In 1998 the General Director of a Catholic Religious Order called “Miles Jesu” the most Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Maria Duran visited Ukraine where 3 Miles Jesu communities were based and ran various activities. One of the top issues on the discussion table was the future of the Miles Jesu’s property in the small village Bortnyky situated in the middle of nowhere. Having listened to various ideas and proposals Fr. Duran concluded the discussion: “Miles Jesu will open a place for children in Bortnyky. Orphans, street children, children from broken families will live here in a nice family atmosphere surrounded by love, care, peace and harmony. We have to start as soon as possible”. I, the one who is writing these lines, was not present at that meeting. Back then in 1998 I did not know Miles Jesu existed, neither was I aware that there was a village called Bortnyky somewhere in Ukraine and I was not thinking about joining Religious Life or working with children at all. But God has His ways! Here are few photos of the Miles Jesu property in Bortnyky and also of the first children accepted here in 1998.
It is November 2020 now. I have been living and running the show in Bortnyky since April 2004. I can’t resist a temptation to show you few more photos. So, here we are.
I do not know what your reaction to this changes is going to be. In summer 2019 I was on a trip to Canada raising funds for our adventure called “operation blueberries”. I used the same approach there too. On one of the occasions we had a good amount of people and I showed them a photo from early years of our orphanage and then one from the present days. Their reaction was a shared sound that still stays with me. Yes, the changes impress. But those people were only able to see the visible changes. I had a grace and privilege to coordinate and observe most of the changes in Bortnyky over the years. And in good conscience with sincere heart I can witness that when God makes a decision about something - no matter how difficult, irrational, ridiculous, impossible and so on it might seem to us humans - it is going to happen. The Family Home “Living Pearl” is an example of that. Good looking buildings that are repaired and have a well taken care of territory are far from being the main proof of God’s work in the orphanage. I have witnessed magnificent changes both in adults and children who end up living here. There were quite a few cases when troubled and hard to place children were handled here and grew up into mature young people. There were cases when adults who came here for short time (sometimes it was a mere coincidence) ended up living here for years and years. They have changed substantially themselves and helped to make changes around themselves. One of them gave this testimony: “I lived in a rich first class country. I had comfort, money and all the material goods but I lived for myself and always felt unhappy inside. Here I have less comfort or material things but I live for others and I am happy!” God has been making miracles around us through the whole history of mankind. Unfortunately, not many people have been able to see and recognize God’s work in their lives. I received grace to see His miracles and even to cooperate with Him. And it is my pleasure and delight to share these things with others. God is great and wonderful and He deserves to be known and praised!
by Ruslan Markiv
A look back from 2020 at one meeting that took place in spring 2003, and a look at theimportance and fruitfulness of long-term strategic investments.
For us at the Family Home “Living Pearl” based in Bortnyky village in the Lviv region ofUkraine, the spring of 2003 wasn’t much different from the spring of 2002 or inde
The boys that come to us are from different backgrounds
Some are true orphans, parents have passed away. Others include parents that are unable to look after their children due to financial reasons. Then there are those that the government have taken from their family due to abuses of all kinds. Mostly due to alcoholism and violence but a few for reasons that are unrepeatable. Regardless of their back ground we welcome them with open arms into our family. These children are not responsible for their situation in life but still suffer the consequences.
We provide a safe loving environment for the boys to heal and grow up. Our school enables these orphans to catch up with their schooling needs. Here we have created a family home where each boy has daily chores and a structured schedule.
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