My Trip to the U.S.A.


Yulia traveled to Indiana with Oksana Pankyeyeva in March 2017. They visited supporting churches and many Last Bell friends. We’re grateful to everyone who welcomed them!

by: Yulia Sagaidachna

In my childhood, I could only dream about a trip to the USA, and only when Americans visited our orphanage. When I grew up, I realized it would never be possible, since these trips are very expensive.

Now I’ve returned from the United States, but I still can’t believe I made the trip!

Yulia and Oksana sharing at Trinity Church in Broad Ripple, IN

At Trinity Church

Everything I saw impressed and amazed me. Many “first times” happened during these seven days. It was my first trip on a plane – one of my biggest fears. But I sincerely prayed and asked God to protect me and Oksana during our flights.

After a long flight, and a plane change, we finally arrived in Indianapolis. I was so happy to hug Ellen in her own country. And another surprise waited for me. I knew we would stay in Don Lawton’s home. But I never imagined his wife was Molly, who visited our orphanage many years ago during summer camp. I remember her vividly, because she always hugged me and told me she loved me. When I saw her, I was so happy and amazed. God did many miracles for me on that trip.

Yulia and Oksana sharing at The Russian-Speaking Church in Indianapolis

Don gave me a photograph of kids from our orphanage. I found myself among them. For two days I’ve been staring at that picture, looking for my friends and classmates. I began thinking… It was really harmful to some of those kids that they never encountered Last Bell. Many of them are in prison now, or have been in prison. A few girls became prostitutes*, and some guys are alcoholics.

On the contrary, kids who are Shelter program graduates are fine now. They have jobs and families.

Don and Yulia look for familiar faces in a photograph of Yulia’s classmates

I’m so happy and thankful that I’m one of those successful Shelter kids. I acquired a family when I was a grown-up orphan. Some of Last Bell’s leaders are my friends – they are like my sisters and aunts and uncles. In America when I saw Mary and Steve Millikan, who started Last Bell Ministries, I realized that they had become like my own grandmother and grandfather.

Thanks be to God, and I offer my gratitude to Last Bell for such an opportunity!

*Editor’s note: In this context “prostitute” can mean someone who is exploited by men who require sexual favors in return for food and shelter.

Yulia with Steve Boles, a friend of Last Bell

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