Hello. My name is Alena and I’m an artist. I was born in Kiev to a typical Ukrainian family. In my childhood, there was period when I had to take care of my brother and grandma, and when we didn’t have so much food. But we weren’t poor. My favorite time, and a painful time, was when I came to God. I lost a lot of friends, but I had an understanding that God wanted to teach me that in His presence I would never be lonely.
When I was in University I started to serve. I prayed about ministry a lot. I felt Gods calling and was a little terrified. It was a good design, one year just praying and researching. My calling was ministry in orphanages. I was trying to find orphanages in poor villages and contacted some good organizations. Actually, God made all the meetings and gave the ideas and other resources. After a year of prayer, I found one village 120 km from Kiev. My church had a conservative attitude about woman in charge, it was not such a good idea to lead ministry or mission trips. But I like that example when God used a donkey to speak to a strong, Godly man. Maybe this story was also about me, because I spoke in church not so much, but felt the church should know about kids who don’t have enough food or clothes.
After one year people in the church started to trust and support me. A few times I brought a big team on mission trips, mostly with men. It was my dream have guys on my team, and for kids it is so important. The team consisted of three people with faithful hearts and a calling from God. In that time, 2010, I collaborated with Association Emmanuel. It’s a wonderful organization with an “Adaptation Gift” department. With them I visited the eastern part of Ukraine, the Kherson region, and villages without roads. It’s very special place for me. Maybe I like such places because in the darkness God’s power is very bright. I have a lot of funny stories with the kids there. We also cooperated with Mission Agape and Orphan’s Promise. I like to be in a big, strong team of experts with good financial support. But a few times God turned my way there, and I needed to gather people and resources by myself.
In 2011, God brought me to another village, to five kids with alcoholic parents, and awful living conditions. I Prayed for opportunities to adapt them, especially when I got news of horrible details from their lives. I told a lot of people about them, and there were a lot of miracles in this family.
In 2012 I moved to Lviv, in the western part of Ukraine. Here I am trying to be useful with my art and I continue to work in orphanages. The first two years were difficult with adaptation and with finding a job. It’s a more Polish culture here, and people like religious traditions and art. My vision was to mix art and charity, to use art as an inspirational tool. At first I was thinking to sell paintings for fund raising and make a ministry in the orphanage. Panting here is cheap so I started to make work-shops and pray that God would send people my way and kids to serve. I have a lot relationships here with different people through this work and they often join art projects like painting walls in the orphanages and hospitals. People here really interested in art.