Dressed prim and proper: one doll hidden inside the other, each beautiful in its own right. These decorated wooden dolls "with a secret" inside are also called matryoshka dolls or babushka dolls. These beautiful dolls are a perfect representation of the 40 women we met at a church in Zelenodolsk, Tatarstan, Russia on a Global Outreach trip in 2013.
Inspired by these women’s beauty inside and out, their servant-hearts showed deep gratitude for our feeble attempts to serve them. We learned over the 10 days we were there that many women had hidden secrets of shame and hurt. Most had been abandoned by their fathers in childhood and later again by husbands and brothers leaving them alone, with few resources and feeling unlovable. But together, they share a strong common bond and reflect love, hope, support and unity within their church family. I was then, and still am, in awe of their strength and courage.
These dolls serve to remind me of the strength and beauty we have together, and the promise that we have in Jesus Christ, that He will never abandon his own.
Karen resides in Sanford, Maine and has been a volunteer at Curtis Lake since 2007. She is currently enjoying retired life with her husband Joe.