An orphan's life

 The Ugly Little Duckling

I remember the day we first met very clearly. A skinny little girl 5 years old or so walked up to me, looking rather amusing in glasses several sizes too large. She cocked her head to one side to consider me, proudly announced: “My name is Viktoria!” and proceeded to give me a huge bear hug, wrapping her skinny little arms around me and squeezing for all she was worth. From then on, she was by my side at every opportunity, hanging on to me and hugging me as tight as she could.

Working at the orphanage with Viktoria by my side was quite the challenge. She was constantly trying to help. She loved when we did crafts together and whenever I walked in with a bag in my hand, she would start crowing: “Mama Sveta’s going to do crafts with us!”  She was a real live wire, overflowing with energy, extremely active, She became ‘my dear little Vika,’ my know-it-all, non-stop-motion helper who somehow managed to be in every corner of the room, on top of me, and bouncing in circles all at the same time!

 One of the orphanage caretakers started calling her “Our Ugly Little Duckling,” and in many ways it seemed to be true. She was constantly getting in trouble for others’ misbehavior, because guilty or not, she somehow always managed to be in the middle of things.

 Vika had a hard time with her schoolwork. However, during our Bible lessons, she read the Bible with great enthusiasm and obvious enjoyment. She would raptly follow the exploits of the Biblical heroes, soaking in all the details - and still have a ton of questions after the lesson. One day, as we were bowing our heads to end the lesson with a prayer, my little Vika got the first word in before I had a chance to start. She said simply “Forgive me, Lord…” as tears of repentance rolled down her cheeks. After we prayed, she came up and asked me “did God really make my heart clean?”  “Of course He did,” I answered.

 Vika and I ended up spending a lot of time just talking, sharing our dreams with each other, reading the Bible and praying together. Vika’s greatest dream, and the one that seemed like would never come true, was for her to come to have a mother and father.


Time passed, Vika grew physically, as well as growing in her faith in God. She began trusting Him more and more. One day when I arrived at the orphanage, I didn’t even recognize the girl who came bounding out to meet me. She was simply shining, jumping for joy, spinning in circles… “Mama Sveta! God gave me parents! A Mama and a Papa! Just wait ‘til you see how pretty they are!”  When she had calmed down a little, we stopped and prayed together, thanking the Lord for this wonderful gift.

 Later, when she had moved out of the orphanage to live with her new family, ‘my little Vika’ brought her parents to my church, which she had visited many, many times in the past. It was great to meet them! Vika’s new parents were so happy, and they thanked the Lord for Vika, for the friend I’d been to her, and for the chance for us all to be friends now.

Praise the Lord for His blessings, for His love and care for these orphan children. I am also sincerely grateful to Agape ministries and each and every person who supports Agape. Thank you so much for giving me this wonderful opportunity to minister to orphan children. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.” Pr. 31:8
Of course, in some ways it was hard to see Vika go. When I said goodbye to ‘my’ dear little Vika, I gave her a Bible and chocolate, and showered her with loving words… and was completely surprised when she pulled out a gift for me! “This is for you! I picked it out with Mama and Papa!”

 A few days later, I received a touching email from Vika. “Hello, Aunt Sveta! Everything’s going great for me here. I’m in Kiev with Mama and Papa. I’ve gotten a new haircut. I love you a lot. Goodbye, Viktoria.” There were pictures, too. Oh, the pictures… looking out at me, smiling, was my ‘Ugly Little Duckling.’ But she was truly a beautiful Swan now, with a pretty haircut and new glasses.


 May the Lord keep and protect you, ‘my’ dear little girl. He has a wonderful future in store for you!

With Love and Prayers for you,

Aunt Sveta



























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