An orphan's life

 Young Men’s Adaptation Center in Krivoi Rog

 On August 25th 2013, Agape Ministry’s new Adaptation Center for Young Men in Krivoi Rog was up and running, as two orphanage graduates moved in to live with a Christian family there. Anton Dubrovsky and Sasha Korotky became a part of the Sukhovoy family.

 This is what Elena Sukhovoy has to share with us about their experience so far:

 “My name is Elena, my husband is Oleg. We ourselves have not had an easy life. We traveled through many ‘deep valleys’ together, and always seemed to be in search of something different and unusual. We found what we were looking for. It was the Lord. We can testify to the miracles we saw Him work before our very eyes. He set us free from addictions, changed our ways of thinking about the world around us. He gave us his Holy Spirit, strengthened and built us up in our faith and placed a deep desire in our hearts to minister to teenage orphans. 

As of today, we have two guys living with us. Naturally, when we started, we had no idea how hard it would actually be. Praise the Lord, He was right there with us all the way! He gave us the wisdom and patience that we found ourselves in such need of. Soon we were friends with the guys, and began to get to know them more closely, discovering things we had in common.

We know that with God there are no obstacles impossible to overcome, in Him we find all the strength and life that we need. These two teenagers had led a hard life, and as a result were definitely a bit rough around the edges when they first arrived. That said, we continued to try as hard as we could to truly make them a part of our family in hopes that they would really come to trust us.

 

Let me share a little about Anton: his childhood ended when he was moved in to a children’s shelter at 10yrs old. In his own words, life there was “hard, stupid, and boring.” His memories of  himself as a toddler and young child are almost entirely negative. Here’s one example: when he was 3yrs old or so, he had a green tricycle. His mother took him out for a walk one evening, and took his trike along. As they were out, his mom pulled him off his bike and sold it to someone for $6 so she could get some liquor. She was constantly drinking and the men who lived with her changed on a regular basis. There was never enough to eat and the children were often hungry. Anton ended up gathering bottles so he could buy ‘Ramen’ noodles to feed his younger brothers. He started smoking when he was five. Their neighbors finally alerted social services that the children were obviously uncared for and underfed. That was when they were taken to live at the children’s shelter.

Anton is very closed to those around him, not the extrovert type at all. During the early days of his time here, it became obvious that even though he often hid behind a mask of apathy, his conscience was still alive and functioning.

At first, he and Sasha only rarely left their room. They didn’t greet us in the morning, spent all their time on the phone with orphanage friends, ignored our requests to help out around the house. They were too timid to come into the kitchen when they were hungry, to open the fridge or look into a pot on the stove to see if there were leftovers. We found ourselves constantly having to convince them that it was ok to come out for tea or that they really did need to come eat with us. So many things that they were absolutely forbidden to do in the orphanage now were supposed to be a normal part of their daily life, and it seemed to be almost an insurmountable obstacle for them

They were as prickly as porcupines and straight out avoided all human contact whenever possible. The thing is, that’s just the front they put up to protect themselves. They really are good guys and very kind-hearted, deep down. Praise God, we began to build a true relationship with them, and they began opening up, bit by bit.

 

November 7th is my birthday - and Sasha’s, as it turns out. We spent a great evening together that day, an evening of ‘taking off our masks.’  Anton and Sasha seemed to finally feel comfortable just to be themselves, they joked and laughed with us. We talked about all sorts of things, as well as some quite serious topics. We talked about life, faith, how to find freedom from addictions, and Oleg and I shared examples of what God had done in our own lives. That evening turned out to be a watershed moment in our relationship with them.

 We go to church together on a regular basis. In the evenings, we read the Bible as a family. As we read, the guys always have lots of questions about what they’re reading. We’re starting to hear “Amens” more and more often as we pray with them. Their own prayers are still shaky, a sentence or two at most, but the very fact that they are praying is a victory for us.

They’re now getting up on their own in the mornings, fixing themselves breakfast and washing up after themselves when they’re done. They’re greeting others without prompting, becoming more respectful in their attitudes toward us and adults in general, and don’t spend all their time holed up in their room.

We also have two more guys that have begun visiting us on Sundays, Max Britsko and Sasha Morgulin. They are both planning on moving in with us next year when they graduate from the orphanage. We have lunch together, Anton and Sasha talk about their memories of  life in the orphanage, conflicts, fights and behavior that got them punished. They share how God set them free from smoking at a Christian camp this past summer. After lunch, they all go together to the youth Bible study at church.

We often go out in the evenings to walk our dog together. These relaxed times tend to help the guys be more open to talking about life in general, as well as spiritual things. We’re seeing real results of time spent together as we grow closer as a family.

We’re praying for spiritual freedom for them, praying for their repentance and faith in Christ as their personal Savior. We are overwhelmingly grateful to God for His Grace that we see so clearly working in our lives - in the patience, and love, and wisdom, and growing relationships that He has given us. We simply praise and thank Him!”

 

May God bless everyone who is praying for us!

The Sukhovoy Family

 

An orphan's life

 

Answer to the prayerWe prayed with him again about the family. 10 days later he received answer from God.

I visit the Church of Christ the Savior in the Kherson. I am director of Sunday School. At the same time I work as teacher of Bible lesson in the orphanage for children 4-7 years old. This is my first year of work. I am glad that God allowed me to carry His Word to these kids.

I work in an orphanage for the very smallest children, from 1 year to 3-4 years old. I teach Bible lessons there three times a week. Many Christians that I meet are not supportive of my ministry. They don’t believe that such little children are capable of believing in God. However, I know that they’re mistaken.

 

 

I am so grateful that God has me in a life of full time ministry to these needy girls, for whose care and protection He, as their Heavenly Father, is particularly concerned... 

I like “Christian ethic” lessons … they tell us about mercifulness and God's love. I become much more peaceful and relived.

Diana 14 years old

 

As I watched the video about the plight of Ukrainian orphans, my eyes filled with tears as I began to see how great their need is - and began to understand that God wanted to use me to serve them...