‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Thank God

I thank God for asking me to travel to this place. I asked Him to let my heart break with the things that break His heart, and He is answering that prayer. I can only survive this sorrow by clinging to Him -- another gift from God. To say that life here is hard is an understatement of massive proportions. The number of homeless, especially elderly homeless, is sickening. How do they keep warm when I am freezing in my below freezing Northface winter jacket? I can only imagine the daily death count due to cold here. cold alone is killing people.

Today while we filmed the tv piece on the girls, we walked through a park and encountered so many homeless dogs, you would have thought it was a dogpark in the  States. Tons of them...injured, dirty, scared, hungry, ribs visible. Nastia wanted to take every one of them home.

There are 22 orphanages in Kemerovo alone. Anya's former orphanages housed 400 children. Nastia's houses 100. Even the best orphanages cannot afford the number of caretakers truly needed to give these children even  a semblance of normal life.  The directors of the orphanage make the equivalent of $60 per month. I make more than that a day.

And I am only reporting from one small city in one suffering country. There are thousands more just like it!

Enough already. Enough with America living in its selfish stupor. Wake up!


WE ARE NOT ALONE ON THIS PLANET. Our brothers and sisters are suffering because of OUR inattention, OUR gluttony, OUR self-serving. WE ARE THE PROBLEM. If you don't realize this, you are in great denial and I can only hope God opens your heart and eyes before it's too late.

This world will go on and on as it is, crumbling into oblivion and taking millions of lives with it, if we privileged few do not PUT DOWN our phones, our  designer bags and our ignorance. If we do not stop self-medicating with booze and drugs and television and shopping and all the other things that lull us into a state of numbness. My heart hurts so much. But I'm grateful it hurts. I WANT it to hurt because that tells me I am awake to the truth. If your heart does not hurt, you are OUT OF TOUCH.

God, my prayer is that you will keep waking people up, as you have graciously chosen to open my eyes. I see You working in so many lives, calling others to be your hands and feet in this world. But there need to be ARMIES of compassionate people, battalions of caretakers. Call them! Wake them. I beg you!


  1. Keri, what you are doing is so courageous and loving. You know your friends support you in every way they can. But here, perhaps, is a place where your rage at the intense injustice you see around you might be re-directed. Remember your post when you were waiting in the Russian consulate? Remember the wrongheaded, nearly impenetrable stubbornness of the Russian officials? America is far from perfect. I know you are angry with the wrongheaded, nearly impenetrable stubbornness of our US officials, and should be. I know your heart is breaking for Anya and everyone else you see who has been harmed by this poverty and neglect. Russia must wake up! I have been to St. Petersburg and seen the designer bags and furs dyed in colors not known in nature, the arrogant way they sneer at the children grasping with cold little hands for a worthless ruble, or kick at the men sitting on street corners selling puppies. America has its many many many faults, and we can do our best to offer comfort as best we can to the orphanages there. But Russia must take the blame here. With love and hope that you will Bring Anya Home, Jo Ann

  2. You are such an amazing person. It is just so inspiring to read your posts. I was just telling my husband how inspiring you are and how committed you are then I came here to read what you are up to and this post proves what I was just saying:)
    Yes, I totally agree, so many need to wake up.
    If there were more people like you the world would be a much brighter place.

  3. I cannot pass the blame to Russia, because I do not know enough to judge, but I DO know my own community in the US. I feel a right to comment on them, bc I count myself as one of them. I condemn myself when condemn their actions. Also, I think you misunderstood. My blog is read by 3,000 people a week, according to Statcounter, and 99% of these readers are Americans. I write to them. If I had a huge Russian readership I might expand my comment to include them, but that is not my readership.

    Lastly, I know too well how many Americans are numbed into complacency simply from the excess we experience...excess of money, food, distractions, etc etc. It is much easier to have perspective when we step OUT of our lives...but we seldom do.

    Also, I do not blame Russia for this reason: they experienced 70 years of brutal oppression. I see that people are STILL livig with the effects. It is as if most of the population reacts from a place of fear...they still are traumatized. THe rich of Russia are a SMALL minority compared to the rich if the US. We need to stop using labels and address the real problem -- selfishness. Too many people fool themselves into thinking they are "good" people. Why? Because you gave blood or bought a homeless man a cup of coffee? Our world today requires RADICAL giving, RADICAL serving, RADICAL facing of the truth. Little bandaids will not fix what the world suffers from right now.

  4. Keri, you are absolutely right--and yet Jo Ann is right too. We are ALL to blame for the messes in the world, because they are the result of living for one's self. Maybe we should start praying that God would start His work in the hearts of the Russian people, like I was just writing last night about the hearts of Haiti's people.

    But still, American is truly a country that has been blessed by God. We can't deny that we are still so much better off than most of the world, and we have to ask ourselves what God wants us to do with all the wealth and choice and freedoms He has provided for us.

    Russia is ultimately responsible for her own. Yet maybe she is not at this moment able to be. The same could be said for Haiti for different reasons. I was just ruminating over the difference between being homeless in America and being homeless there where you are, or in Haiti. Even America's homeless people are pampered, in comparison.

    That is the kind of realization that led me to want to adopt from Haiti years and years ago--seeing a slideshow online of babies stacked like cordwood in the morgue. The babies were wearing adorable little knitted booties and matching sweaters. . . clearly they had been loved, and the mothers must have been truly desperate to abandon them, dressing them in their sweetest clothes and trusting that some stranger would be moved by the adorableness of her baby and take it. . .and there were just too many of these cute babies, I guess. . .

    That would never happen in America. Even children with special needs are not left to die in the street, but are given shelter and free education and services. I am not saying it is right that there are so many children unwanted in the States--it is a shame to us. But there is a vital difference between the two outcomes for the children--one might be a child growing up feeling unloved and unwanted, the other is a child dying. Both are tragic, both are preventable, so in that sense they are equal. But otherwise, there is no comparison. . .

    If every Christian in America asked God to show him/her/their family ONE way they could sacrificially love him, and then do it--I wonder how many of our world's problems would be solved.

    We are not the saviours of the world, and should not think that--but with all this blessing comes responsibility. . .

    We each are responsible for only what WE do. I can't change the governments of Haiti or Russia, or change the people's hearts, but I can pray God will (since He is the only one who can) and I can DO what I see I can do.

    So much to think--but I can't any longer let my thinking take place of my acting!

  5. AMEN to every thing you said here, Keri, AND in your comment. . . It kills me when people go, "oh, that's nice" in a patronizing tone of voice when I share some of my passion with them for helping the orphan kids . . . they have NO CLUE and they DO need to wake up.

  6. Our translator, the most lovely, sweet-spirited woman died between our third and fourth visits to Russia. She was only middle-aged, but had a heart ailment, and in the winter her apartment was without heat much of the time; that was the year that the temperatures got to 40 below. It broke my heart.

  7. And this is part of the reason I will be taking Galen with me when I finally get to visit Russia. I want him to understand both how privileged he is AND how much others need and deserve our compassion and help. I have no desire to protect him from this knowledge, nor do I want to wait until he's older, because his empathy for others is strong at this age and I want to make an impression that will last a lifetime. Plus, to be perfectly honest, I know I don't really understand myself, and I need to if I'm going to teach my son to be a servant. If I could I'd bring my little sister as well - she thinks she's had a hard life, but she has no idea how fortunate she really is.

  8. that picture of the older woman is so telling. she is probably no more than 50. please post more pics bc it helps us visualize the soul of Siberia....


What do you have to say? Leave a comment!