Kids Are Her Call
Kids are her Call in life. These kids are not ordinary kids, they need God. What a way to discover the call of God in her life. Read more..
Welcome Our Special Guest
My name is Ruth Shapovalov. I am a child of God, a wife, a mother , and a grandmother. I live in the very small town of Sultan with my husband. All of our children are grown, with lives of their own. As my children grew, I discovered that the teenage years are the most misunderstood and least “lovable” of all the ages. From the time my kids were old enough to walk from place to place alone, they began bringing kids home. I would feed, talk with, and help these kids. Soon it turned into more; with abused kids coming to our home for shelter and safety.
When we moved to Western Washington, my husband and I acquired an existing appliance business as an investment. This proved to be a valuable learning experience, and cost us everything we had. We lost all of our financial security just after my daughter got married to a wonderful man who would support her, and her little son who had been born almost two years earlier. In that loss, we found ourselves having to relocate to the tiny town of Sultan, Washington, which had some of the most affordable real estate in the entire state. I started providing in home care for elderly and infirm people, as a professional caregiver. David found work as a truck driver.
I was introduced to a teen program at the local Boys and Girls Club by a young 82-year-old man. He was going to the Club every week and spending just one hour with these teens; teaching them about accountability. I watched and helped a couple of times, and then he simply walked away from the program and left it in my hands.
The program has since grown into something that touches the lives of troubled kids between middle and high school age. We cook together, play games, have deep discussions, do crafts and activities, and take field trips. But most of all; I listen to them. God has placed me in these kids’ lives without a doubt. I know this, because the most hurting and vulnerable among them have started bringing me their friends. My heart is broken for them.
Here is the thing: There is a song which has a lyric that says “Break my heart for what breaks Yours”. I prayed this, and God answered. My heart is broken for the neglected, mistreated, impoverished, poorly fed, unloved and unsupported teenagers. Those rough speaking, disrespectful, loud and lost big children. I love them. God has placed in me a love for them that defies all logic and transcends all obstacles placed in my way. I no longer provide in-home care except on a very limited basis; maybe once per month.
There is not much money for my program. Since 2012 I have been funding what I do with the kids by using profits from a small home-based business, in which I market high-quality meal replacements and supplements. Occasionally community members give me some money I can use to purchase things for my kids. I cook for and with them. I provide craft supplies, games, and sometimes even take them all out for coffee, all at my own cost. Some people disregard my home business, or belittle it, and yet it has been the means to change the lives of my customers, AND change the lives of my kids.
One thing I would do differently in reaching out to these kids is to have them work harder at setting up and cleaning up, with our various foods and projects. I have spoiled them, I fear. And yet, they really understand this as a language of love that they can understand. I strive to learn their individual “love languages” and speak to them in ways that go to their hearts.
Anyone wishing to reach out to teenagers, and help them stay sober, straight, and on the right side of the law, should be very prepared to be challenged. They are like cats. They will run away if you aggressively pursue them. But if you are engaged with something that catches their attention, and you just continue quietly as they watch, they will be pulled in and they will want to participate. Also, if you feed them, they will stay. I offer my teens a hot meal almost right away after they arrive from school. I often see them running to the Boys and Girls Club, backpacks flying, in anticipation for what we will do that day. I’m greeted with massive smiles and calling out of “Ruth!!! Ruth!!! What are we going to do today? What is there to eat?” So, if you want to reach them, find out what they need, what they like, and whether or not they’re hungry. Set great rules of no rudeness, no bad language, and no bullying – but don’t expect perfection. Warmly reward good behavior in public, and have any correction necessary in private. Love them. And when you reach the end of that love, love them more. Tell them they are worth more than gold. Tell them they have infinite potential, and that you believe in them. Tell them you’re proud of them, and will always be cheering for them. Be God with skin on for these precious kids.
We live in a poor town, and yet there are people of means who can help. I need more financial support coming down from the corporate level, to increase my hours. I also need God’s wisdom in dealing with some of the deeply troubling things these kids are going through. I have gender-confused kids, and one transgender kid. These children are at a very high risk of suicide. I’ve been called to a mission field right here in my own backyard. It’s highly rewarding, very challenging, and I would not trade it for anything.
You can visit Sultan Boys & Girls Club by selecting our recommended links from the menu on the top of the page. Support Ruth by liking the page.
If you would like to support Ruth’s Call financially, feel free to contact us.