Love Heals: Our 2018 Story

December 2018

Dear friends,

At Last Bell, we believe love heals. Our youth experience this gift of healing through the love of a community of Christians that reaches across the globe: our staff, volunteers, church partners, and YOU: our donors and prayer partners.

This community welcomes the 150 new orphanage graduates who arrive in our city every year. We introduce Last Bell through life skills classes, invite students to welcoming events, and befriend them with curiosity and care. This year, we expanded our reach to all 12 trade schools in Zhytomyr.

And this holistic model is working. I see orphan-led families breaking the orphanage cycle. I see former orphans on our staff and volunteering. I see Zhytomyr transformed, as officials listen to the voices of orphanage graduates.

This season, we’re revisiting the “Last Bell basics”: our three main programs that meet fundamental needs, with a foundation of mentorship and basic help. Building on these, we’re creating new ways to bring healing and hope to orphanage graduates.

Will you make a year-end gift to help us transform these precious lives in 2019 – and beyond?

Megan Hershey

See stories from 2018 below!

Where we work:
Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Capital of Zhytomyr Region
Population: 267,000
Orphanage graduates: 3,000

Love heals through
Educational Outreach

Program Basics: We meet orphanage graduates at our city’s trade schools and social dorms. These youth are new to the city and independent life. We bring life skills classes to their schools, invite them to youth meetings, and develop trust relationships.

Vlad was in state care from infancy, and landed in the same prison where he’d been born. In 2017, he was released, alone and covered in prison tattoos. We met him during life skills lessons. At Last Bell, he connected with people easily. When his criminal “friends” came calling, Vlad chose his new life instead. This year, we helped Vlad acquire housing and a good job. He’s not afraid of his past, and has hope for the future!

• Over 1400 meals served
• In 2018, 27 orphans graduated from college or university

$20 = new underwear & socks for 10 guys

Love heals through
Stop the Cycle

Program Basics: Services for orphan-led families. We advocate for orphan parents and offer parenting classes, groceries and supplies, crisis housing, and secondhand clothing.

In 2018, we sponsored a full year of the first MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group in our city.

When Natasha became pregnant as a teenager, her trade school kicked her out. When we met her, she was in a dilapidated, unsafe home she couldn’t afford to heat, about to lose custody of her baby. We welcomed her to our crisis housing facility and offered practical help. Natasha finished high school, and she’s studying to be a hairdresser. She became a Christian and volunteers at church. Enveloped in our loving community, Natasha is a happy mom who doesn’t consider herself an orphan anymore!

• In 2018, 40 families received help through STC
• 7 participants were baptized and became church members

$86 = monthly grocery bag to one family for a year

Love heals through
The Restoration Project

Program Basics: Meets two needs: housing and job skills. A crew of orphanage graduates apprentices with our staff, learning the home renovation trade while restoring the homes of fellow orphans.

In 2018, the RP crew learned how to build a house from the ground up.

We met Sasha at a social dorm. After school, Sasha tried several jobs without success. He’s now achieved two years working on the Restoration Project crew! Every day after work, Sasha rushes to the Day Center to spend time with staff and friends. Sasha volunteers by making free repairs, changing diapers for Stop the Cycle families, and helping with his sister’s child. Soon Sasha will be able to
get a job on the open market.

$150 = one month of fuel for transportation to Restoration Project sites

$55 = one day of construction materials for restoring orphans’ homes

Love heals through
meeting basic needs

• Mentorship
• Housing advocacy
• Emergency shelter and basic needs aid
• Educational planning and tutoring
• Life skills training and family support
• Vocational training opportunities
• Help with job search and work expectations
• Community and church connections
• Biblical marriage and trauma counseling
• Legal assistance and medical advocacy

Each orphanage graduate comes to us with unspoken problems, fears, and dreams. We “do life together,” advocating and helping with practical needs, whether a medical situation, legal trouble, or difficulty studying.

As former orphans mature and become more independent, we continue to be their support system – celebrating their successes, mourning with them in times of sadness and grief, checking in regularly, and acting as extended family.

$200 = 15 pairs of glasses for orphans with poor eyesight

Love heals…

…and brings “hope and a future.” This year, our staff reimagined the lyrics of a popular song. At youth meetings, you can hear many orphanage graduates singing, “You have a future!” Watch for a special recording at Christmas.

After generations of trauma, God is bringing healing and hope to orphanage graduates and their families in Zhytomyr. Will you help us express God’s love to orphans through a financial gift?

Donate online by clicking here, or make your check to:

Last Bell Ministries
PO Box 30671
Indianapolis, IN 46230

Many thanks from all of us at Last Bell!

PS – Your gift is important! Individuals provide 85% of our income.