Looking into the face of need....what am I to do?

Dear Friend in Christ,

The main lobby door opens at the hotel, and in walks Vitalik, ready to accompany me to the bus stop to rendevous with Marina Petrova (our Latvian staff) and Laura and Ieva Galgainiece as they have ridden the train from Rezekne to meet me, and all go to church.

Joining us is 22 year old Ruslan, a young man who came to camp for the first time (last August) and who there prayed to receive Christ.

From L-R: Ruslan, Vitalik,Ieva, Laura, after church service

We'll travel together, worship together at church, enjoy fellowship at lunch, and then meet one-on-one to catch up, encourage, pray, and see how they are doing.

I must tell you about each of these wonderful orphans, young people who are growing in Christ, and seizing the opportunity our 'Fresh Start' program gives them....but there is not space, so I want to relate one meeting, one story, one life...

It's Ruslan, our newest participant in the 'Fresh Start' program (if we can rally the funds to help him).

I honestly don't mean to be a bother, or to sound like a broken record, but when we are still $6300 away from meeting the needs that include the 'Fresh Start' program, it becomes so real as I sit across the table from Ruslan...

Forgive me, but when you've stared into the face of such need, and looked into eyes searching desperately for hope, you cannot be silent.

Sitting before me is a 22 year old, wearing the jeans we bought him at camp last month, and the shoes , too. He has nothing....and we begin to discuss his life, and how we can help.

On the bus ride, Marina whispered to me, "Maxim (her husband and our staff as well) visited Ruslan this morning, and saw a rat in his kitchen," and she held her hands apart to describe a rodent at least one foot long, "His conditions are worse than what Vitalik was in before we helped him."

Those words echoed in my mind. Ruslan is a quiet young man, but Marina says ever since camp he really trusts me, so it wasn't surprising that he opened up about his life.

I asked him what he remembers best from the camp, "Well, it is where I opened my heart to God, and I haven't had a drink ever since then..." Amazing words, coming from a young man who only knew one way to deal with his mountain of problems and hopelessness --- drinking!

We talked more....he is in school, working to get his diploma, and then he wants to continue on. But what you may not understand is, if he doesn't have help, it will be impossible.

Finding him a decent apartment is job one; helping him by putting food on his table is next, and then buying him some more clothes to go with his lone pair of jeans, and one pair of shoes...

But they tell me we still are $6300 short of what we need for this month!

What can I do? That is why I am sitting here, in Riga, Latvia, trying to put into words what we see, and what we hear, and what we feel...for when you've stared in the face of such need, and looked into eyes searching for hope....you have to do something.

Yes, we have a severe economic crisis in America....but I remember the saying, "I complained that I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."

Ruslan is a real person, sitting with his hands folded, his head bowed, before me....Marina Petrova and I have just determined what it will take to add Ruslan to our 'Fresh Start' program....his rent to get him away from that rat infested existence, putting food on the table,m helping with clothes, medical expenses, transportation to and from school, so he can move on with his education, so he can move on with his life in the Lord.

It will add $750 a month to our current commitments....

If not us? Who? If not now, when?

Please forgive me for beating a dead horse, but what am I to do looking into this face, and these eyes?

If you would like to give to help us erase the $6300 need remaining, and to say 'Yes!' to Ruslan, and Lord willing, others. I invite you to click on the link here and make a donation to make a difference:


Thank you so much, as we partner to "do unto the least of these."

Gratefully yours, in Christ, Greg

Laura & Ieva worship the Lord at church

Breaking bread together at lunch...a wonderful time of fellowship! L-R: Ieva, Ruslan, Vitalik, Laura

My last meeting of the day: Vitalik Pashin. We've known each other since he was nine years old at Bulduri Orphanage; now he's 22 years old

Ruslan and Vitalik 'catch up' on the busride from church

I was able to meet with each 'Fresh Start' participant in a time of encouragement, update, ascertaining needs, hearing about their lives and school. Sisters Laura and Ieva...


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