Natasha’s Story: I never knew my father. Before I was born, my parents divorced. I saw photos of him, but he never came around.
I was eight years old when my mom and I first received support from the Mercy Projects sponsorship program. My mom did not have a job, we were not Christians, my grandmother was sick and my grandfather addicted to alcohol.
I accepted Jesus as my savior in the MP Camp when I was 12. The counselors told me to pray that my mother would come to the Lord. I went home after camp and prayed for my mother every night. Several months later, the MP family coordinator invited us to her church. My mom usually refused, but this time she agreed, and she became Christian. I attended Sunday school and was happy. In high school, though I was a good student, I started hanging out with the wrong friends.
I stopped going to church and could not resist the temptations of my friends. Somehow, it seemed like my life turned into a nightmare with constant fighting and trouble. My paralyzed grandmother suffered three strokes and passed away. Grandfather drank and soon I was roaming around the city alone, drinking and trying to get rid of all the troubles in my life. I lived for the next party where I could forget about my problems. I was lonely.
Around 17 years old, the camp counselors reached out to me, inviting me back to the camp. Yana and Yulia, the camp directors, were true friends. They helped me feel God wash away the shame and sin in my life. Camps are important because the kids see bad things at home. They do not know what a “normal loving” family is. They do not know how to socialize and share their feelings.
I am a counselor in the camps now for many years. I married my husband Taras, and we now have a baby. I still want to serve these kids and through them, we get to reach their families with God’s love. I Iove this ministry.