One Volunteer’s Experience: Spending Time with Sergey and Sveta

Growing up at the hand of an abusive father, Sergey and Sveta were accustomed to a life barely meeting emotional and basic needs. Memories are very hard to get rid of. Nights are especially difficult, as that is when their father would take in the alcolhol and the nightmares would become reality again, just like the night before. They were finally removed from their father’s care and placed in the orphanage.

Time with Allies volunteers is a special, safe place for children like Sergey and his sister. It is a time where these neglected children can receive love and positive attention – something they grossly lack in the orphanage. It is a time they can learn to thrive. We had such a wonderful time for a week at camp, where we had a chance to watch Sergey and Sveta play with other kids, learn valuable lessons, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

One day while I was sitting on a bench, they came over and sat next to me to get some rest, and I had a chance to spend some time talking with them. They were enjoying every bit of the week!

The eight wonderful days they spent at camp is very different from the world they live in every day. Here they experienced genuine love and care without fear or doubt. Fun activities designed especially for children like them helped them see a different world, one of peace and beauty, designed by the hand of a loving Father.

Sergey and Sveta quickly became very trusting with us, which was especially helpful when sharing valuable life lessons and stories of God’s love. They soaked in with smiles and wonder the miracles told in the Bible and found it easy to talk to their unseen friend Jesus. Their once-mortified minds hungered to discover and learn new things.

During the meals, Sergey was always on the cue for more food like he could not get enough. I think he always had the fear of being hungry. For eight indescribably days, the siblings felt at home and at peace, and coming back to the camp quickly became a dream for them.Volunteering your time at a camp or orphanage is a life-changing experience. As an adult, meeting the children who live there, seeing their reality, witnessing the depth of their need for permanency changes you. I never imagined that those children could have touched my life so deeply during those eight days.

This experience taught me to love, to do hard things and to put others first. We always stress that the orphans gain so much from our presence and our sacrifices, but I firmly believe that we gain so much from them too. I am forever changed for the better because of these wonderful children.