“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)
“The more we come out to the world and the more we give ourselves to the world, the less we are of the world because that which is worldly does not give itself to the world.” (Mother Maria Skobtsova)
The aid project in St. Petersburg for mothers in crisis continues. Mama Maria with two boys was helped to rent a room and left the Diaconal Center. We have a new mother lodging at our center now, named Karina with a 6.5-year-old son Artyom.
Her problems are stereotypical. No registration of residence, no residence, no job. No relatives to support her. Artyom doesn’t talk and needs professional help at Detskaya Psikhiatria (Children’s Psychiatry) Remedial Treatment Center. We’ve started to do the paperwork for them to go to the Center. Since the mother has no job or money, we’ve provided her with groceries.
This summer, our Diaconal Center is going through capital repairs on the heating system, sewers, and plumbing in the house. After another “raid” by the repair workers, the mothers, the kids, and ourselves have to leap over trenches and remove the debris after jackhammer work. But we’re hanging in there, with God’s help. It’s very hard to wash off the cement dust that covers just about everything. Hopefully, this ends soon.
It’s amazing, but thanks to the financial support that comes from members of our church, at the moment our project doesn’t need any money from the Diaconal Department’s budget. Many thanks to all the people who support our work! We hope the project continues to grow.
Some people say we cater too much to the moms. It may be true. However, the work of a crisis center like this one is very much like the work of a palliative care hospice. We take those who have no prospects in life and no hopes for the better. And we walk with them, hoping for God’s help and providence. Hoping that since He has brought us those in need of help, He will also provide us with the resources and the energy needed. And it will make a difference. We are happy that tonight our children and moms will be fed and will sleep in a warm place. We are happy that the children will go to bed after evening prayer and that they enjoy listening to the reading of the children’s Bible. We are happy that some of them have come to God in the Sacrament of Baptism in our church. We believe that anyone who has come to know God’s love for themselves, will seek to share it with others.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” (2 Cor. 13:13).
Aleksandr Smirnov, head of the ELCIR Diaconal Center