Ukraine gained independence from the former Soviet Union almost 25 years ago. Despite some growth, the country has been facing severe unemployment and economic strain. It's estimated that Ukraine has more than 100,000 orphans. But not all of them are true orphans - many have been abandoned by parents struggling with poverty or substance addiction.
Mykoli Kylychenko was one of the abandoned children. He was born without a hand and a leg. His mother wrote a letter and left him at the hospital.
Growing up, Mykoli began to think that his life was meaningless. His living conditions were very poor. All he wanted was to feel what it was like to be loved.
One day, a group of seminary students (who are partners with Crossroads Relief and Development) showed up at the orphanage and cleaned the filth from the walls. They played games, performed plays and served the children. When asked why they are doing this, they said, "It's because we love you."
That was the first time someone had said that to these children.
As these students came back week after week, Mykoli started feeling that he was born with a purpose, what he was no accident. And he found that purpose in Christ.
Mykoli went on to seminary school himeself and came back to the orhanage to serve the children there. He wanted to give back and share the lvoe that he had received from Jesus. He is so thankful that God gave him such a great opportunity to serve the children just like how the seminary students served him years ago.
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