MPPC has been involved in a ministry to children at the Ribnoe Orphanage in Russia
for over 13 years. The Ribnoe orphanage is located approximately three hours south of Moscow
, and houses about 150 children. The orphans in Ribnoe are ages 3 to 18, and about 90% of them are social orphans, wards of the state. They have been taken from parents who are criminals, drug addicts, or who have been neglecting/abusing their children.
Throughout the years, volunteers from our congregation have held summer and winter camps at the orphanage where we can interact with the kids, bringing lots of fun and hugs and the message of Christ. MPPC partnered with Children's Hopechest "CHC" in 2006 in order to continue to provide Christian, character-building programs for the kids. The MPPC Congregation has been key in providing financial support for CHC's programs, including a computer lab, English classes, and vocational training. They now have a lifeskills program in place that helps kids prepare for life outside the orphanage. Lifeskills programs are critical because Russian orphans are sent back into society at age 18, and some as early as 16, with little support. They typically only have access to training that will prepare them for at best, menial jobs. Many orphans become involved in crime or prostitution; 10% commit suicide.
Through the help of MPPC many orphan graduates are finding a better future. Recent graduates have obtained chef's training, access to officer training school in the Russian army, and acceptance to a local university in English classes. These are major accomplishments for any Russian student and dramatically more so for orphans who are generally treated as lower class citizens in Russia.
During our trip to Rybnoe this January, we will build upon the previous trips and CHC's year-round ministry to the kids. The children and staff celebrate the Orthodox Christmas on January 7th, and the vast majority of kids are abandoned by what little family they have for the holiday. Thus, we will spend one week in the orphanage sharing God's love with the kids and making new friendships.