News and Views
Editors: Margaret Brown
and Wies Dikstra

Biannual newsletter of the European Baptist Women's Union
Winter Edition 2010-2011
Table of Contents

Testimony from Ukraine
How we became a big family

Our family was re-born August 27, 1993 in Ukraine. From that day we, Valerie and Elena Podpovidnye became a Christian family. We believe faith in God is the most important and integral aspect of our lives.

In January 1996 we left as the missionaries from the south of Ukraine and went to the north of Russia, to Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. There we have lived and worked for ten years.

Valerie was a pastor of the church in the city of Tarko-Sale. I was involved in a mu-sic ministry and committed to women's work. Although we had been married for some time, God did not give us children, therefore our whole lives were dedicated to serve Him; we committed ourselves and our abilities to God.

Fortunately in 2000, God gave us a wonderful daughter, Arina. We were so involved in loving and caring for her. We hoped very much that she would have a brother or sister, but God had other plans for us.


Here, my husband worked as pastor of the church, and I led the music ministry and taught courses for women. In addition, we tried to help children in difficult life situations, from dysfunctional families. Seeing children who are deprived of parental love, care and attention is very hard; it‘s impossible to get used to. Through the ministry to these children, our church developed a good reputation in the social sphere and also among parents. There are people who donate money to help the children, and this enables us to buy food and clothing for them.

One time, when I returned home from a women‘s meeting, my husband, who had been reading an article about children who need parental love, in the journal "The Hope for You‘ had something to tell me.  "My heart trembled,"  he said,  "I believe that God spoke to me - that our family should not have just one child, but several."  We began to pray about this. If the Lord speaks to you, and you want to hear Him, you do not need much time to learn His will. When we asked Arina if she would like a brother or a sister she always replied,  "A brother and a sister!"

The Guardianship Department offered us a brother and a sister, Kolya (9) and Tonya (8). The workers said,  "Only you can help them get on their feet, otherwise they will not survive."  The girl, from age seven to eight years old had been assaulted by her alcoholic father, the boy was born sedigitate (with six fingers on his right hand). No-one wants to have a child with problems; I also wanted this. But God's thoughts are not our thoughts, neither His ways, our ways (Isaiah 55:8). In April 2008 Kolya and Tonya joined our family. In July that year we were blessed once more with a miracle baby, Kiryusha (Cyril) just six weeks old. He has become our favourite child, not only to us, the parents, but to our children also. So, unexpectedly we have become a family with many children. We have learned that God has given us with these children, a real love for them, and wisdom and strength to bring them up correctly.

Our daughter Arina is now ten years old. She is studying in the fourth grade general education school, as well as third-class at school of arts in piano. In 2008, Arina was awarded the diploma of II degree of regional competition for pupils of children's music schools. We want to develop further her musical gift.

When we met with Kolya, he studied in the second grade of specialized boarding school. In September 2008 we transferred him to an ordinary school and decided to duplicate the program of the second level with the teacher. He had graduated from the school year without triple scores, but Kolya is now eleven years old, studying in the third grade, and performing highly. We are helping him to believe that with God's help he can study well in regular school. Kolya was ridiculed by his class-mates due to the congenital anomaly on his right hand. In 2009 he was operated on in a hospital in Yekaterinburg. Now we are helping him to exercise movement to develop the use of his thumb after the surgery. Kolya is happy that he is no longer teased "sedigitate". Actually he is a very sociable and loving boy; he welcomes everyone entering the church, and becomes acquainted with the ones who come for the first time.

Tonya suffered severe psychological trauma in her first family. She had not studied, and had not been certified for the first grades. It was intended to transfer her to a boarding school for backward children. But the headmaster granted our desire, and Tonya took once more the first grades. She is in second grade now, and she is pains-taking and diligent in her studies. In general, she is a calm, kind and caring girl; she loves to draw and sing, and is happy to communicate with her younger brother Kiryusha. Kolya and Tonya initially had poor health. For us children's health is very important. We try to teach our children a proper diet and exercise. In the beginning it was hard for them to walk for 20-30 minutes. Tonya did not know how to run. Now Kolya is marked the "best runner‘ of his grade, he took second place in the class. To-nya became more assertive in games.

Cyril - our golden child, beloved and charming, is a quick-witted, inquisitive and cheerful boy, with masses of energy to spare. Kiryusha helps us to "educate” the old-er sisters and brother, mastering the computer and other equipment, and bringing "order" to the apartment. We are very fond of him and the other children spoil him a little.

In our family, father is the head. He cares about the welfare of the family, about our spiritual and physical health. In addressing complex issues he always has the last word. The same responsibility and care we teach Kolya. He will be the future man, the breadwinner of the family and should be able to do everything to fulfill his responsibility. Our girls learn to be good housewives, to manage the kitchen, always to look charming, to be kind and compassionate.

Our family is open for fellowship with other people. After all, we are missionaries. We love to receive visitors and participate in various activities. We are members of an organization, "Heart of Gold", which arranges fostering for families. Our song "Past flowed, the river flowed" has become the anthem of the organisation.

For us it is very important for our children, above all, to receive Christ into their hearts and dedicate their lives to Him. We hope they will always want to come home, and that the family for them will be a place where they are always under-stood, have comfort, and find encouragement to live a happy and fulfilled life.

We want very much to be, for our children, an example of Christian life and ministry to God. Our Lord does not leave us without His guidance and blessings.

Elena Podpovidnaya

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