POVERTY AND DESPAIR FORCED OLYA TO JOIN THE ARMY
At the end of an exhausting cold winter day, Olya has returned to her tent. She lights a small oil heater which radiates precious little heat, but it felt so good to get out of the biting cold wind and away from potential sniper fire of Russian troops 400 meters away.
She spent some time sipping hot tea and reflecting on the events of the day – then pulled several blankets over herself and settled in for a typical restless night’s sleep.
Her mind wandered, and for a few joyful moments, she was at home with her daughters Maria and Ilona, giving them a hug and kiss good night. Like on so many nights before, fatigue took over as she began praying for them, and she soon drifted off to sleep in God’s presence and protection.
On the opposite side of the country in Western Ukraine, Olya’s mother was deep in prayer herself, pleading with God for her daughter’s safety and ultimately her return home.
Olya’s mother is endearing grandmother who has lived a sad, heartbreaking life. Her husband died while she was still a young mother with two little children.
Her daughters grew up, but unfortunately, they didn’t marry well, and consequently, both were divorced, each with two daughters.
Tragedy struck again, with the death of her eldest daughter (Olya’s sister). The family was so poor they had to take out a loan to pay for the funeral and burial, which was the equivalent of more than a year’s salary.
Neither Olya nor her mother could find a decent job in their town to support four young children and pay off the debts from the funeral. It was a distressing time for both of them.
For Olya, it was unbearable to watch her mother cry each day and see the look of desperation in her eyes. Poverty and despair forced her to make a radical decision.
She summoned all her courage and enlisted in the military to serve in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine, where the fighting was still raging, and people were dying almost every day.
Olya was prepared to risk her life to improve the financial situation for her mother and the four girls.
ANSWERED PRAYERS AND TRANSFORMED LIVES
However, this dreadful situation led the grandma to a local Baptist Church (invited by a friend) where she would plead with God for help in her despair.
He answered her prayers through the church and HART’s Child Sponsorship Program. Olya’s daughter, Maria, now had a sponsor from Saskatchewan.
The church members welcomed and accepted this family with warmth and understanding. They’re even trying to help fix up their home, a dilapidated old, two-room house. It has been a slow process because literally every corner of the house needed renovations.
At the same time, the Child Sponsor Program has provided the family with food packages and a Christian caseworker who took a personal interest in the grandmother, and her family situation.
God’s answers to her cry for help were life-changing, as the grandmother soon became a Christian and was recently baptized. Her grand kids also started attending church and its Sunday school programs.
PLEASE CONSIDER SPONSORING A CHILD THROUGH HART
…and begin a transformation story for a child and his/her family!