One of the first memories of visiting an orphanage is back in 1994. I was speaking at a Pastor's conference in the city of Perm, Russia and was asked if I would want to visit an orphanage? I was excited to visit these kids. When I got there I could hardly believe my eyes. There were 117 children at this orphanage that were between 8 and 16 years old. Most of them were dressed in not much more than rags. There shoes were worn out and many just had rags on their feet. The children were unkept and dirty. When asked by the director if I would like to take a tour of the orphanage I jumped at the opportunity.
On tour I was prompted by the Lord to look for toys. You know, a doll for a girl, a car or ball for a boy. Throughout the whole orphanage the only toy I saw was a single broken roller skate. I went into one of the bedrooms for girls. There were 19 beds in this one room and they were so close to each other that in order for some of the girls to get to their bed had to walk on top of other beds just to get to their own bed.
I looked under the beds and in what few closets there were and to my dismay I saw rat droppings everywhere. One of the children had caught a rat and made a pet out of it as well. I had the privilege of telling these children about God's love for them and many, if not all, raised their hands for their sins to be forgiven and to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
That night I went back to my hotel and began to weep and ask God to send someone to help these orphans. I wept and pleaded with God most of the night. Finally early in the morning when I again asked God to send someone to help these kids I heard a voice in my head that said, "OK John, you help them!" I was stunned and didn't have any idea what to do. I made all kinds of excuses as to why I couldn't help. I told God that I had to Pastor in America. I told Him I didn't understand the Russian language. I made more excuses than you can imagine as to why I shouldn't help but nothing persuaded God to change His mind.
By blind faith my wife and I stepped out to help the Russian orphans. Tens of thousands of them have been helped by our ministry and God has expanded our work to include other nations as well.
We are so blessed.
Dr. John Shane