Marisa and Devin's support letter for this year:
Well, I bet you thought you were getting Zac’s usual
As you probably remember, we go as a team from Mariner’s Church to the same orphanage in
On my first trip there, one of the little girls captured my heart (they all did but this one especially). When the organization we run our trips through began a year round sponsorship program at our orphanage our family started sponsoring this girl. Recently I received a letter from her. It was one of those ‘letters to your sponsor’, where they ask the child questions. One of the questions they asked was “What is the best thing that happened to you during the year?” Her response: “When the Americans come at winter camp!” (she doesn’t know that her sponsors are a part of that group). So if that is the best thing that happens to her all year, I want it to keep happening!!
You all know from Zac’s previous letters – the situations and the wretched and abusive backgrounds and families these kids come from. While all of that is truly heart-wrenching, the thing that tugs at my heart the most is the reality, that when we leave, they don’t. This is their life, with no mother or father to comfort them when they need it. No really safe place to be, no privacy, and no place to escape to. Don’t get me wrong, they are well cared for there, the staff is great, but that is what they are, staff, not family. As a parent, I can’t help but look at the children and be stunned by that reality – this is home for them - everyday, all day, holidays, summer, it just doesn’t change. I get to leave and come home to my nice house, my nice family, my nice life – and there they stay. As you can imagine, leaving there is hard.
Why do we do this year after year? We are building lives and hope – letting these kids know that someone out there cares about them enough to get to know them, and loves them enough to keep going back to see them whether they have a family or home or not! For whatever reason and for many reasons, these kids have spoken to our hearts. They are throw away children in their own country, so we have adopted them and we let them know that they – like all of us – have worth and value.
And, we let them know that they aren’t going to be abandoned just because they leave the orphanage either. There is the ministry center (where everything is free to the young person) that has been set up to help the kids when they age out of the orphanage (at 16 or 17). They can go to this center for meals and dental services, as well as to learn computer skills, job skills, and life skills. The center also provides help for those students from the orphanage who want to continue on to college, as well as a place for the kids to gather and stay connected to each other. This goes a long way towards helping keep them from living on the streets of
However, most important for me is the relationships we build with the kids there: the love that we give to them, and receive from them—they touch our hearts and lives as much, if not more, than we touch theirs, and this year Devin gets to experience all of that too!
I know that things are difficult for everyone everywhere these days. Please don’t feel obligated if this is not your year to give to this endeavor. I also know that some of you feel that you are partners in this with us. That you have taken these kids on as your own as well, and that you welcome this opportunity to help get us there each year and bring some brightness into the kid’s lives.
We ask first for all of your prayers and good thoughts, and appreciate every one of them. The second thing we ask for are monetary gifts to help get us there and put on this camp. The cost of the trip includes our travel expenses, as well as covering the gifts we bring the kids and staff and the cost of all we do while at the orphanage. Everything you send goes to the trip and the kids.
We are coming up on this fast, so if you would like to contribute to our trip, please send your check made out to Mariner’s Church (it will be tax deductible only if it is made out to Mariner’s Church) to:
ATTN: Len Banks
225 S. Cabrillo Hwy.
Please note that it is for Russia for Marisa & Devin Atsatt
Please include your name and address – you will be sent a receipt for tax purposes, and an update / thank you at the end of the trip with pictures See links to last years pictures below
See links to last years pictures below
Thank you in advance for your prayers, thoughts, and dollars!
Marisa and Devin