Love Heals the Whole Person: Vika Strohan
We first met Vika in 2015 when she began attending English lessons at our old office. While Vika lives with her grandmother, she is a true orphan – both her parents are deceased. Her mother died of complications from alcoholism. She was shy and quiet, and didn’t talk much when we first befriended her, but she did begin attending Educational Outreach events, including life skills classes, then showed up regularly at our Day Center after it opened.
This summer, Vika camped in the Carpathian Mountains with us. In that beautiful, intimate setting, our staff developed a closer relationship with her.
One evening, our staff lead a discussion of the topic “Fears.” Each person in the circle shared about the fears he or she experienced. Vika said she was afraid of speaking in social gatherings or anywhere in public. Basically, she was afraid of meeting and talking to other people!
Summer camp in the beautiful Carpathian Mountains
At the end of the lesson, our staff read aloud some passages from the Bible, and shared that with God’s help, our fears can be overcome. This was a real challenge for many of our young people, but Vika accepted it as the truth.
Our enthusiastic camp group
From that day, we saw a big change in Vika. At camp, she began talking to people she barely knew. In the girls’ camp bedroom, she spoke up with opinions and shared jokes. She has a good sense of humor! We prayed with her for God to help her overcome her fear, to become braver and more communicative.
Back to daily life in Zhytomyr
After three years of knowing Vika, our investment in a relationship with her paid off in a practical way. When we returned home from summer camp, Vika shared with us that she had some dental problems. In fact, one of her front teeth was broken, which had really been contributing to her negative self-image. We helped her make a dentist appointment, and a staff member accompanied her so she would feel more comfortable. She was finally able to get her teeth fixed.
A real smile!
Vika needed holistic care: a close relationship first, followed by practical help. With her newfound confidence, Vika landed a job as a waitress. Now she talks to new people every day, continuing to win the battle with her fears.
Vika knows that staff members Yulia (left) and Lena (right) care about her
We’re so glad to see Vika’s smile restored. Her life is just getting started, and with God’s help she will keep overcoming her fears and be successful!