“I love serving those in need, especially children and orphans with mental disabilities,” shares Alesya, a School Without Walls (SWW) student from Pinsk, Belarus. Alesya coordinates the team of 5-8 dedicated volunteers from Church Without Walls that visits a local boarding school for children with special needs twice a month and organizes a summer Bible camp, Gift of Hope program, and other special projects at the school. “We spend as much as time as possible with the children so we can form strong relationships with them and support them beyond our regular visits.”
Alesya says that SWW played an important role in helping her discover her calling and in equipping her to fulfill it. “After assuming this leadership role, I felt the need to grow as a leader. It’s one thing to be a volunteer, but it’s another thing to think about ministry in a more holistic sense when you’re caring for children and leading a team. I understood that my enthusiasm and limited knowledge of ministry wasn’t enough to help me lead. I needed strong support, which I found at SWW. The training events and experienced ministry leaders that I met encouraged me and enriched my ministry. I could clearly see my own strengths and weaknesses, and this gave me new hope in God, because I realized that I couldn’t do anything through my own strength.”
Alesya rejoices in the results she has seen from her ministry, while also remembering that sometimes results are slow in coming, difficult to see, or only visible in the long term. “Sometimes I want quick results, but through children’s ministry, God has humbled me in a very special way. Children with mental disabilities sometimes have a hard time understanding the gospel, and sometimes I worry that they will never really understand the Good News. But this is so wrong, because I can see the children changing, even if it happens slowly. For example, Sasha, a young boy who lives at the boarding school, heard the gospel for the first time and immediately started asking serious questions about spiritual things. We gave him his very own copy of God’s Word, and since then, I have seen him reaching out to others with the gospel!”
Alesya also has plans for how to grow and increase the impact of her ministry in the future. “After attending seminars on goal setting and ministry planning, I started thinking more strategically about ministry and how I could make our outreach to children more effective. First, I want to start a mentoring program in which families would take care of individual children, surrounding them with their love and care. Second, I want to find new ways to share the gospel with the 180 teachers and staff at the boarding school. By influencing them, we can also continue influencing the children. We have already talked with one teacher, Galina, who became interested in the gospel through our ministry and opened her heart to Jesus. Today, she serves as a witness for Christ in the boarding school.”
We praise God for using School Without Walls to play a role in the growth and development of passionate, energetic, dedicated young leaders like Alesya, who are sacrificially investing their time and energy to make a difference in the lives of the members of their community most in need of the Good News! Your generous gifts enable us to continue investing in leaders like Alesya to increase their impact!