From Raleigh to Russia With Love
For Jordan Waters, the count down had begun – the day when Sasha would return from Russia. It had been a long year and she had missed him terribly. Only 6 more weeks!
How does a teenager from Raleigh, North Carolina grow to love a little Russian boy as if he were her own? For Jordan, it was a natural progression.
Sunday morning church can be predictable in many churches in American. Music. Announcements. Sermon. But on one particular Sunday, the announcements caught the ear and heart of Jordan’s mom, Pam. Their church was beginning a new summer program of hosting children from countries with extreme poverty and they were looking for one more family to step up. The family who had already committed to hosting a child was unable to fulfill their commitment and now a child was on the way from Russia to America with no family to care for him. Pam’s heart started racing, but she tried to ignore the call she was feeling. A week later, the feeling was as strong as ever, so with trepidation she called the church. “No, no one has yet filled this void” was their reply, so Pam said “yes”. Without knowing anymore, they agreed to host a child from Belarus.
That summer with Artem was just the beginning of a new passion for Jordan and her family. After weeks of loving on this little boy and experiencing the heart break of sending him back home, Jordan and her father, Keith, decided to visit Russia on Jordan’s Christmas break. “It was my first trip overseas” says Jordan, “and for the first time in my life I realized that many in the world live without the basic necessities of life.” She spent two weeks in Belarus almost speechless as she took in their culture. During this time, they visited four orphanages that were so cold inside, she never took her coat off! “The children were dressed in rags; the boys often in girl’s clothes and vice versa. The smells of the orphanage were overpowering; the children smelt so untaken care of” says Jordan, “but these children were desperate to be touched, to be hugged, to be kissed, to be loved that it brought me to my knees in tears as I hugged them ten at a time. These people and these children had nothing materialistic to offer me, but they gave me a gift so precious and priceless; they gave me a life passion.”
Over the next couple of years, Jordan would visit Russia, meet new children and then come back to Raleigh, looking for a family to host each child. On her last visit, a very special little boy named Sasha captured her heart. “I came back from that trip and told my parents that I was going to be Sasha’s host parent. This decision made my parents very anxious. It is over $1800 just for the plane ticket to get here and they knew that was a lot of responsibility for a teenager. I knew that if God called me to do it, He would supply everything I would need.”
The Lord did in fact supply all of Jordan’s need and last summer she was “mommy” for a ten year old boy. I asked Jordan if she struggled with the amount of responsibility and the lack of “me time” that she would have obviously missed. She responded, “Honestly…yes. This absolutely was a struggle for me. I was so exhausted at the end of every day. When you baby sit for a couple of hours, you hand the child back to the mom and dad to do the dirty work. This was different. I fell asleep with this precious child and woke up to him every day. Even though my parents helped me a lot, I was exhausted by the end of every day. Though the tears would come and go; the smiles, laughs, and memories we were making quickly wiped away my selfish tears! By the end of the summer I felt like I was sending my child back to a foreign country. It broke my heart to know that when he returned home, he would not be properly cared for. This was a learning experience for Sasha and an even bigger one for me. God just continued to encourage me to shower this little boy with as much love as I could during this summer. I would definitely say this was a summer I spent, maturing, practicing patience and learning to obey God.”
Have you ever had your heart stirred, but felt fear to step out and do something that was uncomfortable? Jordan encourages us, “Look for opportunities to volunteer and get involved in life changing organizations that are in our communities. It is not easy to step out of our comfort zones and play an important role in society. Most importantly, you don’t even have to leave your city to find people, families, and communities that need love and support.”
Want to get involved, but feel that you may not be able to host a child for an entire summer? You could change the life of a child by becoming a sponsor through an organization such as Compassion International. These ministries help to meet the nutritional needs of children while at the same time sharing with them the love of Jesus. You can find out more about them at www.compassion.com.