Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sex Offender Supervision

I was reminded of this from another Agent's Blog:
But..this is ALL me:
I was Parole/Probation Agent with State of Michigan for about 8 years, 6 in Inner City Saginaw.
Man. What stories.

I had one guy...Obvious sex offender as he came in and sat down with his Franklin planner, First words out of his mouth were,"are you a Christian? Cause my wife and I have been praying for a Christian Probation Agent".
Me: "What POSSIBLY could my relationship with Christ have to do with how I supervise YOU?".
Scum: "well..."
I had not had a chance to look over his file yet...too busy, too long on the job to care about the gory details of their crime, knowing that I just had to enforce the orders of the Court. I start looking through the file.
Me: "so tell me Mr Scum...when you were Finger (ing) your neice (8 years old), were you praying THEN?
Scum: "OH that is SOO unfair!!". He was offended.
Me: I don't think so.
He was a devout Baptist that gave me the heebie jeebies. I had our Community service person check on him the first week.--Yep..He was at the church painting the interior of the worship center.
Next week-I decide to check on the guy. Get into the parking the signs,...and throw up in the parking lot. "day care center". I go in..and tell him to LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.
Scum: "But they KNOW"!!
Me: "so you are going to tell me that EVERY PARENT with a child in the Daycare knows there is a registered Sex Offender of young children working here doing Community Service work?"
Scum: "". ...but I have to FINISH the interior!!
Me: "fine..You can do it between 10 and 2 at night".

Later...I called the school where his kid attended...a nice private Christian school.
Principal: "I just dont know who you are talking about"...
Me: "he Drives a white Cadillac...son is in mrs so and so's class"...
Principal:..."OH MY MR. SCUM??..oh oh oh....He's scheduled to go on a class field trip soon".
Me: "Yah...that won't be happening". his pic is here--Tim Mohr Other than being an offender. I really liked him. Great conversationalist.

It never ceased to amaze me at how smart and tricky sex offenders were at putting themselves in places where kids are. McDonald Playland, Rent a house across from a school, work at Chuck ee Cheeses, etc.
I think if the "real" public knew how many offenders were out there, they'd revolt. Many of these are on "Electronic Monitoring"...the ankle bracelet. The Tether. Most of my black offenders pronounced it "The tellers". They do not protect. They only say when the person is in the residence.
A partner and I had a TRICKY sex offender. He worked at a Boat place in Saginaw as Manager. 18 hour days. It ticked us off. He was REALLY...a tree jumper--was loaded with alcohol, and jumped out of the tree and tried to pay the early morning paper kid for services. the kid ran home, told his almost Killed sex offender. (go dad)!
This offender would be seen out and about at the bank...for lunches etc..and he always said it was "part of his job". Yah. We didn't like it. Didn't like it at ALL. He was too smug.
So...We finally Came up with a GREAT solution. We made him get a SECOND Tether machine for his work. Required a SECOND (or fifth) dedicated phone line in the store ONLY for the machine. He Balked. He cried. He got mad. BUT but....We won. HA. Score one for the good guys.
He violated..went to prison. Yah.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My former Pastor..on the AIR..

Pastor Robb Ryerse was a featured speaker on Paul Edwards Radio Show out of Detroit..WLQV-AM 1500. I think he showed amazing strength and grace, and a great sense of humor. While the host was sort of confrontational, Robb answered with great gentleness of heart. Bring him back PAUL!!!
Tuesday's Audio Journal Feature
Bringing Sexy to Church

Turned OnKFSM Channel 5 News in Fayetteville, AR files this report:

FAYETTEVILLE - A local church is launching advertisements for its new series on sexuality and spirituality. The problem is one local newspaper is denying the church advertising.

At the Vintage Fellowship Church in Fayetteville, new advertisements show couples in bed embracing each other. The ads promote their new series on sex entitled "Turned On."

"We wanted to catch people's attention in a way that maybe couldn't dismiss us because we were a church. We set up a website to pique people's interest," Pastor Rob Ryerse of Vintage Fellowship Church said.

Vintage Fellowship Church is using the ads to promote a series on sexuality and spirituality in a relatable and realistic way. "Our culture has lied to us about sex and we believe the church may have lied to us about sex. It's something you can't escape. In the movies, on TV, in much, sex is everywhere. We think it's something the church should be talking about too," Ryerse said.

But not everyone is accepting the ads. The print advertisements featuring couples in bed was denied advertising by the newspaper The Morning News.
Robb RyerseRobb Ryerse is "chasing the dream of launching a new emerging church in Northwest Arkansas called Vintage Fellowship." Robb has served in churches in Ithaca MI, Norfolk MA and New York City. A graduate of Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield PA and Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit PA, Robb also took classes at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids MI and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton MA. He shares the ministry with his wife, Vanessa, and their three children.

Visit the Vintage Fellowship Website:

Mallory Hardin Reports
Church advertisement denied by local newspaper

Jan 24, 2007 09:39 AM

FAYETTEVILLE - A local church is launching advertisements for its new series on sexuality and spirituality. The problem is one local newspaper is denying the church advertising.

At the Vintage Fellowship Church in Fayetteville, new advertisements show couples in bed embracing each other. The ads promote their new series on sex entitled "Turned On."

"We wanted to catch people's attention in a way that maybe couldn't dismiss us because we were a church. We set up a website to pique people's interest," Pastor Rob Ryerse of Vintage Fellowship Church said.

Vintage Fellowship Church is using the ads to promote a series on sexuality and spirituality in a relatable and realistic way.

"Our culture has lied to us about sex and we believe the church may have lied to us about sex. It's something you can't escape. In the movies, on TV, in much, sex is everywhere. We think it's something the church should be talking about too," Ryerse said.

But not everyone is accepting the ads. The print advertisements featuring couples in bed was denied advertising by the newspaper The Morning News.

"They are free to make their decisions. They didn't give us much explanation, except they said our ads were a little seductive. I don't think they're much more seductive than a J.C. Penney ad, but that certainly is their choice," Ryerse said.

But the church still plans on running the series and the advertisements promoting it.

"It just emphasizes how important it is for us to talk about this in an honest and frank way. We're full speed running and look forward to launching the series in February," Ryerse said.

5NEWS contacted The Morning News about their decision and they said "We chose not to accept the advertising."

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Turning Left in Moscow

I think I"ll take a bus or taxi!!

Turning Left in Moscow

"Society doesn't accept men who 'love' boys".


Serial molester gets life in prison (has over 100 victims)

By JORDAN ROBERTSON, Associated Press Writer

A man prosecutors said was one of the nation's most prolific child molesters was sentenced Monday to 150 years in prison for abusing two 12-year-old boys.

Schwartzmiller, who acted as his own attorney during his October trial, told jurors that he was innocent and maligned by a society that doesn't accept men who love boys.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mentoring Month

Two Hours a Week, by John Cragg

If you have listened to Christian radio over the last several months,
you have heard a great deal about children who have been orphaned.
There are more than 143 million children without parents in this world.
As a matter of fact, more children were orphaned in 2003 than the total
number of people living in New York City. The numbers are staggering,
but we cannot miss the point simply because we find the numbers
overwhelming and hard to personally comprehend.

The Scriptures remind us that God has a heart for the widows and
orphans. At least 60 times, God reminds us that we are to care for
widows and orphans. James said it this way:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is
this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep
oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27 NRS).

God clearly calls us to action in caring for those without families.
There are many ways we can respond obediently. Some are adopting
orphaned children. Many others of us in the Body have circumstances in
our lives that rule this vital ministry out at the current time. While
there are often waiting lists to adopt babies, many older children can
wait for years and still may never find an adoptive family. I'd like to
share how more of us can answer our Lord's very clear call. It is
called mentoring.

The orphans in the United States are often called "children in foster
care." Kids in foster care have usually also experienced things that we
would never want anyone, let alone children to endure. Whether by
death, abandonment, or addiction, they have lost the adults that God
placed into their lives to protect them and raise them up in the way
that they should go.

While there are many dedicated and loving foster parents, many of these
foster children have been moved from home to home. They often miss out
on the consistencies that come with the love of a healthy and stable
family. If a child "acts out," he or she may be threatened or actually
moved from the home, quite possibly moved even into more difficult
circumstances. Because these kids have been moved so much, they have
likely experienced discipline outside the context of a loving
relationship. As Dr. Dobson has frequently taught, discipline outside
of relationship leads to rebellion. How can we redefine discipline for
a child who has only experienced it in ways that it can only be
understood as destructive rather than lovingly instructive?

These children long for and need consistency just like every other
child. When an adult finally provides consistency in the form of
necessary discipline, it can be mistaken for a lack of love. A mentor
does not have the role of disciplinarian. The mentor is there to
explain the new foster mom or dad's behavior in a way the child can
understand. Hopefully the mentor can help clarify what the foster child
sees as negative discipline as a powerful expression of love within a
family. The mentor is often a friend who is a translator of the
language of family love.

Eugene (not his real name) was a foster kid who came to live with my
family when he and I were both 12. I was not what I would usually
consider a mentor because of our age similarity. For some reason,
however, I played that role in his life from the first week her arrived
at our home.

The third day he was with us, the weekly chores changed like they
always did on Saturday. Eugene randomly drew the job of taking out the
garbage. He informed everyone that he was no garbage man. My father
sent him to his room, saying he needed to stay there until he was
willing to take it out. He was there for hours before I went in and sat
down next to him.

It just takes two hours a week.

Eugene told me his perspective. He saw taking out the garbage as a sign
of great disrespect. I told him that we all have jobs to do every week.
Last week, I had the job of taking out the garbage and I am my father's
son. Taking the garbage out was not a sign of disrespect, but a sign
that you are a member of the family -- not a guest who won't be here
next week or next month. He had a task to do because he was a
permanent, loved member of the family. He got up and took out the
garbage with a big smile.

I was a friend who did not have to discipline, so, I was in a unique
position to translate the family language of love to this orphaned
child. Sometimes fatherless, and or motherless kids need translators
because their life experiences have given them expectations and models
that do not lead them to acceptable behavior. A mentor can be a
valuable asset in helping a family transition a child from
survival-mode to more normal family life. A mentor can help the child
find a different perspective on things that happen. A Christian mentor
can also be another adult through whom an orphan experiences the love
of his or her heavenly Father.

Betty Lynn (not her real name) was in sixth grade and was a sweet and
polite little girl to everyone, except to her adoptive mom. Everyone
wondered why this beautiful little girl was so hard on her adoptive mom
until it came out with a mentor. "All the other adopted kids I know
were adopted as infants. Why did mom leave me in the orphanage until I
was six?"

From this precious young girl's limited perspective, she was left six
years longer than a loving mom should have allowed her to suffer
without parents and was "acting out" toward her adoptive mom. This may
not be a logical conclusion to us, but a child's perspective is based
on very limited life experience and this experience has often been
laced with trauma. She needed a mentor to both identify her hurt and
help her deal with it and find her place in her loving adoptive family.

A mentor is not taking the huge responsibility of bringing a child into
his or her home. It just takes two hours a week. Yet a mentor can be
used by God to introduce a post-adoptive child to some of the truths of
his new family's language of love. A mentor can also be used by God to
help a foster child adapt to a new foster family while exposing him to
the love of his heavenly Father.

Mentoring is a way that Christians can actively care for orphaned
children as God would want us to do. This is God's heart. This is
Scripture's frequent command. Let's do it together. If you would like
to find out more about mentoring children who have faced many of life's
awful challenges alone, please check out the following website,

(c) 2006 John Cragg and Long
Island Youth Mentoring

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Please Pray

One set of my foster parents have 8 foster kids, 2 or 3 bio kids, and 2 they are waiting to adopt. I just found out the dad lost his job in December.
They have very little food, etc. I"ve dug out about 4 boxes of food from here, the Church had brought me a lot that I haven't used, I have a call out to another foster parent that is bringing stuff also.
This is the SAME family, that their 15 passenger van rolled over twice this week, with about 10 kids in the van. The Van is totaled...but no one was injured.
God is good.
Pray for peace for this family that recently re-dedicated themselves to the Cause of Christ.

Friday, January 26, 2007

God is so weird!

Yah. Really. So Last night I"m putering, and the tx rings--The LAND line..and even weirder..I answer it....and its one of my Foster Parents. NOT just ANY foster parent, but the wife of the guy who I want to go to Russia with me. I just hadn't called them yet.
She had a New foster parent referral for me, and I was just sitting there kind of stunned at God. Here is just one more affirmation for me. This Foster mom has not called me that I know of...then...I was able to tell her..I was babbling I think about GOD I had been meaning to call etc..
Her husband is a Corrections Officer, and just a GOOD guy. Its tough in Corrections to remain upright. That may seem wierd, but its true. SOOO many people are screwing other people...its the same in any institution. I don't miss being a Parole / Probation agent. (except the part about arresting people was kinda cool).
Anyway...just kind of keep praying that all the hundreds of details are worked out. If I looked at what God has done already...its amazing. It is just one little detail at a time.
I'm thinking of the flowers of the field...and how God...their heavenly father cares for them.....and KNOW that he cares for each Russian orphan, and American Foster kid..that need families too. I just hope I can continue to be a part of it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Old news Russian adopttee killed by U.S. mom

This is new to me tho...
The adoption of Russian children by foreigners looks slated to undergo its own Iron Curtain period. Yet another child from Russia has been killed in the United States by adoptive parents.

Just recently, two-year-old Nina Bazhenova of Irkutsk was pronounced dead at a Prince William county hospital. The doctors said the child died as a result of beatings. And investigators learned that she was killed by her own foster mother. The Russian embassy in Washington reacted immediately to the incident and promised to take the investigation under its own control.

As is well known, the adoption of children from Russia remains a very problematic practice for potential parents from abroad. Our government continuously speaks that it would like for all these children to remain in Russia. And Russian law enforcement authorities are trying to further complicate the adoption process, even though such tragedies occur in Russia no less frequently than in the United States.

When in May of this year a Chicago court was preparing to pass verdict on U.S. citizen Irma Pavlis who killed her adopted six-year-old from Russia, Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov told the government to immediately re-examine the common practice of handing over the nation’s young citizens to families abroad. He wanted to freeze international adoptions until special agreements are made “allowing control and measures against violence.” The prosecutor general cited the growing frequency of cruelty against adopted children in the United States. Since 1996, at least 12 Russian children have died at the hands of their adoptive parents in the United States.

In the last two months, the Education Ministry, which is responsible for foster care and adoption, together with the Prosecutor General’s office, have tried to develop a joint compromise that would, on the one hand, make adoption more accessible to foreign parents, and, on the other, that would better protect the rights of children.

In the United States, people are also concerned about the future of children who are in the care of foster parents. On Friday, Tomas Etwood, president of the U.S. National Council for Adoption called on the U.S. government to pass reforms in American agencies that help U.S. residents adopt foreign children. He believes that it is crucial to better study the profiles of future parents of Russian children and in particular, how prepared they are psychologically to accept a child from an orphanage into their family.

Now, however, it is unlikely that Russian prosecutors will wait while foreign agencies actually improve their activities. After the case of little Nina Bazhenova, Deputy Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky promised to take all the necessary measures to check whether the actions of those involved in the adoption were legal. In other words, he once again signaled that he will take a hard stance on issues of foreign adoption in general. According to Education Ministry statistics, out of the over 170,000 Russian orphans, only 7,331 were adopted by parents inside Russia, and 7,852 were adopted by parents abroad.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Your results:
You are Iron Man

Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
The Flash
Inventor. Businessman. Genius.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Institution adoption: One month delay per 3 months there,3566,242679,00.html

Dr. Jane Aronson is well versed in the health issues surrounding adoption. Through her New York City-based International Pediatric Health Services, she has spent the last 15 years of her life working with families who adopt internationally.

There were two factors that served as catalysts for Dr Aronson’s avocation. First, her pediatric training included a specialty in infectious diseases. As she puts it, "I always had a real hunger for international health issues."

Couple that with the fact that Dr Aronson began practicing in the 80s and 90s during the first great wave of international adoption, and it is easy to see how she has become so prominent in the field of international adoption health issues.

When questioned as to what issues parents should be aware of in the health of their foreign born child, Dr. Aronson said that growth and development should be the primary focus. She pointed out that while physical health issues are important, many of the likely conditions, such as malnutrition or scabies, end up being short-lived. With proper treatment, these conditions usually clear up within six months, she explained.

However, it’s the developmental issues that have long-term effects on the lives of these children.

She explained that, "Children who are adopted from foreign institutions have one month developmental delay for every three months they are in the institution. Younger children have less effects because they have been in the institution less time." A part of this developmental delay also includes poor growth. However, the biggest problem these children face is lack of expressive language. This is not a case of not being able to speak English, but rather being unable to express themselves in their native language. This leads to poor self-esteem and behavioral problems.

The second developmental problem an adoptive family needs to recognize is attachment issues. Children living in institutions never learn the social connections and intimacies of family life that are second nature to a biological child. They have to learn how to make eye contact and become engaged within the family unit.

The third issue is the lack of self-regulatory mechanisms. These children have never had anyone listen to their needs. They have also never learned how to manage their needs and wants. What they have learned is to take care of themselves. Part of the process of orienting a child who has grown up in an institution to family life is to make them understand that it’s all right to ask for help.

If you are contemplating a foreign adoption, Dr. Aronson recommends that you set up a pre-adoption consultation with an international adoption expert so that you know what to expect and what to be prepared for. You can often have this initial consultation by phone or email.

Once you have adopted your child, the international adoption expert can serve as an advocate for you and your child and make the early interventions and referrals necessary for the child’s development.

For more information about where to contact an international adoption expert, log on to Health contributor Maria Esposito contributed to this report.

Currancy Converter

Monday, January 22, 2007

5.00 US Dollar = 132.657 Russian Rouble

5.00 Russian Rouble (RUB) = 0.18846 US Dollar (USD)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Few Survive to age 14

"This orphanage is supposed to get 12 cents a day to feed each child. This month they've gotten nothing," said Irina Vodkailo, the orphanage's director. "What we have now is powdered milk and some grain -- enough for three days, not more."

The children stay in bed all day, or sit in a playpen, wet. According to staff members, few survive to age 14. The leading cause of death in Orphanage Number 3 is pneumonia.

Perfect paragraph of WHat I See mY trip being...

Regardless of what percentage of Russian adoptions fail, the fact still remains that an overwhelming percentage of Russia's children are leaving their homeland. There will always be orphans in the world; this is something we will never be able to totally do away with. However, instead of exporting so many, why not help Russia improve its orphanages or, better yet, the economic circumstances of parents so that they can keep their children in Russia and with their families. This is not a simple problem by far. But, it is one which receives little active attention.

Abortions cheaper than birth control

Plight of Russia's Orphans

By Linda DeLaine
RL Online

Summary: The statistics regarding Russia's orphaned and/or abandoned children are quite disturbing with Americans making up the majority of foreign adoptive parents. Reforms have been implemented but do little to improve living conditions in Russia's orphanages. What does the future hold for these children?

Many prospective American adoptive parents turn to foreign adoption. It's not any less expensive, but often does not take as long as a domestic adoption. There are those who choose foreign adoption because they feel they can offer a better life to a child from an under privileged country. Rumors abound that many of these countries, including Russia, do not care about family, children and place a low value on human life. In the case of Russia, evidence the high abortion rate; roughly 70 percent higher than in the U.S.

Abortion has become the birth control of choice; a choice made because of circumstances. Birth control is available in Russia, but it is expensive, whereas abortions are free. The overall health of Russia is poor. With as much as 20 percent of young women suffering from anemia, many choose abortion because they fear that they and/or their baby will not survive a full term pregnancy.

Economics are a reality when it comes to pregnancy. The Russian economy has improved during 2000, but it has a ways to go before prospective parents will feel they can afford children. Many who don't believe in abortion for religious reasons or think they can figure out a way to care for a child will deliver, only to place their baby up for adoption. Most of these infants and children are adopted by non-Russian families, primarily in the United States. A population crisis is in the making with the number of Russian citizens dropping by 8 million from 1991 to 1999.

Observers and adoptive parents have accused Russian orphanages of neglect and abuse. The reality is, these orphanages are underfunded, understaffed and over populated with children. Roughly 230,000 children are residents of the state orphanage system with over 650,000 in some form of state care. Itar-Tass has reported that some 90 percent of children in orphanages are not true orphans as they do have living parents. Due to poor conditions, inadequate nutrition and insufficient emotional care, many of these children are underdeveloped mentally and physically. The older the child and the longer he/she is in the system, the greater the emotional and, often, physical problems become. Disease passed on by the birth mother is frequent. In one orphanage in central Russia, all but one out of a group of 30 children had syphilis.

In most orphanages, children are bathed together with no hot water available. They dine on porridge and bits of chicken with no fresh fruits, vegetables or red meat available. They sleep in wards of typically 12 children on old mattresses with ragged blankets. Many of these facilities are under heated and toys or other tools to stimulate a child's mind are scarce. Many of these orphans suffer from weakened immune systems and, thus, all manner of illness. Their mental, emotional and physical development often seriously stunted.

In an attempt to reform Russia's adoption system, then president Boris Yeltsin signed a new adoption law in 1998. This law was intended to place higher criteria on foreign adoptions and encourage more domestic adoptions. In brief, foreign adoption agencies have to be certified by Russia in order to conduct business there. Certification requires passing a laundry list of qualifications designed to cut down on corruption and, what amounted to baby selling. Furthermore, when a child becomes available for adoption, there is a five month wait period before that child can be made available to foreign prospective parents. It is hoped that, in that period of time, a Russian family will adopt the child. New laws and tighter restrictions do nothing to improve the conditions of the state orphanages; this requires money.

From 1992 through 1999, some 15,000 orphans were adopted by Americans. The total number of Russian children adopted by foreigners, in 1999, was 6,200; 4,300 of which were adopted by Americans. Children adopted by Russian families, not including those adopted by blood relatives, was around 7,000. The total number of orphans available for adoption in 1999 was ca. 80,000.

On March 3, 2000, President Putin chaired a special meeting of his Cabinet. The sole item on the agenda was Putin's mandate for improving conditions of Russia's orphans. The fact that a vast majority of Russia's orphans do, indeed, have parents indicates deep problems involving the family and paternity. Putin ordered his ministers to submit proposals regarding ways to improve conditions of abandoned and orphaned children. This was the first time anyone could remember when the president had focused exclusively on the plight of Russia's unwanted children.

The Russian government issued a decree on April 22, 2000. This new law mandates that potential adoptive parents must be represented by only accredited adoption agencies. While agencies scrambled to gain this accreditation, adoptions that were in progress were put on hold or rejected altogether by the Russian regional courts.

According to the Russian Statistic Agency, there were roughly 39.3 million children in Russia at the end of 1998. Of this number, 621,115 were orphans. About one-third, 230,000, were housed in 1,600 orphanages. What's worse, only 249 of these orphanages contained 19,300 toddlers under age 4. The Statistic Agency also reported that roughly 70 percent of all orphans were known to have and had been diagnosed with physical and/or mental disabilities.

Human Rights Watch continues to report countless cases of routine abuse of children in orphanages. Roughly 20,000 children run away from orphanages every year, according to the Interior Ministry University. This statement went on to say that of the ca.15,000 children released from orphanages annually, some 10 percent commit suicide, 30 percent commit crimes and 40 percent are unemployed and homeless. Do the math - this leaves only about 20 percent who are able to make it on their own.

It is fairly easy to count the number of Russian children living in orphanages. However, it is almost impossible to know exactly how many more children are living on the streets. Most of them pan handle or turn to prostitution to survive.

Adoptive parents were often not informed of their child's past or present medical problems let alone provided a medical history of the birth mother. Many such parents would sense problems when meeting their new son or daughter but reasoned that these were temporary issues which would go away once the child was home, well fed and nurtured. Sadly, this has not always been the case.

Odyssey of a Child. Russian Orphanages

Odyssey of a child

Type 1: Best prospects for a child abandoned at birth and healthy

In this case, a child is born at a state-run hospital or maternity ward and is left there in the hands of the Ministry of Health. The staff of the maternity ward will observe the child, giving him or her various medical and developmental diagnoses based on what it known of the family history and birth.

According to Russian medical practice, all risk factors are listed on any infant's chart under the initial diagnosis, and the high risks of many orphans win them a diagnosis of at least “delayed.” Within a few weeks, all infants, except those who require immediate hospital care, are transferred to state-run baby houses where they reside for roughly four years.

Even in the best case, children who are closest to normal health at birth become retarded to some degree after these four years of collective living, deprived of individual nurture. An alarming number of less resilient infants seem to succumb to a self-fulfilling diagnosis of retarded.25 This puts them at a distinct disadvantage at the age of four, when all institutionalized children are evaluated by the state Psychological-Medical-Pedagogical Commission of the Ministry of Education for distribution to institutions for children five years old and up.26 The evaluation, which becomes an official "diagnosis" entered into an orphan's record, is often based on the visiting commission's one-time session with the child.27

It is impossible to overstate the crucial importance of this test to an orphan's future. It is a crossroads which routes the child either to a life of limitedopportunities, or to a life of doom. Many Russian experts interviewed by Human Rights Watch sharply criticized this process, and could readily identify children who were certainly misdiagnosed. Although Russian law provides for the child to appeal through his legal guardian, it is almost impossible for a four-year-old in the custody of the orphanage director to lodge a complaint.

In the best case—if the toddlers clear this hurdle—they will be channeled into an orphanage in the Education Ministry system. There they will receive nine years of public education, learn a vocation, and get a job and place to live after the age of eighteen.

In general these children will enter the tunneled domain of state institutions, where they will inhabit a stultifying world apart from society at large. Orphans in Moscow told Human Rights Watch that their public school classmates teased them as "dyet-domovskii” kids. 28 Upon returning to their dyetskii dom after a school day, the orphans are once again in their separate world, where they find a dubious haven. Teenaged orphans in Moscow and St. Petersburg interviewed by Human Rights Watch reported several categories of abuse they had suffered or witnessed. They said that children with no parents are treated more harshly than those whose parents are in touch with them. Punishment by the director and staff may involve physical assault, verbal abuse, public humiliation (for example forcing children to strip in front of peers), isolation in unheated rooms in winter, or standing naked in front of an open window in winter. Runaways from the orphanage are often regarded as abnormal and sent to psychiatric hospitals.29

Brutal treatment is not confined to direct confrontations with adults, however, for they encourage older children to beat up, bully, intimidate and coerce the younger ones.30 Orphans interviewed by Human Rights Watch had abundant episodes to recount, including punishment by proxy. Not only are they brutalized by this, they are socially stunted, and poorly prepared for a decent life as adults in the outside world.

When the orphans graduate from their world of the dyetskii dom, they face a "new Russia" in such social upheaval and economic disarray that it is distressful for those who have grown up in it. Gone is the social safety net of the Soviet era which at least guaranteed orphans housing, employment and a place in the army. Now, as a diplomat in Moscow told Human Rights Watch, "Their passport is marked with "dyetskii dom" so that people always know they were from orphanages. They have no one to turn to when they're unleashed at eighteen. Some have never ridden a metro before or been to a store or anything. A lot of them end up on the streets."31

Type 2: Worst prospects for a child abandoned at birth and disabled

A baby born with physical or mental disabilities in Russia faces the worst prospects if he or she is abandoned at birth. Some of them have only physical disabilities, or minor mental retardation and could learn to walk and talk, read and write. Among these are children with mild Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and correctable conditions such as club foot and cleft palate.

Numerous parents are routinely pressured at the maternity ward to give up such infants.32 After initial observation they are transferred to baby houses where the children classified with severe physical and mental disabilities are segregated into lying-down rooms. Confined to cribs, staring at the ceiling, these babies are fed and changed, but they are deprived of one-to-one attention and sensory stimulation and are not encouraged to walk or talk. However tentative their diagnosis of retardation was at birth, particularly for those who have only physical disabilities, it becomes self-fulfilling by the age of four.33

In the worst case, these babies fail the diagnostic evaluation of the Psychological-Medical-Pedagogical Commission at the age of four and are handed over to the Labor and Social Development Ministry. There they are interned in closed internaty for imbetsily and idioty, where there is little more than a perfunctory classroom to keep some of the children busy for a few hours a week.

The bedridden children from the baby houses are again confined to cots in lying-down rooms, often laid out on bare rubber mattress covers, unclothed fromthe waist down and incontinent, as we witnessed in one internat and heard in credible reports from volunteers working in many state institutions.34

Human Rights Watch saw children who were considered “too active” or “too difficult” being confined to dark or barren rooms with barely a place to sit. The staff tethered them by a limb if they believed they might try to escape, and restrained others in makeshift straitjackets made of dingy cotton sacks pulled over the torso and drawn at the waist and neck.35

Children with Down syndrome and other hereditary conditions are regularly passed over for corrective-heart surgery that is routine in the West, based on a long-held bias against spending medical resources on children judged as "socially useless."36

The orphans who survive to the age of eighteen move on to an adult internat, again removed from public view. Some, however, are housed in huge centers with hundreds of handicapped people across the age spectrum and where older inmates feed and care for younger or more disabled ones.

Variations on these cases

There are scores of variations on the two types of journeys followed by Russian orphans. For instance, some children are abandoned after living several years at home. As one baby house director told Human Rights Watch, this can occur in the case of severe disability, when a family struggles for a while to raise their child themselves:

If the mother decides to keep the child, after three years, maybe, she loses her job. The state subsdidies are minimal. The man might leave her. While the child weighs under twenty-two pounds, she can carry him. But then the baby grows, more care is needed and she has less money, and her physical and moral strength is getting weaker. We know instances where those cases will be found locked in a dark room in an apartment, because the mother had to goto work to feed her children, because the monthly pension for having a disabled child is really miserable—200,000 rubles (U.S. $30).37

Not all variations are so bleak. Volunteers and child development specialists in Russia told us about an increasing number of children who are being kept an extra year or two in the baby houses in order to improve their chances of passing the commission evaluation and avoid banishment to a psychoneurological internat. In addition, not all the children in baby houses are neglected equally, as certain children have winning personalities or attractive characteristics that encourage the staff to devote more attention to them.38

Finally, all children have their individual constitutions, which miraculously navigate some of them through the harshest circumstances, and help them not only to survive, but thrive.

Russia Orphanages

Russia is filled with Orphanages

It is sad to know the future for most of these kids, ... statistics show that 80% of the girls will become prostitutes and most of the boys will go to prison after they are released from the orphanage.


We did a lot of art in the dom rebyonka (baby house). The children were begging us to hang their paintings over their bed. The staff took the paintings and we never saw them again. They said that these children are being raised in state institutions and would always be in groups the rest of their life. No reason to pamper them with personalized things now, because they wouldn’t be allowed such things later in life. And that would only make problems. This mentality is so entrenched.2


Russian institutions are bursting with abandoned children, who now total more than 600,000 children who are defined by the state as being "without parental care.”4 During each of the last two years, more than 113,000 children have been abandoned, reflecting a breathtaking rise from 67,286 in 1992. Another 30,000 arereported to run away from troubled homes each year, clogging the urban railway stations and metros, sometimes ending up in shelters and orphanages.5

Since the collapse of Soviet rule in 1991, these children have become the jetsam in Russia’s stormy economic transition. Their families are often poor, jobless, ill, and in trouble with the law; this burgeoning class of abandoned children has come to be called "social orphans"—indicating that ninety-five percent of abandoned children have a living parent.6

Official statistics on abandoned children abound, and the figures gathered from various official sources often do not correspond. The institutions that care for children span three government ministries, and the categories listed in statistical tables either overlap or are so vaguely defined as to make a fine breakdown of numbers extremely difficult. 7

According to compilations published by UNICEF in 1997, some 611, 034 Russian children are "without parental care." Of these, 337,527 are housed in baby houses, children's homes, and homes for children with disabilities.8 According toa Russian expert in their field, the latter figure includes children living part-time at home, and the full-time orphan population in institutions is closer to 200,000. Of these, at least 30,000 are committed to locked psychoneurological internaty for “ineducable” children, run by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.9

The remaining number, according to government tables, are placed in alternative custody, including group homes and other guardianship perhaps with members of a child’s extended family. Although some tables list foster care as one of the alternative forms of custody, an international child development specialist told Human Rights Watch that there are only several hundred children living in family-sized settings, and that the standard “foster care” involves larger groups.10 Human Rights Watch commends the few pilot programs in foster care that have begun in Russia and urges speedy development of further projects that provide humane alternatives to large institutions.

It was beyond the scope of this report to conduct a full investigation of the many categories of institutions. But based on reliable sources most familiar with custodial care for abandoned children, Human Rights Watch has focused on three classes of institutions for this report: dom rebyonka, dyetskii dom, and psychoneurological internat.

Archipelago of closed institutions

Orphans in Russia are herded through a maze of state structures operated by three government ministries, which compete for limited state funds and overlap in their mandates for certain categories of orphans and children with disabilities. The Ministry of Health is charged with the care of abandoned infants from birth toroughly four years of age, and houses them in 252 baby houses which are called "dom rebyonka," housing from 18-20,000 children.11

All abandoned infants spend their first three to four years in a baby house, and are then distributed to institutions under the control of either the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.12 Among those under the Ministry of Education, one group of children is deemed to have no disabilities, and the second group contains children diagnosed as lightly disabled, and officially termed "debil."

The most common institution for the "educable” children is called a dyetskii dom (children's home), which generally houses boys and girls. They generally attend regular Russian public schools for the compulsory nine years, where they can earn a secondary school diploma, or they can leave school at the age of fifteen.13

Abandoned children may also live in school-internaty, where they receive their education inside the institution where they live. Following secondary school, these children in the care of the Ministry of Education may receive two to three years of further training in a trade, which they pursue at another boarding institution under the Pedagogical Technical Directorate (PTU). While studying skills such as carpentry, electricity, masonry, and stuffed-animal making, among others, the children are housed in dormitories staffed by the Ministry of Education.14

At the age of five, the second group of orphans under the Education Ministry's purview—the debily—is channeled to spets internaty (or "auxiliary internaty"), where they reside while taking a significantly abbreviated course of education totaling six years, far short of a high school diploma. They are also offeredvocational training, but their program and residence are generally segregated from the non-debil orphans.15

Under Russian law, the state must provide all orphans leaving the care of the Education Ministry with an initial stipend, housing and employment. But the economic crisis since the introduction of market reforms and privatization of apartments makes this increasingly difficult. Indeed, the prospect of life in the outside world is a source of great worry to the orphans and child welfare experts alike.16

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development takes charge of orphans who are diagnosed by a board of state medical and educational reviewers as having heavy physical and mental disabilities at the age of four. Officially labeled "imbetsil" or "idiot," they are committed to closed institutions which often resemble Dickensian asylums of the nineteenth century. There they remain until the age of eighteen. Those who survive to that age are transferred to adult psychoneurological internaty, or asylums, for the duration of their lives. 17

Fragmentary statistics on the mortality rates in the institutions under the Ministry of Labor and Social Development indicate that these orphans are at significant risk of premature death. One leading child welfare advocate in Moscow told Human Rights Watch that estimates from government figures indicate the death rate in these internaty is twice the rate in the general population. He also knows one internat where he said that the death rate rose to as high as three and a half times the rate in the society outside its walls.18

While we were not able to obtain government statistics to corroborate these estimates in Russia, we noted that UNICEF researchers found higher death rates in these psychoneurological internaty across most of the former Soviet bloc.19 A1996 national statistic from Ukraine indicated that "approximately thirty percent of all severely disabled children in special homes—a staggering figure—die before they reach eighteen." 20

While UNICEF acknowledges that many of these children are at increased risk from their underlying conditions, it attributes part of the high mortality figures to crowding, poor hygiene, and low standards of care.21

Soviet-era policies and practices persist in Russian institutions. Renowned for its centralized control, the sprawling system of internaty for abandoned children was inspired by the Soviet philosophy favoring collective organization over individual care, and the ideal that the state could replace the family.22 Regimentation and discipline were integral to this philosophy, and restricted access to the institutions apparently permitted the director and staff to operate with impunity.

While most Russians who left their children in state care during the late Soviet period did so for such reasons as poverty, illness, and family problems, a certain proportion of children came from working parents and students who used the orphanages as weekly boarding institutions and retrieved their children during the weekend.

This was considered normal practice, according to the long-time director of a Moscow baby house, who told Human Rights Watch how university students would house their infants with her sometimes for two to three years:

We had families who had three kids who stayed here, then the parents finished studies and picked up the kids and left to go back home with them. We actually considered it to be fine. They were normal parents. They came and breast-fed them. In only one case the mother threw away (gave up) her child after six months.23

The contrast between the doctor's attitude toward children who had parents to visit them and those who were fully abandoned, illustrated the deep bias against orphans and their parents that endures today.

Orphan care varies broadly across Russia, making it very difficult to draw conclusions about cities, regions, or even classes of institutions. For much of this century, for example, Moscow has been a world apart from anywhere else in the sprawling country, and this gulf has widened dramatically with the lifting of market controls in recent years. In matters of public funding, children's institutions in the capital and several other main cities enjoy higher levels than those in the regions of Mordovia, Tver' and Smolensk.24

But even the USSR, in its idiosyncratic way, was a land of exceptions. Orphanage directors, like the bosses of factories and vast collective farms, enjoyed considerable discretion over their domains. The director's personal commitment to children's welfare worked to the favor or to the detriment of the orphans. Human Rights Watch learned of compassionate, energetic directors with imagination and pluck who sought out child welfare information from the West, and took the initiative to improve their institutions by raising money locally and training their staff.

The result today is a hybrid of the former centralized system and low-grade anarchy, which also applies to the uneven enforcement of laws and standards protecting children introduced by the Russian Federation since 1991. This is complicated by the process of decentralization generally unfolding in the government ministries that oversee the institutional care and the diagnosis of children.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Watch video: Power The power of One. Of Me.
This One Thing, CRM Video
Watch Films

This One Thing

This One Thing
(Windows Media)

Who Are We?

Church Resource Ministries is committed to the centrality of the local church in God's plan for reaching the world with the good news of Jesus. The ministry is committed to values such as: Evangelical Theology, Discipleship, Church Growth, Church Planting, Teams, Servanthood, Risk, an Entrepreneurial Spirit, Accountability, and the Presence of God in all that we do.

What Do We Do?

The purpose of CRM is to develop leaders to strengthen and start churches worldwide.

How Do We Do It?

CRM is in the leadership business. Our staff are missionaries to churches, pastors and lay leaders. CRM staff are "gifts" to the Church. We come alongside and incarnationally encourage, coach, and equip leaders to plant, grow and lead dynamic, culturally relevant churches.

We also develop systems and strategies that can greatly improve and accelerate a church's ability to reach the unchurched and multiply its evangelistic influence into every segment of society.

Where Do We Do It?

CRM teams minister in major American metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Portland.

InnerCHANGE, CRM's ministry among the poor, places specially trained staff teams in the inner cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Caracas, and cities in Cambodia and Romania.

Internationally, CRM teams minister in Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Korea, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Ukraine the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

What Do We Hope to Accomplish?

CRM envisions movements of fresh, authentic churches, pioneered by godly leaders, fired by a passion for their world, compelled to multiply their lives and ministry; so that the name of God is renowned among the nations.

CRM Model of Ministry

Our Model of Ministry is a description of our strategy... the distinctives of how we move from what we do toward results. To accomplish our vision:

CRM creates
Communities of Transformation
Mentoring relationships
in which leaders are empowered.

This strategy is accomplished in four primary contexts:

* Among church planters
* Among pastors and lay leaders
* Among selected unevangelized urban settings and people groups
* Among the poor

By create we mean: CRM staff catalyze and shape multiple forms of communities and mentoring relationships. While our staff will primarily lead, they will also coach others to lead and will train others to coach.

By communities of transformation we mean: the type of small group or cells where leaders can know and be known. It means safe environments where there is transparency, honesty and the type of accountability that promotes genuine spiritual growth and authentic change.

By mentoring relationships we mean: The deeply human, one-to-one connections where life and skills are transferred. It is the experience in which one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources in the type of relationship beyond what can be experienced in a group setting. Such mentoring relationships include those of a discipler, coach, teacher, sponsor or model.

Among existing leaders--pastors, church planters, and lay leaders--our communities of transformation take the form of reproducible systems such as New Church Incubators, New Church Networks, Focusing Leaders Networks, and ReFocusing Church/Ministry Networks.

Where few or no leaders exist--in unevangelized urban setting and among the poor--our communities of transformation take the shape of small groups for seekers, creative cell groups, discipleship clusters, and ministry that is highly incarnational.

This One Thing, CRM Video

Friday, January 19, 2007

Christian Resource Ministries-Russia

From their website. I will be going to Kursk. 6 hours sw of Moscow.

Despite the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the ultimate fall of Communism in Russia in 1991, despite incessant economic, political and social crises, the Russian Federation continues to be a major voice on the world’s stage. Russia makes up more than 10% of the earth’s land mass, but contains less than 3% of the world’s population; it is a land of contrasts and contradictions that often defies description.

An admixture of European and Asian cultures and mentalities, many consider the growth and strength of the church in Russia to be a strategic link in world evangelization. But despite the heroic evangelistic efforts and influx of missions resources since Communism's fall, evangelical Christians today make up less than 1% of the Russian population in a Church that is severely marginalized in the society. Even the dominant Russian Orthodox Church, with its nationalistic ties and the cultural sympathy of most Russians, considers less than 5% of the population pious believers. Generations of totalitarian oppression, atheism, and propaganda have left the society skeptical of the truth and relevance of the Gospel--and especially of its Western expressions and methods. This heritage has left the Russian people mistrusting and narcissistic, and the Russian church divided, rigid, and insular.

Since 1991, CRM has envisioned long-term teams in Russia, who would not settle for the "open window" missions mentality. CRM teams have taken the time to make language acquisition a priority and the development of Russian churches under Russian leadership the invariable principle of ministry. First working in St. Petersburg, then in Irkutsk and Kursk, CRM teams have worked alongside national training facilities and a variety of Russian churches and organizations to encourage the integrity and depth of Russian leaders and the development of their vision for the impact of the Gospel in their land. This is slow, personal “soul” work--tilling the soil over the long haul for the fruits of genuine church growth.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gods a Dad

"I have loved you," says the LORD.

"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD

My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. ..because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.
Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard.

for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families

Random thoughts

One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.

When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave [b] our transgressions.

You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior,

Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!

Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works in man's behalf

Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.

I cried out to him with my mouth;

God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.

Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

Russia, Russia, Russia!!!

It's happening. I see God Working. It's HAPPENING FOLKS!! Forget about the pettiness of people I tell myself, and give it to God.
I taught about 8 couples for Foster and Parenting stuff. One of the dads, a Pharmacist said, "What's this about you going to Russia?" I told him the plan as I know it. He said, "I will go with you. I went to University in MOSCOW!!". How cool is THAT.

I get an email today from the Missionary in Kursk, and his home Church. I think I will be speaking at their Church in February.

Dear Lord, you have answered prayer regarding someone to travel with. Now Please start bringing in the money.

I love you Lord for working in my life once again.

Christian Resource Ministries


We believe that one leader has the potential to impact the whole world, one person at a time. Each person involved in this movement--staff, donor, or leader in the field--is part of a team in which each member plays an undeniable role in eternal change.

Our goal is to train individuals to become committed leaders who will stand together and go wherever the needs are greatest. We do this by multiplying leaders throughout the globe ...among pastors and those who pioneer new churches ...among the poor ...among business men and women ..and among the emerging generation.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My Feelings are hurt...

Or as my friend says.."Oh that's right, You can't hurt my feelings, I've been married".

Anyway. Yah. My feeling s have been brutally stomped on. I Didn't do anything to deserve what has happened to me. I have been disrespected. There is no fairness, no compromise, and I'm supposed to just act like nothing ever happened? I've laid my hurts
Not just to me. MY children have been hurt. Fine..Hurt me...HURT MY KIDS???? Sorry. My MOTHER has Been Dissed. Momma don't play that game. Been a guest in my home? I trusted this person with my KIDS???? wow. What was I smokin?
I have to be somewhat vague as I'm still dealing with the situation. Not that it matters nobody actually READS this stuff...but...OK...I did nothing that I can think of wrong. I Did the "go to thing" the bible discusses. Subject would not speak. Subject disses my kids, my family, my time, my investment in them....My kids are asking about the person..I have to tell them the truth. But I don't know what the truth is.
This is not Jr. High. Adults are not supposed to be acting this way.
I think I"ll let a stink bomb off in their locker.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The song I can't get out of my head

My love for you is immeasurable
My respect for you immense
You're ageless, timeless
grace and fineness
you're beauty and elegance

You're in my heart
You're in my soul
You'll be my friend
Should i grow old
You are my lover
You're my best friend
You're in my soul
-Rod Stewart

Forum 18

My learning curve is increasing as I try to see what I"m getting myself into in Russia or thereabouts. This is one site I found that is simply amazing. Forum 18, is a News service, trying to be broad minded enough (I see this as a GOOD thing), to include several "denominations".
Where have I been that I no NOTHING about what is going on in the Religious world? People NOW are STILL suffering for Jesus. I mean the old knock em down stuff, raids on headquarters, being deported stuff. Their site is addictive, and makes me feel incredibly grateful.
Christian's Cannot even NAME their children what they want to or they will be denied education, Travel permits etc. (see below).

Forum 18 News Service's Mission Statement

Forum 18 believes that religious freedom is a fundamental human right, which is essential for the dignity of humanity and for true freedom. Forum 18 is committed to religious freedom for all on the basis of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

This may be summarised as:

The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one's belief or religion
The right to join together and express one's belief.

Below is Part of todays article< the rest of it is on their site.
COMMENTARY: Azerbaijan's democracy "is being sold for oil"

By an Azerbaijani Protestant

In this personal commentary for Forum 18 News Service , an Azerbaijani Protestant, anonymous to avoid state persecution, pleads for the international community to promote religious freedom for all, as "it seems to us that our democracy is being sold for oil. Foreigners are afraid to call things by their real name. They are afraid to tell our government bluntly that human rights violations must end." He argues that "religious freedom cannot exist without other freedoms, such as freedom of expression and association, as well as press and literature freedom. Because of this, religious freedom is a litmus test for freedom and democracy in any society, including Azerbaijan." He concludes by proposing practical steps for effective dialogue with Azerbaijan's leaders, leading to real religious freedom, and how religious minorities can be involved in this process.

In the nearly fifteen years since my country, Azerbaijan, regained its independence, we Christians have faced all kinds of obstacles and problems functioning freely. Although Azerbaijan gained a new constitution that unambiguously recognises the independence of religious communities from the state, freedom of conscience for all and the equality of citizens regardless of their religious adherence, gender or political views, in practice the opposite is the case.

While religious communities in Azerbaijan theoretically largely have the right to function freely (with some exceptions), in practice they do not have freedom. Restrictions and obstacles abound.

When churches and other minority religious communities try to register with the government and gain legal status it can be very difficult – at times even impossible. Obstruction comes from the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations – the government agency with the duty of registering religious communities that wish to do so. But not just from the Committee. Local administration officials up and down the country – who also have to approve registration applications – often deliberately and arbitrarily obstruct them.

In principle a community collects the required documents and sends them in, but what happens if the state notary refuses to certify the signatures? The application stalls – and there is little redress. Communities can wait for years as applications languish on this or that official's desk – and believers do not know what they can do to gain the registration they are entitled to.

The same difficulty faces Christian parents if they want to give their children Christian names. That's no problem in most countries of the world, but in some parts of Azerbaijan officials often refuse to register the birth of a child with a Christian name – the child then cannot go to kindergarten or school, get treatment in a hospital or travel to other countries. (See eg. F18News 1 December 2004

And when religious communities seek to meet for worship – with or without registration, as is their right under the constitution and in international law – the police or secret police can raid them. Those without registration are told (wrongly) that registration is compulsory before a community can meet for worship.

Worse still, believers are at times detained, intimidated and fined, simply for practising their faith in the way they see fit. Religious literature remains censored, a Soviet-era practice long overdue for abolition.

Even defending religious freedom for all is obstructed. Two years ago local believers of a variety of faiths founded a local affiliate of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA). Officials from the United States, Russian and Turkish embassies were present at the official launch at Baku's Irshad Hotel, along with parliamentarians from Kyrgyzstan and other international representatives, among them Denton Lotz, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. Local officials were led by Rafik Aliev, head of the State Committee.

Monday, January 08, 2007

To Russia...With Love

This is going to be an act of love. I am scared, yet excited. I hope (and you can pray) that I can find a traveling companion-maybe one of the Missionaries church members, or family members.

Kursk is about 6 hours South West of Moscow by train. About 18 hours from JFK to Moscow. I fly out to NY and spend the night, get to Moscow and spend the many questions. God has the answers.
I am investigating what priorities are-as far as Visas, Passports, official letter of invitation, topics needed, clothing requirements etc. I will be a Visiting Professor at the University, so do I need suits? Does a "respectable" woman there wear pants?

It is going to be exciting to see how God does this all.
The main difficulty in the transition from Orphanages to Foster Homes, is of course financial. Russians are poor. A child is another mouth to feed. Orphans themselves are leery of leaving the known for private residences. Just as in a prison, orphanages have surrogate families that get set up. To take one child and not another is traumatic.
I guess lots of posts will be about this. I've found very little about Kursk itself, some lovely photos. One friend said a Russian friend's advice was to "Pack as if you are camping". I think that may be wise.
More to come.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Get Right, or Die

Usually things are not clear cut. There used to be BLACK and WHITE for me, but that is Nary the case now. The world, spiritual things, are mostly grey. (I like that spelling of GRAY).
I think God likes grey. It makes His lovers more responsive, each seeking their own relationship with individual choices. I think Grey is not boring.
Some things are clear cut. You fall in a bonfire, you get burned. You cut your skin, you bleed.
Sometimes, I live in the grey too much. God says NO, I say...why not. It is not a attitude of rebellion I don't think. Its more of a "tough" learning I felt I used to have to do.
I don't feel that way anymore. (on some things at least). I've been way to liberal with what I think God will put up with.

Just as I was in the hospital recovering from physical illness, I've been in the spiritual hospital recovering.
Thank God He is both the great Physical healer, as well as matters of the heart.

Some things are just clear cut.