My name is Victoria. I am currently serving in Kenya, city of Kisumu, where I believe the Lord has me at this period of time. I am one of the missionaries from the Transforming Africa team, specifically working in the children's ministry department.
I was born in Ukraine, in Poltava, in a non-Christian home. When I was five years old, my father became a Christian and began taking me to church. I grew up attending Sunday school, where I first heard of God and Jesus Christ.
As long as I can remember, I've always wanted to serve. At 17 years old, I finally made the decision to serve the Lord for the rest of my life. That same year, I was baptized. I began to pray for a clear calling from God, and continued to serve adolescents in children's clubs, Sunday school, and children's camps.
The Lord led me then to minister to orphans in my city. God has given me a special love for these children. I saw how God is directing me in everything and thought to myself, "this is my calling," though I never considered missionary work, especially in Kenya. My plans were not God's plans however.
Four years ago, I read an article about the complex lives of the children of Africa. I believe that in that very moment, God touched my heart. I began to pray for the children and looked for opportunities to help them.
During that time, I began to consider actually going out to serve the children. I pushed away the thought however because I was studying, working, and doing ministry with orphans in my city. Upon finishing school, I prayed and asked God about my future. It seemed to me that God was not listening in my prayer felt unanswered. But Lord had already informed me earlier, I simply was not allowing myself to hear it. I realized that the desire to serve in Africa was given me by God. I began to pray more about ministering in Africa. Desire was growing in my heart. The struggle in my mind did not end though. "How can I leave everything and go to Africa?" Seems unrealistic! I was reminded of a prayer I prayed before, promising God I would go wherever he would feed me. Now either I would follow or walk away.
I filled out papers to attend a missionary Institute, and was accepted. I had great joy, and received my first confirmation that I was on the right track. When I came to the Institute, I had confidence that I was in the place where God wanted me to be. The training we received at the Institute was a great blessing to me. God used the teachers, mentors, and other students to encourage my desire even more. After graduating, I served in Rwanda for 13 months. Those were the most extraordinary 13 months of my life. I learned so much and God was changing my heart.
While in Rwanda, I understood that this is only the beginning of the path God had in store for me. Within 4 months after my return home from Rwanda, my pastor and church blessed me in my decision to go to Kenya.
Now here I am. It's my 5th month in Kenya. Our ministry, Transforming Africa, opened our first orphanage where I have been given the role of coordinator. It's been a new experience for me who had its fears and doubts, but the Lord is faithful. So many incidents have reminded me that this is his work and I need to trust him!
The first few months before opening the orphanage were not easy.
A new country, new law, Kenyan punctuality (you can wait for hours to be helped) are very different from my country.
Also, with starting up a new ministry, constantly we raise up questions about financing the orphanage. The beginning was especially difficult as we were in need of beds, mattresses, utensils and all the necessities for the children. But I thank God for his provision in that time. We purchased all the needed items for the home as well as renovated the house. God took care of everything! He touched people’s hearts, and we received the needed financial support on time. Each experience was miraculous.
Being on the mission field is much like a school to me - a school that builds my trust, and God, in the moments I cannot see open doors. The moments we lack finances, resources, and open opportunity and necessary skills, God shows me that he is in charge of opening those closed doors, provider of our finances, resources, and capabilities. He gives me the skills I need in areas such as electricity, repair, home design, legal and banking issues. At the school, I am constantly learning to understand people and children in order to build relationships because their culture, mentality, and values of life are so different from the ones I grew up in.
Children have the most evident joy!
Despite their experiences, they are full of joy and are easily amazed with everything they see. When communicating with them and hearing their stories, I understand more than ever that I am responsible in helping with their mental and spiritual formation. When they come to me with their problems or get sick, I cannot be passive. These children are no longer strangers, they are mine!
Of course, I do not have my own children, so I lack extensive experience in the upbringing of the children. Once again, I am and a school of learning. My goal is to allow these children to recognize unconditional love of God and to help them to carry it out to others. I desire to see them grow up with independent personalities. I pray they are bitter past may not leave an imprint in their lives, that they may be completely healed spiritually and emotionally. I hope for them to grow into great leaders, ministers, teachers, parents, and friends. Because only through this will we see Kenya be transformed.