How Your Partnership with Allies is Transforming Lives

One of Many: A Story of One Orphan and How You’re Making a Difference


Although 2020 has been a uniquely difficult year for all of us, can you imagine what it’s like for an orphan who has to endure isolation, hopelessness, and trauma every day of every year? I want to tell you about Zhenya whose experience is pretty typical for an orphan. Please sit back and reflect on his story as he represents so many more dear children and what YOU have done to change the future for so many little ones.

Zhenya’s life may have started with tragedy, BUT GOD had other plans. When God weaves a story together, amazing things happen...miraculous things. Zhenya was born in a Russian hospital and left there by his mother due to alcoholism, desperation, and poverty. He never knew his birth date and didn’t even know the meaning of the word “mother”.

He entered the orphanage as a baby and for 13 years was subjected to all of the difficulties and hardships of living in an orphanage including near starvation, bullying, fighting to survive, depression, abuse, and lack of the most basic necessities. Most orphanage directors are unable and unwilling to control the problems within the orphanage walls, leaving orphans vulnerable and unprotected.

You see, orphans are exposed to the same trials that inmates experience in prison. Sexual and physical abuse abounds. There is an unspoken status system within that is led by a gang leader, inflicting unbearable fear, anxiety, and harassment among the others. No one checks on these one really cares, especially during a year of lockdown due to a contagious disease. They are left, behind closed doors and closed windows, with no hope.


YOU Provided a Mentor for an Orphan

The Allies Mentoring Program (AMP) is the core of how the lives of orphans are changed. Area volunteers spend time visiting them, guiding them, and teaching them important life skills. These mentors give them necessary human connection that tragic circumstances often prevented them from experiencing in their own families.

Instead of being just a number in a crowded orphanage, they are instead given friends to visit them regularly and build relationships that will carry them into a brighter tomorrow.

BUT GOD hears their cries and is using your hands to provide loving help through the Allies Mentoring Program showing orphans they are not alone and that they have a trusted friend. Zhenya wonders how different his life could have been with a mentor by his side while living in an orphanage. Even during this tough year when volunteers have not been able to visit orphans, they are still staying in touch with them...teaching them, loving them, and delivering supplies when able. Even the most basic items are such a blessing to orphans.

Zhenya remembers how he felt when he received his own bar of soap for the first time in his life as a young orphan and knows how much it means for other orphans to have this simple need met.Along with meeting the physical needs of orphans, your support also helps meet their spiritual needs. Orphans are rarely taught about God and very few have heard about Jesus, BUT GOD runs after all of His precious children. There is typically no one to teach these children about the love of Jesus, BUT GOD has a way to reach them. He is using you to spread the gospel and let orphans know that God loves and cares for them.

Zhenya heard God speak to him through nature and a few believers he met briefly along the way. It was during one of these chance encounters that he was encouraged to pray. Once he did, his world changed forever. Through all the hardship, neglect, and deprivation, Zhenya met the Lord and you are helping to provide that opportunity for other orphans through Allies mentors and summer camps.


YOU Sent Orphans to Summer Camp

Summer camps are a big part of showing the love of Christ to orphans. Camp is where they get a break from their stressful lives, experience nature, and most importantly --- discover God’s love for them through caring counselors, games, crafts, and other fun activities.

Zhenya’s future looked bleak without programs like these, BUT GOD had other plans. Soon after reaching 13, he was adopted by a loving family from the U.S. and for the next 13 years, he had all he needed. But that’s not the end of the story. It may be a happy ending, BUT GOD wasn’t done. There was a stirring deep within Zhenya and then a calling. And as we know, once you are called, you simply can’t turn a deaf ear.

So of all things, Zhenya returned to Russia to work in an orphanage! That’s right, an orphanage similar to the one he escaped at 13 years old. Returning meant giving up the comforts of living in the U.S. --- security, companionship, and more --- but he went anyway.

“I try the best I can to live out my life according to His will,” Zhenya said. And the Lord’s will was for Zhenya to return to Russia and serve orphans. For three years, Zhenya worked as an Allies English instructor and mentor to over fifty children. Times were very hard, filled with disappointment and heartbreak.


YOU Shipped Supplies to Orphans

Travel plans to other countries may have been put on hold in 2020, but that didn’t stop you from showing orphans they have not been forgotten by shipping 204 boxes overseas! Sending boxes of clothing, shoes, hygiene products, school supplies, crafts, and other supplies to orphanages is an important part of meeting the needs of orphans. And these boxes couldn’t be shipped without people like you providing the in-kind donations and volunteering to pack the boxes.

But he often had the opportunity to teach the gospel to the children and at times truly saw a glimpse of hope when a child was beginning to believe. And while in Russia, Zhenya experienced firsthand what your support is doing for orphans through providing mentors, supplies, summer camps, and building projects. When it was time for Zhenya to return home to the U.S. in spring 2020 as planned, there seemed no way to do so...

BUT GOD made a way. After many changed plans, he made it back safely to Texas in August. Zhenya is now working stateside with Allies as an is Associate of Donor Relations. Why? He wants to raise more awareness and therefore produce more help for the children. He knows only too well what YOU do for orphans:

Allies provide a shining light for kids who see their future bathed in hopeless darkness. When you provide a mentor in the life of an orphan, it gives them a glimpse of hope in their future. Allies paints a picture of success in the lives of orphans. Little things to us, like a bar of soap or a comb, is a world changing perspective for them.

YOU Helped Complete Building Projects

Your support provided a new dormitory and finished basement as well as finishing touches on a home for a family in Maykop that has adopted and fostered many children for more than 15 years.

You also helped complete Zhenya’s housing in Russia. That house will still be used by Zhenya during summer visits to continue to mentor and teach the orphans there, as well as be used by other U.S. interns who will do the same work.

YOU Made Our First Virtual Banquet a Success

Our virtual event was broadcast from The Country Network in Fort Worth in September where watch parties were held in churches and homes to learn about Allies and how to help orphans.

We held an online silent auction and broadcast our live auction and still raised $126,000 for orphans despite the pandemic!

There are few who want to make a difference in the lives of orphans who hold the lowest status in society. BUT GOD is using YOU to make a huge difference.

Your willingness to support orphans even during a year of so much uncertainty has been such a blessing. One of the biggest changes for Allies this year was being unable to hold the usual Color Their World event the way we have for many years. BUT GOD still made a way to raise money for orphans through a virtual event!

Zhenya sings your praises. As as an Ally for orphans:

You are the behind-the-scenes angels. Imagine there is a great river and you fall in. You try desperately to survive and finally an angel comes to rescue you. You don’t know who it was, but you were saved. Allies are holy saints who give them these gifts. One day God will bless those who give in secret, when they meet the very ones who they saved. This is how Zhenya says it best:

“Be blessed and be a blessing to others.” YOU are that a blessing to others – precious orphans – who would have nothing without your help.


YOU Gave an Orphan a Tutor

Imagine being 16-years-old and put out on the street all alone? That’s what many orphans are forced to do, but Allies is there to guide them into a bright future rather than being at high risk for addiction, suicide, and human trafficking. Besides AMP, the tutoring program is the other big piece of the puzzle to help orphans. You provided online tutors in 2020 that helped orphans pass the college entrance exam which set them on the path to success!