He writes: “We are about to take on an Orphanage of Disadvantaged Children near Daugavpils, Latvia (near the Belarus and Lithuanian border) – which is a long away from central authorities.
This week he heads to Latvia for another of his mercy missions to the orphanages, prisons, poor churches and the orphans summer camps. He is about to start the summer season of Orphans Camps in Latvia.
“Our leaders in Latvia have decided to go ahead with these wonderful camps once again. We started them in 1999 at a camp site we developed at Dobelnieki, Latvia. In the last 13 years we’ve had thousands of children from most of our orphanages attend their summer camps where they grow spiritually in a marvellous way,” he explained.
David Smethurst draws attention to one particular situation.
The story of Vanessa
Growing up fast isn’t an option for 13 yr old Vanessa, it’s a necessity if she is to survive, take care of her mother, and make it through each day. It’s only the two of them, mother and daughter. “Mum” Natalia is 49 years old and Vanessa just turned 13.
Vanessa has never known her natural Father. She has never seen him. Her step Father was the one who was always there. Vanessa places him in her heart as her real dad. That heart got broken three years ago when he was tragically killed. It was a painful time, but the agony was too much for mum and she began to drink heavily.
Vanessa and her mum found themselves counted among those living below the poverty line. Then tragedy struck again in June of 2011. “Mama” Natalia fell out a window while washing it and broke her back. After numerous operations and time to recover, Vanessa’s mum still can barely get out of bed every day.
Vanessa took care of her mum and household responsibilities. Fortunately she attends school and when not in school she tries to survive another day and provide some kind of stable life for herself and her mum, and all the while praying for restoration. There are bills to pay, issues of food and clothing and taking care of other life needs.
Vanessa and her mum live in a room they are renting, which is part of an old and very cold dormitory. They share the kitchen, toilet, and shower with other people who live in the complex. And, even in these meagre accommodations, the rent barely gets paid with the little government assistance they receive. Vanessa still has to find ways to pay for the heating and electricity, or do without. Any monthly assistance also has to supply medication for her mother and food for both of them. They receive the equivalent to $180 USD. It’s not enough – not even close.
Vanessa is a bright girl and for now, is at the top of her class in grades. But this young teenager needs of lots of love and care herself. The life education she is quickly receiving is rough but some how she is holding on. Although she lacks the most basic things in life, the greatest thing she needs most is for someone to take care of her.
In Latvia corporately my Eastern European team care for over 150 families (Smethurst Ministries). We have now included Vanessa and her mum in the program, supplying food and help on a regular basis to supplement their needs. The next step is to get help for 'mum' Natalia in overcoming the problems she faces emotionally.
With every effort to supply “bread” for life, our team includes the “Bread of Life” in teaching, love, and friendship. Pray with us for the Lord to sustain and strengthens Vanessa, while putting her on a path that leads to life more abundant.
For more information on Smethurst Ministries: smethurstministries.org