Robert and Ann Fuqua
Who We Are:
Ann and I have been serving with East-West as full-time missionaries since 1996. Coming from a background in film and video production, I joined East-West as Director of Communication, and for several years provided print and video support for the ministry. Ann came from a background in early childhood education, and quickly found her place serving as Director of Children’s Ministry for East-West in the early years of our service.
In 1998, we began to partner together as a couple in an added role as team shepherds; recruiting, training, and leading hundreds of Americans into the field to partner with Russian Christians in outreaches to orphans through orphanage visits called, “Day of Joy,” and orphan camps known as, “Camp Joy.”
It was a very rewarding time for us as we saw God work mightily, not only as He touched the lives of thousands of Russian orphans, but as He radically transformed our own lives, and the lives of the hundreds of other American and Russian Christians through whom He was working.
In the process, He was weaving our hearts to the hearts of the children we met, particularly in the region of Voronezh, Russia. The burden of what would become of these kids once they left the orphanages became too great for us to ignore. To us, these kids were no longer masses of children or statistics, but represented relationships God was forging, with many of them putting their hope and trust in Christ.
For us, there came a point on this journey where it wasn’t enough anymore to watch thousands of kids pray a prayer and then go on with our lives. We were seeing young men and women emerge from orphanages desperate for connection, desperate to belong, and desperate for purpose and a place in society. We believed that place was the Church. But, with the stigma attached to these children coming out of the institutions, coupled with the cloistered state of the Russian evangelical church, these children were not finding their place in the “holy huddle”.
We had spent our first decade in orphan ministry telling kids they had a Father who loved them and had a plan for their lives, a Hope and a future. In our second decade of orphan ministry, we began to ask, “If God is Father to the fatherless, then where is their mother?” We came to understand she is His Bride, the Church.
ALL of us were created to thrive in community and these kids are no exception. This is why we do what we do, so that young people formerly known as “orphans” can find that place where not only they can be served, but can themselves serve—finding validation and affirmation by discovering the very purpose for which they were born into this world … to worship and enjoy their Bridegroom forever!
Where We Are:
Our outreach is a discipleship work, primarily focused on orphanage graduates in Voronezh, Russia.
One of the reasons East-West founders launched this mission in the early nineties was in response to the evangelistic explosion taking place in Russia at that time and the “fortress mentality” of the evangelical church coming out from under communism. People were embracing Christ by the thousands but were not being embraced by the Church. Twenty years later, a great challenge still remains to encourage local churches in outreach and embracing outsiders, and as in both Old and New Testament times, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger are definitely outsiders and near to the heart of God.
What We Do:
In addition to serving in a support-raising role for the ongoing orphan outreach being done by the Russian national team in Voronezh, we continue to spend significant time in the field in a mentoring role with the team and the team leadership.
We have the great privilege to witness first-hand God bringing young Russian men and women from the dark, despairing halls of the orphanages to places of service and leadership in the emerging evangelical church of Russia.
We began the post-orphanage focus of the ministry in 2004, with the launch of the “You Are Not Alone Club,” a Young Life style ministry in Voronezh to college-age orphans. We moved to Russia in 2005, and in 2006 launched the ministry of Hope House—a residential, transitional ministry, currently serving young men ages 18 to 23, where the ultimate goal of discipleship is being carried out in the context of life-on-life mentoring. We served in the role of house parents to more than 30 boys (not all at the same time) from 2006 until God gave us Russian house parents in 2012.
During that time we also launched MOCT Digital—a video business with a mission, which employs and/or engages as volunteers a number of young men, former residents of Hope House, who are actively supporting ministries locally and across the former Soviet Union.
Today the outreaches to younger orphans through orphanage visits, which began in 1998, are now being continued by a ministry team of over 40 volunteers. These volunteers are all Russian nationals from nine different local churches. Many are also themselves orphanage graduates, who when they were 10-12 years old were being ministered to by the American teams we brought, and now in their mid-twenties they are a vital part of the ministry team, some in leadership roles.
The ministry team also hosts orphan camps throughout the year as well as a camp each summer for Down Syndrome children and their families.