Our ministry director and I speak often and during one of our conversation he was telling me about how God was really blessing our orphanage ministry, despite many of the restrictions placed upon us by the government (who don’t want Christians to minister to orphans anymore). But by God’s grace, we are still able to minister to orphans in several locations – one of them being an orphanage in the Kharkov suburb of Saltavka.
In December or January, we always seek to put on some sort of Christmas program. Our team went to Saltavka orphanage and spoke with the children about the meaning of Christmas. Vova reported how amazing it was to seeing how interested the children were to learn about the true meaning of Christmas. Our team spoke about the wonder of advent, where God descended from heaven to be born as a baby child, as God incarnate. Our team, as usual, interwove the salvation story about how Jesus came not just to be born, but to sacrifice himself so others could be reconciled to him once again, since we are lost without Jesus as our Savior.
Then with a sense of excitement, expectation, wonder, and joy, 16 children accepted Jesus as their Savior! We passed out some biblical resources to help them on their new path as Christians. Here are two testimonies of two sisters Bogadana (15 years old) and Yaroslavna (13 years old):
Bogdana & Yaroslavna’s Story
Hello, we are Bogdana and Yaroslavna and we grew up in a village near Kharkov called Sharovka. Before I was born (Bogdana), the doctors said that my mom should do an abortion because they believed that I was going to die during my mom’s pregnancy or be very deformed physically. But when I was born, I was OK. So everyone told my mom to name me Bogdana, because my name means “A child given by God.” So I believe God had a purpose for me before I was born, but I didn’t know how or why.
You should know that our mommy is a simple village woman and our daddy unfortunately is an alcoholic. We grew up in extreme poverty and never had enough food on our table to eat. Our usual meal was just bread and water to eat. We planted a garden this year so we could have some vegetables, but the summer was so hot that majority of the vegetables never could be harvested because of drought. Because my parents were very fearful and discouraged that they could no longer take care of us, they left us at the orphanage. There isn’t any Christian church in our village, and we don’t think any Christian live there either. So we never grew up knowing about Jesus.
We didn’t want to leave our parent and we want to go back home, but after meeting you wonderful Christians, we are thankful that we came to the orphanage. Since Slavic Christian Ministries has been teaching us since our arrival two months ago, we have learned much about God and Jesus than we ever knew beforehand. Now we want to follow Jesus, we want to change our lives, have better behavior, and hopefully someday, have a better life for ourselves. Please pray about us as we try to learn more about God. Please also pray about our parents and that God will help us all come back together someday. Thank you for telling us about God. This is going to be a good Christmas!
- Bogdana and Yaroslavna
Dear friends, our Lord does have a special plan for these two girls. And he gave them a very special Christmas gift – his salvation! Thankfully, the Lord used our ministry to help reach this decision for Christ! Please pray that he will take care of these beautiful children in the coming months and years. Being an orphan in Ukraine is very difficult and filled with many dangers. So please keep these girls and all these beautiful children in your prayers. Please also pray that we can continue to minister in the orphanages as long as possible.