A life-changing adventure in Russia

Alice Wood with some of the children she worked with.
Alice Wood with some of the children she worked with.

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The Rev Alice Wood, Assistant Curate of Farlington talks about her positive experience in Russia

WHEN I listen to the news or turn on the TV and see such desperation and suffering across the world I sometimes feel so helpless in the face of it all.

People who are fleeing persecution, war and oppression, people battling addiction, children left abandoned on the street, families struggling to make ends meet.

The challenge to help seems enormous – what difference can I make when there is so much need in the world?

But that’s the point, it’s not up to me or to you to solve all the world’s problems on our own but all of us can do something, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

And that is why I got involved with Love Russia, a Christian charity which aims to reach out in love to orphans, those moving on from orphanages and mothers in crisis.

This summer, I spent eight days in The Moses Centre, a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in a refurbished church building, in Volhov, a town 80 miles east of St Petersburg.

I was one of a group of 16 working with young mothers and their children to help them to get their lives back on track.

Many of the women have tried other state-run rehab programmes but have gone back to drug and/or alcohol dependency.

But the Christian message of love, forgiveness and hope for all, which they receive at the Moses Centre, is the difference which quite literally helps them turn their lives around. On average eight out of 10 women leave to live fulfilled lives.

The programme involves the women going into the town to do cleaning jobs and grow their own vegetables whilst their children are looked after at a nearby centre.

The Moses Centre was a place of laughter and fellowship. Every night we worshiped God with the women, shared our stories of how Jesus was working in our lives, painted each other’s nails and played with the children.

I returned to Farlington tired, grubby and deeply moved. My faith had grown through the impact faith in Jesus had made to the lives of the women I met, and through meeting the band of volunteers who fund the centre.

If you’re looking for a life-changing adventure, I would definitely recommend exploring Love Russia’s website at loverussia.org.

n The parish of Farlington has two churches: St Andrew’s Church, Havant Road, and the Church of the Resurrection in Drayton.