Goodbye Peter

Posted Jul 03, 2014 by 2 Comments

It was the most I’ve ever wept after writing something.

It was June of 2010. Little Peter, an orphan with muscular dystrophy at Romaniv Orphanage, had officially been adopted in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. I met Peter on my very first World Next Door trip and got to witness his life being transformed by a godly family, the dedicated staff of Mission to Ukraine, and the power of the kingdom of God.

Peter with his sister in 2010

Peter with his sister in 2010

Overwhelmed with joy at the news of his adoption, I ended a blog post with these words:

Peter is home now. Though his body is weak and he may not have much longer to live, he will spend the rest of his days wrapped in the arms of a loving family. And when he does some day leave this broken world, he will be well used to the phrase he hears soon after. “My beloved son… Welcome home.”

The story was so beautiful and the hope so real, I had no choice but to cry tears of joy.

Two days ago I was once more overwhelmed with emotion as I learned that these words had finally come true. Peter had passed away. After four beautiful years being taught and fed and played with and washed and cared for and loved, Peter went to be with Jesus.

My heart goes out to Peter’s adoptive family, especially his parents Yuri and Ira, who have sacrificed so much to love their son so well. I grieve alongside the staff and volunteers of Mission to Ukraine, who have said goodbye to this wonderful young man.

But as much as my heart breaks, I also find myself rejoicing. Peter’s broken body is now made whole. He is in the arms of his heavenly father. And some day, when I too pass away, I will be reunited with my dear friend, Peter, whose joy and humor and life is an inspiration to everyone who met him.

Goodbye, Peter! You will be dearly missed.


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Next Steps
    • To read the whole story of Peter's adoption, the orphanage he once lived in, and the bravery of his father, click here. Start at the bottom of the page and work your way up.
    • To make a financial contribution to Mission to Ukraine in memory of Peter, visit the MTU website and mark your donation "Little Peter."
    • Pray for Peter's family in this season of grief. Pray that they will be comforted and surrounded by a loving community throughout this difficult time.
    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. Jim M. said... 


    July 9th, 2014 at 10:46 pm  

    Thank you WND for introducing us to Peter several years ago. He touched all of us who knew him through the story on this site.

    A beautiful family story of bravery, and courage, interwoven with grace and love.

    A story of Peace in the midst of turmoil, Light in the midst of darkness, and God’s Love and Mercy seen in the eyes of Jesus looking back at us on Peter’s face.

    We all share in your sadness and your Hope and Trust in Gods promise. Thanks again.

  2. Jo said... 


    July 11th, 2014 at 4:23 pm  

    I was shocked, then so sad, then so relieved and joyful when I got the email from MTU. Peter was also my first real introduction to MTU and Romaniv. I fell in love – with all three. Thank you, Barry and WND for sharing life abroad, injustice abroad, love abroad…God’s Kingdom from every angle.

    Peter will be missed most definitely. I’ve cried many tears of many emotions for Peter and his families. I’m so so glad he can dance with Jesus now and fully be who he was created to be in the first place.

    Welcome home, buddy.

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