Bible lessons in orphanages

 The Word of God is at work in their hearts


A lot of the kids I work with at the orphanage are really open and friendly. We have a fun time together, whether going through a Bible story, singing or playing games. I try not to pass up any opportunities to talk about God with them. When I do so, some of the kids listen very attentively, asking questions and obviously interested. At the same time, others show no signs of interest at all… or at least sit quietly, preferring to keep their peace.

Zhenya* was one of the ‘quiet’ ones in my older group at the orphanage. You could never tell what he felt or thought about... anything, really. During my lessons, at least, he did his best to speak as little as possible in general and to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. However, Zhenya was a good kid, with a sense of humor, and kind to others. It seemed like no matter how often I interacted with him, I was always discovering something new, seeing another side to him.

Once while I was teaching a lesson in his class, one of the other boys spoke up, expressing his opinion that there is no such thing as God. Some of his classmates agreed with Once while I was teaching a lesson in his class, one of the other boys spoke up, expressing his opinion that there is no him, supporting this viewpoint. And then, to my amazement, Zhenya spoke up, confidently asserting that, on the contrary, there certainly is a God. For all of us, it was like thunder out of a clear sky. Who said that? Zhenya?? The guy you can never get to say anything?? How did he find the guts to actually say what he thought, opposing the others?? Despite the seeming contradiction of this step by Zhenya, his classmates and friends really respected him a lot more after that. After all, he’d spoken up, stated his own opinion, even though he could’ve been laughed out of the room.

A week or so later, I was back in Zhenya’s class. As we worked through our passage of Scripture for that lesson, he seemed to be totally uninterested. He studied the ceiling, the four corners of the room, giving every appearance that he wasn’t with us at all. However, when it came time to wrap up the lesson and draw some practical conclusions, Zhenya spoke up again, answering my question briefly but very thoughtfully - deeply, even. Once again, everyone else was amazed that he had spoken out. 

There was one more incident that took place that demonstrated to all of us that Zhenya had come to have real convictions about God… and gave the rest of the kids cause to do some serious thinking of their own. What happened was this: not far from the orphanage an awful accident took place, in which a pedestrian was severely injured. A lot of the kids had either seen it happen, or had seen the aftermath. Everyone was really worried about the same thing – would the person hit by the car live or not? When the news finally came that not only the victim had not died, but could expect a full recovery, everyone was greatly relieved… and Zhenya told his classmates: “Now I know for sure that God is real!” 

For these teens, the best possible testimony to the veracity of something is the opinion of their peers. If even one teen takes a strong stance of belief in God, it affects all of them. They start thinking “If my classmate and friend believes that God is real, maybe it would be worthwhile for me to reconsider my convictions about God as well…?”

And that’s how the Word of God begins soaking into these teen’s hearts, one heart at a time.

It’s something that is really a joy to see happening. So often, we think that these teenage orphans are apathetic, hardened by life, resistant to letting God’s Word work in their hearts.

Zhenya’s story shows that the opposite can be, and often is actually the case. The Word of God is at work in their hearts as well. Praise the Lord!

 Ekaterina Vorobei,

Agape teacher  


*Name changed