Genuine Gestures Give Lasting Joy

Simple, genuine gestures can make a huge difference in the lives of orphans. Just ask Allies volunteer Nadezhda. She and other volunteers planned their last trip in 2017 to reunite with children they had met in previous visits.

One of the children is 8-year-old Luba, who suffers from a speech impairment brought about by Down Syndrome. “Last time we were introduced, she was very shy,” Nadezhda recalled. “When she saw us this time, she smiled, came up to me and took my hand. We gave her a doll, and she expressed her happiness by hugging me as she could not say anything. Looking at her, I thought how much childrenlike her need to be happy.”

The day went as any other, but since it was close to Christmas, there was a hint of holiday cheer in the air. The weather had finally cleared enough for the volunteers to take the children out. The boys played an intense football match, while the girls played other games. When they went back inside, the volunteers had the children participating in contests, and the winners were awarded accordingly. In keeping with the season, they also sang a few Christmas songs and listened to a thematic poetry reading from volunteer Julia.

The highlight of the day was the Christmas story, as it was told in the Gospel of Luke. Volunteer Nikolay led the storytelling and succeeding discussion. The program commenced with prayer time and presentation of gifts to the children.

“After the program, as we were about to leave, one girl came up to me and handed me a little Christmas tree that she made with her hands and simply said ‘Thank you,’” Nadezhda shared. “It touched me to tears! The love and gratitude of these children inspire me to come here again and again.



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