Monthly Archives: December 2011

С Новым годом

С Новым годом or Happy New Year from Samara, Russia. New Year is one of the biggest holidays of the year and in a nation that prides itself for hospitality, much as gone into the planning of this celebration.

Earlier on New Year’s Eve, markets were packed as people were purchasing the finishing touches for their holiday feast. The late night buffet will be a smorgasbord of family favorites. Friends and family gather to visit, eat and welcome the New Year. Even the children who call Samara Children’s Home #1 their home spent the day shopping and preparing dishes for this tradition. It does seem fitting as they are truly family.

On TV there is a variety of New Year’s Eve specials, each geared to different aged audiences. Regardless what form of entertainment you are watching, at five minutes to midnight every channel switches to Moscow for the next part of the tradition. The Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev presents a message of greeting and a very brief outlook for the coming year. As his message ends, the bells of the Kremlin ring in the new year. Then a very rousing singing of the Russian National Anthem. As the TV shows images of Red Square and the Kremlin and the flash and sounds of fireworks outside the children join along, arms around each other singing and no doubt looking forward with optimism for the coming year. It is a very touching, emotional and hope filled moment.

On a personal note, happy birthday to my daughter Lusia. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the rest of our team in the coming days.
Kevin Betts


Being the Body of Christ in Russia!

…”The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t.  If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.  You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this….it’s obvious by now, isn’t it, that Christ’s church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part?  …And yet some of you keep competing for so-called ‘important’ parts.  But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.”  I Corinthians 12, The Message

On January 1, 2012 a group of 12 people from West Ohio will travel to Samara Russia to celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth with 130 children who call Orphanage #1 home.   Every child has experienced the trauma of violence that seeks to rob one’s identity and dignity.  And yet in this place, the bright light of Jesus’ love is ever present, healing the scars of the heart, soul and body.

 In this place, each child is honored.  Diligence is exercised to discover and develop the gifts of each child.  A place filled with society’s throw-away-children is transformed into a home where they experience what it means to be loved.  This is the miracle of Jesus’ birth…

 Our team will bring presents provided by so many faithful people and congregations across our conference.  These gifts will be the only gifts they receive and will bring deep joy.  What brings the most joy, however, is our presence.  Being there with the children lets them know that they are important.  As we laugh, play and attempt to communicate through different languages, Jesus is born again.  And the Body of Christ comes alive and vibrant..embracing that more excellent way God dreams for us.

 We invite you to keep us in your prayers as we seek to be the Body of Christ in more powerful ways. Our team members are: Kevin Betts and Lusia Betts from Hyde Park Community UMC; Bryan Twitchell from Monroe Street UMC; John Bachelor, Jeff Roesti, Cecil Baughman, and Keith Luke from Epworth UMC, Toledo; Brian Southers from Centenary UMC, Columbus; Jay Moyers from Groveport UMC; Joe Kim from the General Board of Church and Society, DC; Joann Lee from a Korean UMC in New York and Dee Stickley-Miner from Summit UMC.  

Please visit our blog. We want to share our experiences with you.  You are a part of this mission team. Without your prayer, support and love, we would not be able to be ambassadors of Christ’s love in Samara Russia.

Boys at Orphanage #1

Orphans transformed into a family

Dee Stickley-Miner, VIM Team Leader


Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Russia Christmas 2012


Welcome to Mission Mosaic…

…home of the Office of Connectional Mission & Justice in the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church! Here you will find blogs, photos, videos, and other postings from United Methodists around the world!

To hear from folks in West Ohio’s Mission Partnerships – Congo, Mexico, Russia, & Southeast Asia – look for the ‘4Corners’ pages! To read more about Volunteers in Mission experiences, look for the ‘VIM Teams’ pages! Stop back often to see what amazing things God is doing!

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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Mission Mosaic