Imagine you are…..
- abandoned at three days old
- found in a trash can
- raised in a Soviet orphanage
- abused repeatedly by an adoptive father
- found freezing on the winter streets of St. Petersburg
- thrown in jail
- beaten and abused by peers
- forced to carry the body a young friend to the outskirts of town for burial
If I had experienced only one or two of these events, I’d break. Fall apart. IF I survived it, I’d need years of expensive therapy to recover even slightly.
My friend Alex lived through all of this before he reached fifteen.
Today, Alex runs a ministry called The Harbor, which operates transitional homes and life skills programs in Russia, embracing forgotten teenage orphans.
Alex’s unique ministry focuses on young men and women who yearn for change but lack the life skills to pull themselves out on their own. The Harbor offers teens aging out of the Russian orphanage system an opportunity to break the inevitable cycle of drugs and crime and prostitution.
This week we were honored to open our home for Alex, welcoming him into our kitchen to prepare a meal and share his story for some of our friends.
We laughed a lot.
We used a lot of band-aids.
Mostly, we sat mesmerized that one human being could experience what Alex has experienced. Enduring horrors no one should ever endure. Watching friends die. Burying them in unmarked graves outside the city limits just because they are fatherless.
But Alex proves that there’s infinitely more to life…Finding hope through hopelessness, laughter overcoming fear, love in the face of darkness.
Alex has reminded me that the global orphan crisis is real, but there is hope. As long as we get involved.