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Building Hope Through Partnerships

When the body of Christ works together as it should, miracles happen. The result will be changed lives and saved lives, as in the case of Nadya and Roma in Lviv, Ukraine.

HART (you) and a local Baptist church (connected to us through our Child Sponsor Project), and a Sponsor from Canada – all worked in consort to transform the lives of a frail, ailing mother and her daughter living in abject poverty.

Nadya had experienced much despair in her lifetime. Sixteen years earlier, while pregnant with her daughter Roma, both of her parents passed away. This profound personal tragedy was compounded by her husband’s abrupt desertion of her and their newborn, leaving Nadya all alone to face the challenges of parenthood and survival on her own.

Through these difficult times, she did not have relatives or close friends to support her, either morally or financially. Nadya started drinking to cope with her anxiety, pain, and loneliness. Over time, her alcoholism resulted in severe liver and kidney issues.

When Roma was about eight years old, Nadya was befriended by a lady from a local Baptist church, partnering with HART and its Child Sponsorship Program. Roma was brought into the program, a sponsor was found, and the Church’s caseworker began providing food, clothing, counseling, and spiritual support for them.

This help was a life-changing event for this little family. Roma began to attend a Christian day center and Sunday school. Her heart opened to God, and she also felt deep gratitude to the compassionate sponsors who were loving her from a distance.

A fateful visit from her sponsor

In the summer of 2019, Roma’s Canadian sponsors came to Ukraine as part of a HART Team. They were excited to have the opportunity to visit their sponsored kids, including sixteen-year-old Roma.

The sponsors told us of their mixed emotions from this first visit. Although delighted to finally meet and get to know Roma and her mom after years of support, they were stunned by their deplorable living conditions.

Nadya and Roma lived on the main floor of a tiny, dilapidated two-story house that hadn’t had any repair work done in decades.

The home’s foundation was crumbling and sinking, which created deep cracks in the house walls. It also caused breaks in the water pipes, which meant water was continually leaking into the shallow basement beneath the main floor.

The water caused pervasive dampness and humidity in the home to the point that the walls were soon covered in mold. Even their meager furnishings were crooked and misshapen from constant exposure to moisture.

With the Child Sponsorship project’s help, Nadya and Roma had been slowly dealing with some of these issues and trying to make ends meet—that is until the situation became more acute.

Desperate Circumstances

One day their second-floor neighbors decided to renovate an outside storage shed adjacent to Nadya’s kitchen. In the renovation process, they somehow damaged the floor beams running through her kitchen. As a result, a whole section of the kitchen floor collapsed within a few days, opening a gaping hole into a damp, flooded basement.

Some of the kitchen furniture crashed into the hole, and their old fridge precariously leaning forward, hovered dangerously over the hole, ready to fall at any time.

Since the kitchen was now unusable, Nadya and Roma cooked their meals on a small electric stove in their bedroom. The open basement caused even worse dampness in the home. Soon, the hardwood flooring in other parts of the house started to rot and disintegrate.

It was during this predicament that the sponsors showed up to visit Roma and her mom. They had to walk gingerly over or around damaged portions of the floors, careful not to fall into any holes.

They learned from the caseworker that Nadya couldn’t pay to have the floors renovated. Her health issues were eating up what little finances they had. Before the collapsing kitchen floor incident, she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and now had enormous medical bills because of this new diagnosis.

At this critical time, her only support was church volunteers and the HART caseworker. But with the needs so great, it was a strain on everyone. To rebuild the kitchen floor and repair the home’s remaining floors were too costly for the small church community.

If it hadn’t been for HART and Roma’s sponsors’ visit, the family would have lost all hope. God’s timing is always perfect!

The first thing the sponsors did was pay off Nadya’s medical debts and then purchase all the required medicines needed for her full recovery. Secondly, they paid for all the materials to repair the floors in the house.

A New Beginning

This act of compassion and the cooperation it sparked brought healing and blessings not only to Roma’s family but to every person who volunteered to help with this project. HART and Roma’s sponsors’ generosity inspired the local Baptist Church to find ways to help too.

With the cost of the materials covered by the Sponsors, Roma and her mom were still praying for God’s provision for the labor costs.

The answer to this prayer came in the form of a church member who had a small construction business. After hearing about the family’s need, he had his workers take on this project to renovate the floors – for free. Church volunteers also joined them to complete other repair work.

This family’s situation ignited the local Church and became a marvelous testimony of God’s faithfulness in their community. It demonstrated in a very practical way the power of the Body of Christ when all members work together and contribute their time, efforts, and resources for the glory of God. When it functions well, miracles can happen.

Roma’s story is also a classic example of the ‘heart’ of HART— partnerships, between the Western world and Eastern Europe, between local churches and their communities, and between members of the body of Christ. The joy of helping others and the blessings that it brings to both the giver and receiver is something HART has been facilitating for 25 years.

Thank you to Roma’s sponsors, the church body, and HART donors for all you do to make God’s kingdom manifest in our hurting and troubled world. Thank you for standing by your brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe.

We can’t change the whole world, but we can change the world for some, even if that “some” is one poor ailing mother and her daughter somewhere on the other side of the world in Eastern Europe.

Together, we can make a difference—one heart at a time!

To support other families-in-crisis like Nadya and Roma, please prayerfully consider partnering with us to bring hope to the hopeless by sharing the love of
God with them in word and deed.