I put out this note recently to a local email group of mainly missionaries in St. Petersburg:
There are a lot of us who care about the orphans in and around St.
Petersburg. But it’s becoming clear to me that the situation is
changing, and our data is quickly becoming out of date. At the
monthly prayer meeting for orphans last week, I asked about the need
for better information about the state of the kids in the city, and
there was strong agreement that there is a dearth of good info to
inform ministry and intercessory work and to evaluate progress. As a
result I decided to put out this email. What we need are a small
handful of individuals from various ministries and churches (including
Russians) willing to come to one meeting to discuss this matter. This
would be a short-term project (I’m guessing 4-6 months on the outside
with good cooperation) to produce a report (in English and Russian)
of professional quality that would include things such as:
- How many institutionalized orphans are in the city now, and what are the trends?
- What ministries, churches, and other organizations are serving them?
- How many street kids remain, and where are they? Who is serving them?
- Who is serving post-orphanage graduates?
- What do we know about adjudicated kids? Child trafficking? Sexual exploitation?
- What family support services are available?
We may want to expand somewhat from the above list. On the other
hand, qualitative questions such as best practices and relative needs,
and examining present and potential projects and forging cooperative
ministry (all of which are critical!) should be held off until this phase
The purpose of an initial meeting would be to define the parameters
of the study and to assign responsibility to participants over
compiling certain categories of information. These people could, in
turn, be in charge of a small team of helpers, including anyone
(supporters?) abroad who could help with online or other research.
Some of you are not here now. That’s OK. Let me know you can help and
how. I’m only asking for commitment to attend this initial meeting
because I am asking no one to commit to a process that is still
undefined. We will define that commitment at this first meeting.
- Write me back if you are willing to come to one meeting to give your input.
- Let me know good and bad times for meeting.
- Forward this email to others who might be interested.
I’m excited about the potential of getting our heads (and eventually
hearts) together on this critical issue so close to the heart of our
If you are not here in the city, you can still help by doing research online. Just tell me what area interests you, and we can put you in that group (if we have more than one person in that area).