September 14, 2022 | View All Stories

Pregnant Teen Finds Help in Jesus’ Name in Ukraine

Lilya awoke beside Ivan, her new boyfriend. She needed to get back to her mother’s house, so she quietly dressed and left. Tired! She felt incredibly tired! This often happened during her monthly cycle and so did the cramping and spotting that started days later. When these symptoms eased, she became irritable. This made sense when she began to throw up days later. She was emotional because she was getting the flu. Even missing her period didn’t cause alarm; she had been under so much stress with being sick, and she cared for her mother, who was sick too. 

Orphans in Ukraine Grow Up In Challenging Circumstances

Years before, because of Lilya’s mother’s recurring illnesses and immoral lifestyle, she took Lilya and her two older sisters to a government-run orphanage. Different groups often came to the orphanage during the day to bring treats or do crafts, but when a man named Alex came, the entire atmosphere of the place changed. He brought peace, laughter, and hope. It even seemed like the cement-colored room broke out in bright colors. 

Alex is the director of ANM’s ministry partner in Ukraine, which ministers to children of all ages. He begins loving them in the orphanages and telling them about Jesus. During the summer months, he runs a camp where many come to have fun and learn more about this amazing person named Jesus. For those who age out of the orphanage at 16 and need a home, he provides transition homes where young adults learn life skills and get an education. Jesus is the focus of everything Alex does, and those who have put themselves under his leadership have become strong Christians, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and worship leaders. 

Alex paid special attention to Lilya and her sisters and even invited them to his home during holidays. The girls experienced how a real Christian family operated, played with Alex’s four children, and felt included. Summers at Alex’s Open Doors Camp brought them in contact with believers their own age and they lived true Christianity every day.

Children age out of the government-run Ukrainian orphanages (called “boarding schools” for older children) at age 16. Orphanage children are taught no life skills – not cooking, not cleaning, not even how to make a bed. If they have no one to take them in, they end up on the streets. Many fall into sex trafficking or drugs, and many commit suicide. Lilya’s sisters, longing for freedom from rules and studies, eagerly awaited the time when they could leave. Once released, they played, partied, and got pregnant, which paralysed any plans for success that they might have had.

When Lilya’s mother became bedridden, Lilya, then age 15, chose to leave the orphanage a year early to care for her. But she, too, chose to seek love from the world instead of Jesus. She soon found herself pregnant and needed help. 

Lilya Finds Help in a Ukrainian Christian Ministry

Was there anything or anyone she could rely on? Who in her life had been sincere and honest? She remembered Alex’s actions and his character. He always showed compassion and never broke a promise. He had warned her of what most likely would happen if she wasn’t careful and didn’t find her strength in Jesus, so how could she tell him her situation and expect assistance? As the life within her continued to grow, she wrestled with all these questions and a myriad of others. Finally, though, she didn’t know what else to do. 

Alex embraced her with genuine love. He listened and then extended a helping hand through food, clothes, and financial support. Lilya discovered that Alex and his Jesus would always be there for her during difficult times. 

Lilya gave birth to little Timor more than two years ago. Lilya and Timor and Ivan lived with Lilya’s mother in her dilapidated house. Together they tended to Lilya’s mother, but in December 2021, Lilya’s mother died. Being deeply and emotionally attached to her mom, Lilya’s life crashed. Ivan did everything he knew to cheer her up. When the pregnancy symptoms came a second time, she knew she had to snap out of her doldrums, and they moved in with Ivan’s mother and another family. 

Then came the Russian invasion in February 2022, and Ivan was drafted into the Territorial Defense Force, a volunteer force used only in emergency crisis situations. As such, they serve without pay. So Lilya now found herself expecting another child in even worse straits. However, this time, besides reinforcement from Alex and his ministry, Lilya is also trusting in her heavenly Father. She has seen Him provide for her needs, and she has faith that her dreams of providing for her loved ones will one day be fulfilled. Despite the stress, she has found a new and better way to survive. 

Just In: A Personal Note from Alex

Thank you for the prayers for the orphan Lilya! Praise God she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

The Lord provided for the hospital and the doctors.

We continue to pray for Lilya’s family, for wisdom and strength in raising two children, and for the opportunity to find a job. 

Most importantly, pray they experience a personal meeting with God in this difficult time of war!

Serving Him together,

Alex

Care for Families in Ukraine During this Crisis: Feed a Family for $40

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Dee writes for ANM's Marketing team.

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