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A safe harbor for Yana after many disappointments

Yana and her children at the Shelter this Christmas.

Even as we watch the Russian border, our staff continue to invest in the lives of orphaned youth – who continue doing the hard work of learning and healing. 

Shelter resident Yana M. lived in three abusive and neglectful homes before she found our ministry.

Yana was born in the far southwest of Ukraine; later her family moved to a village outside of Zhytomyr. After her brother was born, her parents began drinking heavily and fighting. 

Yana desperately wanted to leave home, where she didn’t feel supported or loved. She dreamed of having a happy family. At age fifteen, she married a man eleven years older. After she became pregnant, her husband began drinking, neglecting his family and home. Even after their second child was born, he didn’t look for a job, living on the money they received for their children. Yana endured for three years, but finally filed for divorce.

Soon she tried again with someone new. For the first two years, she and her children were treated well. She had another baby. Then the pattern repeated. For a time she endured the drinking, humiliation, and physical abuse. But her abusive partner was reported to social services, so she was at risk of losing her children. 

After a brief stay at a center for moms in Zhytomyr, she had nowhere to go. So the center’s director contacted our Oksana Pankyeyeva. In June of last year, Yana moved into the Shelter.

Yana and her son on his birthday at the Shelter.

“I am infinitely grateful to God and the people who have completely changed our lives – leaders and sponsors from America,” Yana said. “Thanks for this opportunity for the children to be with me. That is the most important thing. We live in a house with all the amenities. The children and I have never experienced this…. It’s just incredible. During this period of residence, I can save money for the future and plan a future for myself and my children. Thanks again to Last Bell for everything you do for us.”

Yana’s kids have been through a lot. But thanks to your support, N. (11), A. (10), and Z. (6) will have the safe home they need. Yana is breaking her family’s cycle in our loving community. We appreciate your prayers as they all learn how to be a healthy family!

A sweet smile from Yana’s oldest, N., who is old enough to remember those many difficult years.