A safe home at the end of a difficult path


This story is part of our 10th Anniversary series. Lena began participating in Stop the Cycle in 2013.

In March, we wrote about one of our young moms, Lena Lavrinyuk, whose home was recently restored through Last Bell’s Restoration Project. Lena and her little girl were living in a run-down village home, and our RP team (comprised of our orphan guys) spent several weeks making it safe and livable for Lena’s small family.

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Lena has walked a long road to this place, where she finally has a caring community around her and the love of Jesus to strengthen her.

Like many orphan moms, Lena became pregnant when she was very young, just before her graduation from Berdichiv Orphanage. Lena’s boyfriend, also an orphan, walked away from her and the baby. She was deeply hurt and had no idea what to do next.

When baby Sophia was born, Lena stayed in a government institution. But after a few months she went back to her village, where someone gave her an old house to live in. Soon Lena began dating a new guy, and after he finished trade school, he came to live in her home.

For two years, as staff member Luba Yaroshuk writes, the couple “shared the sorrows of their orphans’ life.” They attended a Last Bell day program, went on picnics and celebrated holidays with us, and attended church. But the couple had many conflicts that were hurtful and disappointing for Lena.

Then everything changed. The couple had a mutual friend, an orphan with an abusive boyfriend. Her little boy was having health problems, and living with his dad was no longer safe. So Lena offered her friend a place to stay: a room in her home, a bed, and freedom from her abusive boyfriend. Lena had compassion on her friend and wanted to help her.

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Lena’s home in the village

This friend accepted Lena’s help and moved in. Soon after, she rented a house in a village nearby for herself and her son. Sadly, Lena’s boyfriend also left and moved in with Lena’s friend.

Lena’s heart was broken. She was so devastated that she couldn’t see how to move on with her life. But time passed. She began traveling to Zhytomyr and spending more time with Last Bell staff, even attending church. Eventually, she forgave her friend and ex-boyfriend.

Not long ago, our dear Lena became a Christian, and was baptized!

So a new chapter has begun for her. At the end of all these challenges, Last Bell’s Restoration Project team renovated Lena’s village home. Now Lena and Sophia have a safe place to live and a strong community around them. Lena is part of our Stop the Cycle program, so she has support raising her daughter – groceries and clothing, but more importantly, mentorship and training about how to be a mom. Lena’s church also helps her.

A year ago, through a Ukrainian TV program, Lena and her sister Vita, a young lady Last Bell also works with, were able to locate their mother and sisters. They still keep in touch with an older sister. Lena recently began spending time with Sophia’s dad again; please pray she’ll have wisdom and a healthy relationship with him.

After our Restoration Project team finished Lena’s house, they began work on the Shelter building, which will soon be available for other Stop the Cycle moms in need of crisis housing. We’re excited to see many young families like Lena’s in safe housing and equipped to thrive because of our Last Bell programs working together!

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Finished ceiling, light fixture, window, and walls in Lena’s home

Lena’s story shared by Luba Yaroshuk

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Last Bell Ministries

Loving and restoring orphanage graduates toward life and community.

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