People call him Viktor Mikaelovitch, even though he’s only 21. It’s a sign of respect. Viktor loves to dress nicely, often in a suit and tie. He always has a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone he meets, usually complimenting those around him. But Viktor’s sweet spirit and kindheartedness hides the painful truth he has experienced in his short life.
Viktor grew up in a small village with his mother and grandmother. His mother was already a serious alcoholic when she got pregnant, giving him the telltale signs of fetal alcohol syndrome. Grandmother begged her to stop drinking, but she never did. Viktor loved his grandmother and was devastated when she died. He was six years old. Around this time, his mother started giving him vodka, and he too became an alcoholic. Viktor met his dad once, but he also drank and died of cirrhosis. Mama eventually died of cirrhosis as well. Viktor was 16 and his heart was broken. He cried for days. Now he was truly alone in the world!
Viktor was shuttled from relatives, to hospitals, to a shelter and eventually ended up at an orphanage. It was a sad time in his life. One day at the orphanage, he met Vova and Tonya and they invited him to visit Mel’s House, a Heart for Orphans Transition Home where they serve as house parents. He went for a short visit and never left. Last summer Viktor went to the pastor. He broke down and cried and asked the Lord to come into his heart and change him. He was able to quit drinking right away! Viktor said, “I cannot explain how happy I am, and how thankful I am for everything Tonya and Vova have done! I love it here. I enjoy helping with chores, but most of all I love having and being part of a family.”
When asked what the best thing was about living there, he said, “Jesus Christ!” and then added, “God bless the sponsors that make this house possible. I pray God will give them back one hundred times what they give, on earth and in heaven!”