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Who grieves with orphaned youth?

In Ukraine, funerals for young soldiers have become commonplace—each one for someone’s beloved child, brother, dad, cousin, or friend. During one recent service, our Olya buried her brother. 

Olya is an orphan and single mom who previously lived at the Shelter. This fall, we had the joy of witnessing her marriage to a young man from our Restoration Project crew.   

Olya’s brother Zhenya, a military veteran, began serving again when Russia invaded. In December, our Prayer Circle received news that Zhenya’s unit was in a terrible fire. All the bodies were badly burned, and Zhenya’s death was almost certain. But his family sent away for DNA confirmation. “We weep with her in these terrible days,” wrote staff member Oksana.

Three months later, the results came back. “This day was very hard,” Olya wrote, “like receiving a sentence, because you no longer hope, you know he’s gone. His life ended at the age of 22.”

Zhenya’s funeral in late March
Grandmothers from the villages always come out to honor fallen soldiers

“It is difficult, but the Lord is with me,” Olya wrote. “I have received incredible support from my church family.”

So many orphaned youth carry their joys and heavy griefs alone. But Last Bell walks alongside our youth in old hurts and new ones. Thank you for supporting our staff as they “mourn with those who mourn.”