?  One pair of shoes saved her life!

Think about how a small box of presents given with love this Christmas can bring just enough hope to these children to get them through the day, week, month...maybe the rest of their lives.

Please consider supporting an orphan in Russia today!  These children are always on the top of God's priority list, make them the top of your list this Christmas!

Visit and ACT today!


MyRachTN said...

Thank you for reminding me why I shouldn't read your blog posts at work! (At least, not with my office door open and an empty box of tissues.) Love it!

Madeline & Andy said...

Amazing how something that seems small and insignificant to us can mean so much to another. I think we all take too much for granted; food, shelter, clothing. This story helps me realize that our excesses are someone's needs or wishes and we need to share our blessings with others more often. It could mean the path to a better life for an innocent child. God has blessed us all with more than enough, let's pass it on.