Supporting Orphans in Ukraine - CHANGED LIVES

My name is Sergei and I am 16 years old. I was born 12/01 in the town of Drohobycny. I am serving a living God and because of that I live, not just exist. Very often my memories take me back to the time I was just existing. It was about eight years ago when my parents started drinking very heavy and the family started breaking up. Mom and dad fought a lot and later my dad started beating us up - my mother, me and my brother. At this kind of atmosphere we were spending our black years of childhood until the moment when my brother and me could not take it any more and ran away from home. Occasionally we were going back, than leaving again till it became our style of life. When we were hungry I was going to nearby cities to wash cars to be able to buy at least a piece of bread. We were away from home weeks and sometimes months.

 Being with other street kids we started smoking, then drinking, then later we starting smelling glue - we liked it and without noticing we got addicted. I could be hungry but I was ready to give away everything for a bag of glue. The time was passing by and the streets became my home where I lived with other kids who came through similar experiences. While living in the street I became very aggressive and independent - that was the only way to survive on the street. Inspite of everything the Lord was with me. I realized later after I understood from what He delivered me and from whose hands He took me away.

In the year 2000 my brother and me were placed into Dobromyl orphanage. Soon I found my mom was imprisoned for 1 1/2 years. It has been 7 years since I am at this school. In this very place I was told, "God loves you". Those words were always with me as I really felt His love to me and I know now that God is love. Very quickly I was delivered from the toxic addiction of drugs, but even I started seeking God, cigarettes were dominating and controlling me. Then I turned to the Owner of my life and asked him to deliver me from smoking - and He surely did.

Even if I do not like the school at times, I am happy to be here because in this very place I found my true happiness, in this very place for the very first time I heard about a Heavenly Father who loved me and cares for me. I thank the Lord that He called me for His Purpose, for His use. Now as He leads me with His hand I am following Him.

Even if I do not have my physical father present in my life I do not lack love as I know my Heavenly Father and have His presence in my life. There are so many people who need God. I thank the Lord for being my shepherd, my pastor and I can hear His voice when I pray to Him. For the first time I do not breathe the toxins of alcohol or drugs, but breathe in the Word of God. I thank all people through whom God worked in bringing me to know Him.

My name is Marichka. I am 17 years old and in grade 10. In my home was my mom, dad, and 5 brothers. When we were little everything was really good, we had a really beautiful and fun time together. Many times we went to the forest and loved and played by the streams. Then suddenly something happened between my mom and dad. My dad started drinking a lot and began to really beat my mom up bad. Then in time he started beating up my brothers for no reason, only because he was drinking so much. I was the only daughter in the family, so he did not beat me up. There were times when he was kicking my mom out of the house, but I always felt sad for her and sneaked later to open the door and let her in.

Within some time my dad discovered he was very sick, and the doctors advised him not to drink but he did not pay attention to them. I remember a time when my brother Kolya was shepherding the sheep and the wolf stole one of them. When dad discovered that, he kicked my mom and my brothers out of the house and told them to sleep outside. When I turned six, the teachers from Lavriv came and took me to the orphanage.

At the orphanage we often had Christian visitors who brought us gifts. This was so new to us. Sometimes I wanted to leave the orphanage and sometimes not. My heart was hungry for more of what I heard and in secret I was copying the Christian songs they sang and learning them. When I was in grade 5 my dad died. I was transferred to the orphanage in Dobromyl. There Kolya once gave me a gift, a Bible. This was so new to me so I asked him who gave it to me. He told me it was God. I always was thinking and asking Kolya how it was that God gave it to me. He told me that with time I would understand. In grade 7 at spring I repented, accepted Jesus into my heart and I got to know the living God. It was a decision which I will never be sorry about. I decided to follow Jesus by the narrow way. Day by day I feel stronger in God. He is everything for me. Olenka always took me to Shatsky lakes where I was more and more convinced about God's love, kindness, forgiveness, tenderness and care. God began to teach me to trust Him. I remember the moment when Nadia was getting married and invited us to her wedding, and our principal did not give us permission to attend. I was so disappointed. But as we kept praying He heard us and we were allowed to go. It was a great lesson of trust for us. I want to always have a pure water running from my heart, I want to always be with God and be like His son, Jesus. My dream is to attend the Seminary so I can learn more about God, the Bible and tell others of how great and good God is!

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