Very soon I will be packing my bags to spend a week at the Romaniv Disabled Boys Orphanage.  I’ve written about it several times before, but this will be by far the most immersive experience I’ve ever had there.

If you haven’t seen my older articles and photo galleries about Romaniv, I’d encourage you to check them out here (the story of my very first visit is at the bottom of the page).

It’s going to be an awesome experience, and I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn.

Little Vladik today. His life would have been vastly different without MTU.

But before I head off, I want to share with you a touching little story about a woman who chose not to send her special needs child to Romaniv… All because of Mission to Ukraine.

Meet Galena

Galena (or “Galya” as she is often called), is hearing impaired.  When she gave birth to her son Vladik, she was devastated to learn that he had Down Syndrome.  How could a single, deaf woman raise a special needs child alone in Zhytomyr?

Everyone around her said that she needed to take Vladik to an orphanage.  They told her it would be the best for him (If she had gone this route, Vladik would have been raised in a local orphanage and then taken to Romaniv when he was five).

Thankfully, in the nick of time Galena visited Mission to Ukraine. There she realized that an orphanage wasn’t the only option for her son.  MTU provided Vladik with food, medical care and, most importantly, an education.

Today, Vladik is healthy, happy and strong.  But wait… Why am I telling you this?  Why not let Galena tell you herself?

Take a look at the Next Steps below to see how you can be involved with the ministry that gave Galena the hope she needed to continue raising her son!

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Next Steps
    • If you haven’t already, head over to WND’s partner page for Mission to Ukraine. There you can find updated information about the ministry, a link to their website, and all of the articles we’ve written about them in the past.
    • Want to get a steady stream of stories like Galena’s? Sign up for MTU’s newsletter. It’s great!
    • Not all special needs children here were blessed to have a mother like Galena. Consider sponsoring a boy at Romaniv Orphanage through Hands of Hope. It doesn’t get much more practical than that.
    • Finally, commit to pray for Galena, Vladik, and the thousands of others in their situation. Pray for the children (like those at many orphanages around the country), who are still suffering alone. Pray that God would continue his powerful work here in Ukraine!
    Next Steps

About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

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  1. Ken Ney said... 


    November 2nd, 2012 at 5:04 am  

    Great video Barry. What a great way to start my day. The words from a song that has a line in it that says..”He brings Hope for the Hopeless” keep coming to mind. Choked me up big time!

  2. molly Lawton said... 


    November 2nd, 2012 at 5:55 am  

    Great story Barry. Can’t wait to hear of your time at Romaniv. God’s blessings on you, brother.

  3. Curtis Honeycutt said... 


    November 2nd, 2012 at 8:58 am  

    This is precious. So much hope in Ukraine!

  4. Erika said... 


    November 2nd, 2012 at 10:24 am  


  5. Jeff Unruh said... 


    November 2nd, 2012 at 12:10 pm  

    Thanks for being a channel through which God keeps our hearts soft and in tune with His!

  6. Amy Sorrells said... 


    November 2nd, 2012 at 9:15 pm  

    The smiles of hope. Of value. Of purpose. Of life. Of hearts who now taste a future and a hope. Thank you for this beautiful video. Thank you, Jesus, for Galya and Vladik!!!

  7. Tasha Simons said... 


    November 3rd, 2012 at 9:47 am  

    I can see Galena’s love for her son in this video. Her heart is so soft and tender toward him. Beautiful!

  8. JimM said... 


    November 3rd, 2012 at 11:50 pm  

    Imagine this world without the imagery seen at 1:13 in the video. Those few milliseconds capture the joy of loving and being loved. The beauty of being held by a loving parent.

    Barry it is easy to see why MTU has left it’s mark on you. as I look at this short video and think about your message a few weeks ago I am reminded of how systems of injustice are worn down by the persistent loving presence of Gods people. Wow!!

  9. Brenda said... 


    November 8th, 2012 at 2:46 am  

    Precious! Especially touching to me because I have 2 Deaf children,

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