Starting From Scratch: Stepan’s Story
“We started our lives from scratch,” Stepan said.
As he watched his family’s home in Ukraine turn into a warzone, Stepan knew the right thing to do was move his family elsewhere. They traveled more than 500 miles to Bulgaria. There, with the help of Convoy of Hope’s Agriculture program, they found a restored sense of purpose.
When he arrived in Bulgaria, Stepan, his wife, and his two children were met with the cold reality that starting over is not easy.
“There are many challenges we face,” Stepan said. “There are many unknown and new things ahead of us — new people, a new country, a different culture and language.”
However, with support from their community and Source of Life, a local Convoy of Hope partner, Stepan’s family showed a remarkable amount of determination.
“They gave us hope that we could do it,” he said.
When Stepan and his family joined Convoy’s local Agriculture program, they were struck by a surprising sense of familiarity. Although much of their environment was new to them, agriculture was not.
“In Ukraine, we were engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry,” Stepan explained. “Pastor Vesko [of Source of Life] suggested that we be included in the agriculture programs of Convoy of Hope — raising rabbits and chickens. This strengthened our faith, gave us hope that we are not alone in this really difficult period of our lives, and gave us confidence that we are in the right place at the right time.”
With efficient agricultural practices, a caring community, and Convoy of Hope team members on their side, Stepan and his family were soon raising livestock, growing crops, keeping bees, and successfully supporting themselves in their new home.
Once they had proven they could thrive, the family took it upon themselves to help others in their new community. They donate to local Convoy partners, who will train others to provide for themselves. They are also saving for a tractor to provide help to the elderly and anyone else who cannot work the land themselves.
“Through these Convoy of Hope programs, we have been able to see that we can also help people in the village who are in need,” Stepan said. “It’s so simple and easy to do. We realized that for help to reach us, someone sacrificed and gave what was needed. We want to be part of this plan, so that we too can sacrifice and give according to our strength to those in need.”
Stephan and his family always make a point to spread hope to the people around them, all because Convoy gave hope to them.