|Help for the Hurting
08 September 2006
CWNews.com – People in the town of Beslan can never stop grieving over the act of evil that took the lives of more than 180 children.
On Sept. 1, 2004, Chechen terrorists seized school number one in Beslan, Russia, taking more than 1,000 hostages. When the siege ended three days later, 344 people had been killed – more than half of them were children.
This cemetery is grimly unique: all the graves bear the same date of death. This family came on what would have been their daughter's birthday.
In the spring, a group of American and Russian Christians also came to pay their respects to those lost. In the scarred remains of school number one, they paused to remember the victims and to reflect on the meaning of the attack.
But one group of 50 men and women went to Beslan to restore some of the hope and humanity that was lost in September 2004. How? By building a playground for the children of Beslan.
The volunteers from U.S. based Russian ministries and 'Kids Around the World' spent four days on the project.
“Even the terrorists knew children were important because they came to the school,” said Jim Rosin of Kids Around the World. “They came to the school where the children were and they that people take pride, that people, they knew, that the greatest resource that they can have, the greatest future that they can be able to plan is to invest in children so the terrorists came to take away that.”
The volunteers also purchased the 120,000 worth of playground equipment, with help from a donation by Franklin Graham’s Samaritan's purse. And as they dug in the mud and sweated in the sun they worked to serve a higher purpose.
“Because I love children and I love Christ and I'd like to see our work show through to the children that Christ loves them,” said one volunteer.
“To be able to bring something of joy, something of hope,” Rosin said. “A promise for tomorrow for the children as we come and we build a playground. Here to be able to come and to give a gift, a gift of love to the children and to the people of Beslan.”
But the Christians of Beslan know it will take more than fun and games to restore the hopes and dreams of these kids.
That's why the playground has become a place for helping them learn about Jesus. Christian youth ministers are always on hand to minister to the kids.
The counselors are building relationships by playing with them, listening to their problems, and inviting them to church activities. Sometimes they invite the kids to a local counseling center where they and their families can find help for bad memories.
At the center, Christian counselors have helped about 800 families deal with the pain of the terror attack. Some victim's have experienced dramatic change.
Russian ministries' Sergey Rakhuba tells of one woman who lost her 14-year-old daughter in the attack and who later gave her life to Christ at the center.
“But what was amazing, that that lady got pregnant two months later,” Sergey said. “And she has a new daughter today, born on the same day the first daughter had her birthday. And that lady today she brings others to the counseling center saying that's where I heard about the gospel, that's where I heard about new hope in Jesus, that's where I accepted Jesus and Jesus gave me hope to my heart, not just hope, he gave me another daughter.”
By Charlene Israel
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