Maria Novikova’s Story

Capturing Grace on a 23 day journey through Ukraine and Greece, Photographing at Sails of Hope for SOW

(Serving Orphans Worldwide)

I am often asked,  “how do you hear all of the difficult stories without it just breaking your heart?”

There are multiple answers to this question but I am just grateful that for the most part, the heartbreaking stories are a part of these children’s past, not their present. 

I find so much joy in working alongside ministries like Sails of Hope who are restoring lives and  transforming pain into joy.

Maria’s story is a good example and it fills my heart with so much hope. Maria’s past has so many painful experiences, but her present and future are bright, thanks to Sails of Hope. 

During the time I spent at SOH in Sloviansk Ukraine, my camera and I were quite taken by Maria‘s beauty, inside and out.

Maria has the sweetest smile and the kindest demeanor, her well-adjusted personality would never give clue to all she has survived during her 12 years here on earth.

The condition that Maria’s family was in when Sails of Hope came alongside them was tragic, but not unusual for the children who temporarily call Sails of Hope their home. 

There are three children in Maria’s family, one younger brother and one older sister. Growing up, they witnessed a lot of violence in their home from a father who drank to excess and was physically and verbally abusive.

Maria’s mother would commonly lock herself and her children in a room only to have the father break through the door and inflict physical abuse on them all. 

Through the help of Sails of Hope, Maria’s family has been stabilized, Maria is surrounded by love here at SOH while work is being done to put Maria’s mother on a better course. Counseling, practical assistance, and being introduced to a heavenly father who redeems are all a part of this family’s new life. 

Thanks to Sails of Hope, Maria has a reason to dream, and smile.

About SOW Sponsored home

Sails of Hope

Sails of Hope is not an orphanage, this is a home of restoration and family reunification.
Each os these Angels whose faces or portrayed in this post are from a very similar path. The typical storyline for these children goes something like this.
In the city of Slavyansk where some of the most viscous fighting took place during a breach of Ukrainian borders that took over 10,000 innocent lives in 2014, life here will never be the same. Lives are fragmented and broken, there are no jobs, no opportunity like we are used to in the US. Men who have lost their jobs and have no hope, turn to alcohol and become addicted to drugs. The home becomes a place of tremendous abuse and neglect, ultimately these men disappear or die. This leaves a precious mom with a broken heart, missing the husband that she once loved, traumatized from abuse, devastated over her fractured family.
How can you provide love when there is no love in your own life?
How can you mend the heart of your child when your own heart is so broken?
This is where Eva and Sails of Hope comes in, standing in the gap, providing an option that rescues these children from a life of orphanhood in a government orphanage where a cycle of abuse and poverty are replicated for generations. Sails of Hope restores these traumatized children, surrounds them with megadoses of unconditional love and works to restore the family so reunification can take place.

This is the hands and feet of Jesus, this is true Christianity.

I breathed a silent prayer over each child as I photographically captured their hope filled hearts, Capturing Grace.
As you look through these photographs would you pray for the families that they represent?
Would you consider sponsoring one of these children?
You can change a life by listening to your heart and taking action.
  • Cynthia J myers
    Posted at 12:23h, 07 September Reply

    Wonderful ministry

  • capturing-grace
    Posted at 12:49h, 07 September Reply

    Thank you Cynthia!

  • Jennifer Fraker
    Posted at 08:19h, 13 September Reply

    Love the bright colors and wigs!!

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