Sasha: Called to Serve Orphans Since 2007
by Emily Millikan
Alexander Terehov, who goes by Sasha, is our newest staff member. In 2018 Sasha began working in our Educational Outreach program, which serves teenage orphanage graduates in trade schools and social dorms. Yulia Nesterenko translated our interview, and shared a few nice things about Sasha along the way.
Heavily edited for brevity and clarity.
LB: How did you learn about Last Bell? Were you involved in orphan care before? What’s your role on staff?
Sasha: I went with some guys from my church to Orphanage #4 in 2007 and 2008. I prayed to find an organization that helped orphans after graduation. In 2008 some guys from the orphanage invited me to Haven [a former Last Bell program]. For the next ten years, our church held camps for orphans and troubled teens, and I was a leader. Then, last fall, I became a real volunteer at the Day Center, visiting sometimes every day.
My main role [on staff] is to build relationships, in spirit and soul and body. Sometimes I take teens to the doctor, or just talk.
Sasha at a Last Bell event with one of our youth
LB: Tell me a little about your personal life.
Sasha: I studied at the Kyiv Military High School, then at Kharkiv National University Internal Affairs. Then I worked as a police officer for four years. After that, I worked as an office manager and electrician. I go to the Covenant of Jesus Christ Church, and serve on the worship team, playing the guitar, and on the prophetic team. I also sing. Worship is my passion.
Sasha on an outing with Educational Outreach
LB: What special skills or abilities do you bring to Last Bell? What would other staff members say?
Sasha: I’m a good ping-pong player. I can play all day and night! And I teach guitar, which the kids love.
Yulia: He’s very good at card and board games. He’s a good electrician and helps with the wiring at the Day Center. He’s good at building relationships, because he has a very open personality and spends lots of time even with the difficult kids.
LB: What does a day at Last Bell look like for you?
Sasha: I accompany kids to the dentist in the morning, almost every day. Then I spend 1+1 time with a teen, then sometimes a second teen. I ask about their needs, and maybe help fulfill them with food or clothes. I know the needs of “my” kids from “my” trade school.* Almost every day I call to see how they’re doing. One day a week I’m in charge at the Day Center. We play games, and I help youth with needs and questions.
*Editor’s note: Sasha helps teach life skills lessons at the same trade school each week.
Sasha finds ways to connect with young men who need mentorship
LB: Do you feel a call from God to work with orphans? How is orphan care a part of seeking God’s kingdom and His purposes?
Sasha: Yes. I’ve felt it since 2007. God says in His word that we have to look after orphans. It’s His commandment. At my church we try to help orphans all the time, with Grace Camp, food and clothes, and different families where kids can go. I grew up in a family that struggled financially, and I received food from this ministry [at my church]. Now I can help others through the same ministry.
Sasha invests deeply in our youth
LB: What would happen if Last Bell offered only programs and services, but not relationships?
Sasha: We would not be able to have a huge influence on the teens. Not an inner influence. We have people like that who used to come to the orphanage. They just came for New Year’s or Christmas, gave out presents, and that was it. Kids don’t remember presents. Food gets eaten, clothes wear out. They remember attention, atmosphere, attitude, things that raise their self-esteem, that can help them understand they’re precious.
A “Sasha Extra”
I asked Sasha to tell me about a time when having a relationship made it possible to serve a teen in some practical way.
One guy, he told me, had been in prison for seven years before he returned to Zhytomyr to study. Our staff met him during our life skills lessons at his trade school, and Sasha brought him to church. He shared with Sasha about the hard times he had experienced at the orphanage and in jail, where he was often abused and beat up. Sasha was the only person he could talk to about his fears, problems, and needs.
He began to have issues with his teeth and needed oral surgery. Sasha knew he was afraid of doctors and wouldn’t be able to go alone, and accompanied him to the surgery. “So for him,” said Sasha, “the most important thing was to have a person with whom he could share all his needs and thoughts.” The love of our staff brings healing to youth in every part of their lives!