Throughout the years, volunteers from our church have traveled to Russia where we can interact with the kids, bringing lots of fun and hugs and the message of Christ. Garber has been key in providing financial support for Children's Hope Chest (CHC) programs, including eye examinations, vocational training, medical assistance and more. There is also a life skills program that helps kids prepare for life outside the orphanage. Russian orphans are often sent back into society at age 18 and some as early as 16 - with little support. Many orphans become involved in crime or prostitution; 10% commit suicide. During our trip to Russia in April of 2012, we took our second medical “team.” In November 2011, a “building” team went to represent Garber with five travelers. In January, 2011, we were able to do vision, dental and general medical examinations and to build upon our previous trips and CHC’s year-round ministry to the kids. We celebrated the orthodox Easter on April 15, 2012 with the kids from both orphanages sharing God’s love with us. We were able to do this for the first time Christmas of 2011 and to quote Anne Robertson, “I saw God smile as He looked at His children together.”
Thanks to GUMC’s continuing generosity and the support of fundraising efforts for CHC!
Our 2014 trip was, for the first time, composed of both adults and high school students -- and it was a great success! It was amazing to see the immediate bond between the Russian children and the US kids, a bond that transcended cultures and language barriers! Lasting relationships were formed and God was truly represented in the ministry done by our team.
Currently, the CHC planning team is meeting and discussing the 2015 trip plans. This trip will most likely encompass medical screenings for vision and dental problems.. Dates and plans will be announced by January 2015.