Heartfelt letter from a soldier stationed at the front lines of the war in Ukraine, expressing gratitude to HART and his Sponsor for the profound impact they’ve had on his life.
Dear HART, When we, four children, were left without a mother and without a father, the Lord came to our rescue because He sent us you – so far away in distance but so close and dear to our hearts. I will never forget how my sister and I were being photographed for the Sponsorship program, and our older brother asked us, “Will these Americans take you away? I will not give you away to anyone!”
I remember my sponsor Jody Fuller, who often wrote letters and sent me different pictures. Jody traveled a lot and wrote to me about it. I could only dream of such travels. My older sister Uliana, who was our guardian, used to say, “You will grow up, get a job, do your best, and go on your own journey.” Time passed, and something terrible happened: my first journey at the age of 26 was to the war.
But I remember from the summer camps where we were told that life was better with the Lord. Your Mission is doing a very good job! It’s great that there were not only camps but post-camp meetings, where we were told about Jesus and His love. They also taught us how to take care of ourselves, how to clean up, and how to obey and respect teachers. I learned all this thanks to your Mission. Thank you very much!
When I got older and started earning money, my first purchase was a car for $1,000. It was old, but I could travel to buy things and bring them home because we live in the countryside. I could help Maria (Caseworker) bring food for the children supported through the child sponsorship program.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to enjoy it for a long time because very soon, I received a summons at my workplace and was told to get ready for the war. Today I am standing guard and it is very scary. War is the worst thing in the world. I never thought that I would be defending my homeland. Please pray for us.
Thank you so much for your kind and generous hearts. I remember receiving nice gifts from my sponsor. For example, once, I got a warm winter jacket, and no one at my school had one. I was so very happy.
Please keep doing your work, which is of great importance, and help needy families. May the peace of God abide in you.
With respect, Dmytro
FROM JODY (Dmytro’s sponsor)
Dear HART team,
Dmytro was my first sponsor child in 2005. He was seven years old. I learned about HART from a friend at the Tokyo Union Church in Japan. I, from Minnesota, and he, a Canadian, walked down a busy street in Tokyo as I listened and learned about the country of Ukraine, a place that was unfamiliar to me. I was profoundly moved by the story of HART and how they form local partnerships to help those most vulnerable and in conditions of severe poverty.
I said the name aloud to myself, “Humanitarian Aid Response Team,” and felt this was a charitable organization different from others I had known previously. It wasn’t just about sending money somewhere but acknowledging our shared humanity in order to make deeper connections.
The periodic letters and updates shared a glimpse of the daily life of my sponsor children and explained how HART brought direct care to my sponsor children and their families. The summer camp stories were particularly interesting and full of the fun kids can enjoy and share in a trusting, caring environment.
Now 18 years later, I have sponsored seven children and seen four graduate from the program. I pray daily for each one, especially during this senseless and terrible war. To receive a note from Dmytro, now 26 and serving his country as a soldier, is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.
He remembers a warm jacket and friendly letters shared. I remember a boy who enjoyed school, looked forward to learning about farm machinery and getting a job in that area, and always seemed to show care and kindness toward others.
Those precious connections of our humanity are real and we should never doubt the impact they can have on each of us nor their ability to sustain us.
My commitment to the child sponsorship program and the work of HART has become an important and meaningful part of my life. Thank you, HART!
Take Care! Warm Regards,