MOPS: Orphan Moms and the Church (Part I)

Our Stop the Cycle program is like boot camp for orphan parents: intense training about how to raise children, starting with the basics. But young parents need more than just information. They need a community to love and support them, too!

Last Bell’s staff provides part of this community. But we long to see our young families develop friendships with the mature Christians in our city.

This fall, after two years of planning and even some training in Germany, Last Bell introduced the first MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group in Ukraine to help our orphanage graduates integrate into society. MOPS is an international organization that helps moms connect with each other at hosting churches.

Getting ready to welcome moms to our first MOPS meeting

Our MOPS group meets at Central Baptist Church. This is a good opportunity to help Christians at CBC meet and befriend orphanage graduates, plus the moms of children at risk of becoming orphans. Alongside our staff, the MOPS leadership team includes volunteers from Word of Love church as well as five of our orphanage graduates, mature young women who’ve become volunteers.

Four of the leaders, L-R: staff member Lena, orphanage graduates Yulia, Masha, and Oksana (Yulia is also a staff member)

Our unique MOPS group meets every other week. Of the 20+ who come, some are orphans and friends of orphans; and some are CBC church members. Some of the orphan moms have graduated from Last Bell’s intense parenting classes, and some younger moms are still in them. What a gift to see this diversity in God’s Kingdom: rooted Christian moms talking about motherhood together with moms who have no family support.

In a year, we hope to see Central Baptist running the MOPS group independently; then we’ll initiate a new MOPS group in a different church. We want to see the whole Christian community in Zhytomyr embracing orphans and their families! This kind of community love and care can bring healing to families that have been broken for generations.

Volunteer and orphanage graduate Masha is ready to offer hospitality

Watch for Part II to learn about the MOPS model and how it’s already changing the hearts of our moms!