First day on the job

As I reported recently, I’ve been asked to serve on the board of a local ministry, MIR, who serves other ministries in the city be providing administrative services, program help, and connections with Western volunteers. Here is a summary of my first day (April 20th) going in to see how I could help:

I met first with Tanya, the coordinator of a program that they do with a ministry called New Horizons to provide host families for orphans for a month in the states. I had no ideas initially what I wanted to know from Tanya, so I just asked questions and followed my curiosity. What came out was that getting permission from orphanage directors and the related organs of authority is getting more and more complicated, so she would love to see more help making those connections. OK. File that away.

I then met with the executive director, Masha Oshkina, to follow my curiosity some for the same purpose. It happened that one of the leaders of New Horizons was there in the office at the time, being in the country to adopt a child himself. She introduced us, and I started peppering him with questions about them and how they work, and what they need. Come to find out they could place more kids in host homes (done in the summer and the winter) if there were more kids available. “Could you front some of that money to free up staff to find more kids?” He wanted to know how much. I gave him a monthly figure, and he thought it was do-able. “Give us a proposal, and I’ll check on it meanwhile,” he answered.

Masha, Tanya, and I had ourselves a project. Now, this was not a complicated deal I made, but what I want to point out are a few key elements here:
  1. For some reason, this had never occurred to anyone else.This is a gift of our American culture – thinking outside the box. Masha and her husband (who is developing this project and will run it) actually do think creatively, I might add. They are proving a delight to work with.
  2. Even if they had thought of it, the idea of so aggressively putting it into a proposal like I did sometimes doesn’t happen. Plus, as the recipients of such help, they can feel in the lower position (though Westerners don’t want them to feel this way, and I’m not saying they did in this case).
  3. Although this isn’t that formal a process, the Americans need the proposal in a form that addresses their needs and concerns. Americans have a specific way they want proposals to look, and it just takes some learning. Masha and Tanya immediately went to work and put together some great reports, and then I helped them understand what is wanted from the other side. I have a lot of experience in grant writing and grant reviewing, so…
  4. This was pretty much a God day, confirming that He has sent me in this direction.

One thought on “First day on the job

  1. My goodness! It just seems such a coincidence that I stumbled on your blog via Elizabeth's. I was so pleased that this year our parish was able to send funds for four children to be hosted through New Horizons. I spent half the day forwarding photos and so forth, hoping to find homes for the children who don't yet have them.We'd wanted so much to find a way to host two specific girls, who are known to another St. P blogger, Kate (From Russia with Love). Kate had wanted to adopt these girls, but it was not allowed, since she was working in Russia at the time…. but I found a family in our church who wanted to host and probably adopt these girls. We are just trying to find a way to get them here. If you find any way to get some children from the Leningrad district….let me know!I hope you don't mind this stranger posting on your blog. I am so in love with Russia, and so blessed by my adopted children, and so grateful to be involved in ministry myself (though in the Catholic Church – we don't send out missionaries in the same way – certainly not to Russia)…well…. Anyay, I hope you don't mind. (And your children have beautiful names – my oldest daughter is also Lydia.)

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