This is what its all about

Vika and Stephanie

If you’ve followed our adventures for any length of time, there’s a good chance you’ve heard us mention Sveta.  Miki first met her in 2001 in an orphanage for disabled children – of which she was diagnosed with a “milder” disability.   If you want some back story on Sveta and her life, check out some of our past newsletters on our blog or website.  (Dec 07, Jan 08, Aug 09, Mar12)

Lets just say that Miki and I think she’s a miracle.  While most of the people in her life have fallen away into depression, drugs, incarceration or death, somehow Sveta is still here.  Very few orphans succeed after graduating out of the system, but here she is:  living on her own, working a steady job and raising two daughters, Vika and Stephanie.

It hasn’t been easy.  Sveta’s made mistakes along the way, for sure.  One thing that she had going for her, however, was an aunt who was always present in her life.  She helped Sveta during the down times, even taking her in during challenging periods.  Another positive was our family’s presence in her life.  Sveta has always kept up with us and made sure we knew how she was doing.  We’ve celebrated birthdays, holidays and births together.  And Sveta was never ashamed to ask for help when times got tough.  We’ve fed her, clothed her, furnished her, moved her, prayed for her – whatever her and her two girls needed.

You know what this looks like?  It looks like family.

At some point along the way these 12 years, Sveta changed from one of our “orphan projects” to simply one of our most dear sisters in Christ.

And just like your families, ours have grown.  Now our visits to Sveta are even sweeter with her precious kids laughing and playing around our tea and conversation.  I’ll admit that sometimes it can be overwhelming to think that I may be the only male presence in these little girls lives.  As a parent with three kids of my own, I understand the importance of that.  So when you’re there, you play a little longer, hug them a little tighter and try to give them some positive concept of men.  How else would they ever learn to trust their “Father” in heaven?

 So much has changed since that summer in 2001 when Miki met Sveta in that orphanage.  Our work has dramatically changed from what we began doing then – some of it because of government scrutiny, some of it thru the Lord’s leading.  The passion for orphans and street kids has never diminished for Miki and I, and in many cases the relationships now (and our roles) are much deeper than simply delivering diapers, or repairing roofs or buying medicines – all of which still happens. God continually shows us how intertwined the Kingdom of God really is!  As John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

So now Miki prays and offers retreats with shelter and church volunteers who minister to Sveta during the week.  When Sveta visits the Methodist Church service around the corner from her house, the songs she sings during worship I helped produce thru our music ministry.  When Sveta gathers with The Grace Center fellowship for homeless mothers, some of the supplies and salaries are covered by us.  Our role just keeps expanding.

Just as Sveta and her children consider us family, so also do we count you as a part of ours.  Without your love and support, we know there would be no way we could live here and do this work.  And just as Sveta trusts us to come to us in times of need, so now are we coming to you in ours.

We’ve had a rough week of unexpected challenges.

First, we’ve just learned that our ministry account is in the red once again.  We made it exactly one year in the black from the first time we had a deficit.  Second, our car just broke down.  And estimates for the repairs are around 1800 USD.  And winter is just starting here in Estonia – which is when the utilities bill hurts when it arrives!

So here’s some specific things you can do for us:
  • Pray for us
  • Consider supporting us with a monthly, quarterly or one-time donation.
  • If you already support us financially, please pass this message on to folks who you feel may want to support our work.  Please advocate for us with your neighbors, co-workers, family and definitely your Sunday school classes and church!
  • Charlie will need to travel to the US to do some fundraising early next year.  Our whole family can’t afford to travel this time – plus Isabel is in school now, which makes scheduling travel more difficult.  We need help with airfare costs.  Many of you are business travelers and have lots of airline miles.  Would you consider donating some towards a ticket for Charlie?
  • Once Charlie’s in the states, he needs opportunities to speak to your church groups and missions boards.  He’ll also need places to sleep while on the road. Can you help?

As we enter into this week of Thanksgiving, please know that we are thankful for each and every one of you.  Not only have you blessed our family, but you’ve made a tremendous impact on the lives of at-risk kids in Russia for these last 12 years.  Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the Kingdom!

Let us know how you’re doing, and may God bless you.

Charlie (and Miki, Isabel, Jasper and Celia)

Ways to donate to this ministry:

To make a donation by check:  Send a check to the following address, noting “Chastain/Russia 322” in the memo:

The Mission Society

6234 Crooked Creek Road

Norcross, GA 30092

 To make a donation by credit card or debit:  

Go to our website: http://www.actsofadvocacy.org and click on “Give” to go to the Mission Society “donations” page.

 To make a monthly pledge:  

Either contact us via email or phone (678-436-3016) so that we can send you the appropriate documentation, or go to our website: http://www.actsofadvocacy.org and click on “Give” to go to the Mission Society “donations” page.

 

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