06 Sep 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.
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