Ivan* was abandoned by his mother when he was 9 months old. She was an immigrant in Turkey, trying to shape her own destiny. She was heavy laden and so she sent her son to his grandma who was already taking care of Ivan’s older brother. Ivan didn’t see his mum for 12 years and didn’t remember her much. She would send money to her mother to help raise the kids, she would call once a year, but that was all.
One day Ivan and his friends were caught by the authorities for rowdy behaviour. All the other boys were from the regular families and they decided to blame Ivan for their rowdiness. He was sent to the orphanage for three months. At that time, the One Hope mentoring project was launched. The leaders of the project quickly chose Dmytro* to be a mentor for Ivan, as they shared the same interests.
Dmytro was a young man in his early twenties, who had been dreaming of making a difference in someone’s life. At first it was not clear for him how he could help Ivan, but he began with baby steps – he kept asking the boy simple questions about his day and ideas. It took them about one year to build a relationship based on trust and true friendship. Ivan enjoyed Dmytro’s visits. He said about Dmytro: “He helped me a lot. He would help me find jobs and clothes. He took me to places. I made my very first trip abroad with Dmytro. We had lots of fun together.”
Thanks to the support of his mentor, Ivan decided to get in touch with his mother. Dmytro helped him build conversations with her, wrote questions on a piece of paper and encouraged him a lot. Also, Dmytro suggested that Ivan to go to a Christian camp that he really liked. Ivan returned to that camp several years in a row. Soon, Ivan began attending church with his mentor and, at the age of 15, he decided to get baptised.
Today, Ivan is a committed Christian, leading the youth in his church. Calm, mature, always ready to help and a responsible young man, no one could ever tell what he has been through. His mum is planning to visit him this summer. They are keeping in touch on a daily basis via messenger. Ivan is still friends with Dmytro, and now also with his wife.
Mentoring changed Ivan’s life completely. One Hope is an amazing project, bringing hope to many lives. Please pray that the program would continue to impact more and more children in Ukraine.