I always enjoy spending time with Andrey because he is thoughtfully passionate about helping at-risk kids. His wife was a sponsored child in the Mercy Projects program. She grew up attending our camps, was saved, and married Andrey. Today they are missionaries reaching others for Christ.
As we drove towards the ministry site, Andrey explained, “I work in the Chernobyl region because nobody likes to go there. Life is depressing, there are no jobs and lots of people are alcoholics. I mentor the kids at the Snowdrop Shelter, but I also go to families. That’s why we are going to visit Marina. She has five kids and her husband left them several years ago.”
We arrived at the house and the older son proudly showed Andrey the work he was doing in the barn. Natalia, the former director of the Snowdrop Shelter, works with Andrey now and lives nearby. She is a widow and understands what it means to raise kids alone in a small village.
Marina thanked us for everything being done to help her. We saw the chicken coop, the barn, and a small water heater in the kitchen. A wood burning stove keeps one room warm in winter. She looked at me, Natalia, and then at Andrey. She wiped her eyes and simply said, “Your help means a lot.”
We walked outside and Andrey shared, “I have known Marina and her kids about five years. Some of them were in the orphanage. Her husband left her, he was an alcoholic, and so was she. Life was terrible for the kids. But a miracle happened and she turned away from alcohol. God is changing her life slowly each day. In my mind, if kids have a safe place to stay at home with their mom, then that is the first step. The next step is to mentor them and show Christ’s love.”