Leonid has seen a lot in his 20 years…from losing his mother at the age of three, to the loneliness of being an orphaned child, to witnessing the ravages of war. But what would stop many of us in our tracks, hasn’t stopped this young man…today Leonid is reaching out and helping Ukrainian refugees as they pour into his city.
“It is hard for me to watch these displaced people as they remind me of my life just a few years ago when I was alone and frightened,” said Leonid. He has been busy this past year helping refugees by distributing food, water, and clothing. The call to help came through the church, and Leonid was one of the first to volunteer. He works long hours unloading trucks, which arrive from Western Ukraine, Romania, and Italy.
Leonid came to Mel’s House, a Heart for Orphans Transition Home, several years ago after meeting a group of Christians who shared God with him. “These people were different,” said Leonid, “but in a good way. They love God and were not afraid to talk about Him.” After this, it didn’t take long for Leonid to make a decision to live with our family, said house father Vova, “It was a perfect fit.” Leonid started going to church and singing in the choir. He even goes to the orphanage from which he came, in order to spend time with the kids. He wants these kids to feel loved and not forgotten.
According to house father Vova, Leonid has come a long way. The feelings of acceptance and family have made Leonid a happy young man who is always making people laugh and feel good about themselves. “He is never in a bad mood, he is unique that way,” Vova went on to say, “I am happy that Leonid is giving back in such a big way. Helping refugees shows his heart is in the right place.”
Leonid’s story is, sadly, all too common, but he has found hope and a purpose in life. He could have become an angry and bitter young man, but instead his heart is full of love and compassion. His early struggles and determination to overcome have given him the desire to help those who are alone and frightened. Leonid’s life has come full circle. He is truly becoming the man God wants him to be.