“Children without families are the most vulnerable people in the world”
– Brooke Randolph
The House of Hope
It was a rainy day and the rain drops were drumming hard against the window. Our small meeting room had a sign and that distinct smell of the long passed soviet era. It was an old room in desperate need of a facelift.
The director of the boarding school was seating behind her tired desk, piled with all sorts of paperwork. The clutter was unavoidable. She had been there a long time. A long-time mother for hundreds of forsaken kids. Her door never closed for any of “her” children. They all were welcomed any time.
The question she asked just a moment before hit the target hard. It resonated the cry of my heart, pressed me hard against the very cry of my own soul and prayer. I had to answer but there was so many “buts” and so much uncertainty. Her question hanged in the air unanswered. She leaned on her desk, posturing herself for a serious talk, looked at me and asked the same question making her words as distinct as possible:
“Will you take our kids to your House of Hope? They all want to go. They graduate here in June. They want you to take them. How many can you accommodate? I will give you permission to take all of them. Will you take them? How many?”
How many? That produced waves of pain and faith at the same time. How many? That pressed me against the wall of my own heart. I wanted, wanted to scream my lungs out – “ALL! All of them! We will take all of them, all of them and more.” But painful reality, logic and calculation – God, dearest Jesus, what do we do? How do we turn away, and yet how can we?”
I was taken back to a vivid God moment just few years back. It was like a flashback. I was back in my room meditating on a dream I just had. Dream? No, not a dream – it was a God moment. It was Him speaking. I knew it full well. It was His voice, His handwriting – unmistakable. “I want you to go back to the land I took you from and bless the people. Go back and help them.”
Go back…go back after thirty years of hard rock commitment to the people of Siberia. After almost thirty years in the ministry to my now beloved Siberia. Going back…was not an easy task. But I knew well, it was not open for discussion, it was not an option, it was His choice because He had heard the cry of people. It was not up to me to argue.
He guided us here, He led each step of the way. He parted the sea so many times. How can I doubt. At this moment we already had kids staying with us. We had already opened our hearts and home to forsaken teenagers. Kids of no hope, kids of misery. But more? How can we take more? Where do we get room? But how can we not?
The “House of Hope” is His project. It is Him who hears the cry of the teenage boys and girls. It is Him and Him alone, who sees the great and anointed future of these kids. It is God Himself Who comes to their rescue. One by one He is touching their lives.
My mind raced back to the kids already staying with us. Flashback – seeing them on their knees reaching out to God. Being embraced by the power of God, being born again and filled His Spirit – it was so obvious!
God is up to something so much bigger, He is rising the NEW army, people of radical faith, people of loving, passionate and radical faith – many times I seen it as these kids worshiped God and prayed.
Another flashback to a tearful face and whispered words of appreciation: “Thank you for taking me out. Thank you for having me”. Spoken by a boy we took out of a house that could hardly be called a house. The walls were gone, the windows and flooring had been sold for another glass of vodka. Just a dirt floor, rotten mattress and a shivering boy.
Dearest Jesus, how can I say no now? How would I pray, how could I live with these words ringing in my ears? It was God asking me to believe Him for more. It was Him, I knew it was He who led us here. It was His voice and I knew I was left with no option other than to trust Him to part yet another sea for us to go through.
We can extend the house, we can build another room – maybe two. There is some space for two more rooms – we can renovate the basement. One by one things were clicking in my mind and I began to see possibilities, more and more.
She was still postured for an answer, and she was not taking “no” for an answer. The director looked into my eyes and smiled with relief. She knew the answer. The rest was just a logistics.
Today, we are in the process of extending our home for more teenagers. We are stretching to make room where there is no room. It might be a little tight, might be a little small but our hearts are wide open. In our hearts we have already accommodated ALL of them – all ten of them this year. To us they ALL belong!
We are working hard connecting vision and faith to reality. We are working hard to renovate and prepare for more kids to come. For us it is like that final scene when Oscar Schindler saw how many people he saved. Every chance is worth trying and we do, we do! We try and act on every thought, every chance! Nothing is taken for granted.
Nothing comes easy and we are reaching out to you for prayer. Would you pray with us for these many things? Pray for the renovation process and the permits to be granted. Pray for the wisdom to make right decisions and for builders. Yes, we need HELP, need those who can come and help us build. Pray for the “manna” of God’s provision for each step of the way. Pray for us to have strength to keep going. For our team – people of great heart!
We appreciate your kindness of love.
With many thanks
Vitaly and Nadezhda Kogan
I have known Vitaly from 1993 where I met him in Latvia, at the time I first ministered at the Word of Truth Church in Riga. He was about to leave for Siberia at that stage.
It’s an honor and a privilege to stand with Vitaly and Petr, his co-pastor, in this great work with the Orphans and Homeless Kids in Ukraine.