Wednesday, September 24, 2008

AWANA Missions Night - Sadness in Russia

We went to AWANA tonight and the struggling second grader I wrote about in my "Left Out" post, Leann, did show up! She was late, and I was losing hope, but God is good. She came right to my table and I was ecstatic to see her. It didn't seem like she had done any studying (she lost her beginning pamphlet), but her heart seemed to be touched by at least one thing. One of the review questions I had to ask her was "Who does Jesus love?" She smiled at me and said, "He loves God and all of us." Perfect. Thank you, God! I've been praying for this little girl.

Tonight was AWANA Missions Night and we had a guest missionary speaker from Russia do a whole group lesson (AWANA kids are preschoolers - 6th grade). He started by pointing out Russia's flag and place on the map. Then he taught about all the reasons Russian children need Jesus.

1. Only two in ten children live with both their parents. The divorce rate is 80%.

2. Children often get very sick there due to poor medical care and nutritional deficiencies.

3. Children are beaten by their drunken parents very often. The majority of the pop. suffers from alcoholism.

4. The words "I love you" are not spoken to children, or between spouses.

5. Teachers regularly shout at students and call them idiots, in front of the whole class. They believe this is the way to motivate students. Praise is never given.

6. There is enormous pressure on students, especially eighth graders. A test is taken during the eighth grade year that decides who goes to college. Only those who score in the top 20% are allowed to go to college. If you score under that you simply can't go, ever.

7. Grandmothers have a lot of control, and are mean. They are allowed to discipline anyone's children, anywhere they are. They break up marriages, so that their sons will come back to live with them. The society allows all of this. It's just part of the culture.

8. By eleven years old, most children have already gotten drunk, and/or have sniffed.

9. Children are lonely in Russia. Most families only have one child.

I have to admit there's a lot of depressing news in our country right now, given the natural and financial disasters we're suffering, and the disgusting politicizing of it all. But when you consider how people in other countries have to live, we are so blessed. So blessed!

Please pray that Christian workers will flock to Russia, and that they'll be free to teach children and parents about the Great Healer, Jesus Christ!

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