Dear Friends and Partners,
I hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and hopefully you’re now looking forward to a joyful Christmas holiday. My family is delighted to celebrate Brianna’s first Christmas. She’ll be six months old on New Years Day!
Realizing that not every child in the world has been blessed as much as us, please allow me to share with you the story of one 13 year old boy whose life differs greatly from yours. His name is Nikolai, and he was dropped off at a Ukrainian orphanage two years ago.
AM I LOVABLE?
Hello, my name is Nikolai. I was born into a blended family, where my two siblings came from my mom’s first marriage and I was my dad’s only child. Unfortunately, shortly after I was born, my dad abandoned our family and moved away. I never knew him, and because my mom never remarried, I never experienced the love of any dad, much less, my dad. People tell me that he lives nearby with a new family, but he’s never taken the time to visit me. I wish I understood why, because I’d like to see him. I guess he is busy.
Growing up, my mom became very depressed and began drinking lots of alcohol. Whenever she got drunk, she beat me. After growing tired from the many beatings, I decided to run away from home. How could my life away from home be any worse than what I was experiencing at home? I thought to myself. Besides, no around cares about me anyway—so why stay?
I lived on the streets since I was nine years old. During the day, I hung out with my other homeless friends on the streets. They were the only family I really knew. Quickly, however, I discovered that the streets weren’t safe at night. To protect myself, I spent as much time as possible inside the casinos, nightclubs, or the cold cement floors of high rise apartment stairwells – I had no place else to go or to sleep.
Eventually, my half-sister found me and brought me to an orphanage so I could at least have food and a bed to sleep in every night. I have lived in Saltavka orphanage for two years.
The people from Slavic Christian Ministries began visiting me every week. They taught me Bible stories, played games with me, and became my friend. Somebody finally cared about me! Eventually, I decided to accept Jesus as my Savior. I am so happy to learn that Jesus loves me and that he will never leave me, even if everyone else does!
I am so happy to see Vova and Lena and all the helpers. The moment I see them, I run to them, greet them with a smile, and help them any way I can. I am so happy that God put these people in my life—and God has even brought me to a family that will adopt me! In a very short time I will be someone’s son! Not only do I know that God loves me, but other people do too! I guess that I am lovable!
Friends, since we received this testimony about Nikolai, he has now been placed in a good home in a town called Kolomak, about an hour drive away from our city of Kharkov. He has two new siblings and two new parents that care for him very much. And to add to this wonderful story, there is a church with one of our partnering denominations in this particular town! Hopefully, we can encourage Nikolai and his family to attend this church very soon! Because of your love, prayers, and commitment to this ministry, we are reaching many kids like Nikolai.
As you enter this Christmas season, please take some time to thank God for every blessing he has given you—a family, a bed, food, and safety. We often take them for granted. And please remember to pray for all of the orphans in Ukraine. Pray that they will all know our Lord Jesus as Savior and that he will bless them all with the gift of Christmas—the gift of himself.