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Father of 18 goes back to Ukraine for the one

Megan Gingerich
Jun 19, 2022

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? – Luke 15:4 (NIV)

Fathers are everyday superheroes. It’s impossible to overstate a father’s love for his children, and on this Father’s Day, we want to honor and thank all the amazing dads who are heroes and role models for their kids.

Our Heavenly Father sets the standard for what fatherhood should look like: unconditional and sacrificial love, patience, forgiveness, and selflessness. He’s an advocate for His children, always acting in their best interest.

Victor is a Ukrainian refugee who is a perfect example of a godly father.

Victor and his wife are both superheroes because of how they’ve opened up their hearts and home to children. They had 17 children before the war began, seven of whom were adopted from an orphanage where they also served as houseparents.

Victor and his family are living in a small church that’s been transformed into a refugee center

In February, Victor’s wife was expecting #18 and due any day … but then the shellings began near Kiev.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. The day Russia attacked Ukraine, Victor’s wife wasn’t feeling well. While other families were fleeing Ukraine, Victor rushed his wife to the hospital to possibly have a baby.

All the women in the maternity ward were moved to the hospital basement, where they would be safe from the bombs tearing the city apart. Victor wasn’t allowed to stay with her, and what followed was one of the hardest nights of his life.

“I cried and cried for my God,” Victor said. “It was a difficult time because I knew it was not safe.”

Victor wasn’t allowed to stay with his wife in the hospital

Overnight, a missile struck the city about 300 feet away from the hospital. Victor was frantic, but by the grace of God, his wife was safe and the baby hadn’t come yet. Still, Victor knew they needed to get out right away.

But getting the entire family out of Ukraine was easier said than done.

Most men between 18-65 aren’t allowed to leave Ukraine, but there are some exceptions.  Victor was able to flee to Romania with his family because he has at least three children under the age of 18 in his care … but his 18-year-old eldest son was not permitted to leave.

Victor’s son has been alone in Ukraine for over a month, but Victor hasn’t abandoned him. Once the new baby was born at the refugee center in Romania, Victor dedicated himself to getting his son out of Ukraine.

Victor’s 18th child was born after the family fled to Romania

Young men are required to stay so they can join the war effort if needed, but Victor’s son has some health issues that would prevent him from fighting. To be excused, though, he needs to file the right paperwork. That paperwork hasn’t been easy to get with the country in chaos, but Victor’s not giving up.

It’s not enough that his wife and 17 other children are safe — Victor isn’t going to leave the one behind.

Victor is just one Ukrainian dad affected by the war. While he was permitted to leave Ukraine with his family members, many fathers were separated from their families altogether. They’re alone this Father’s Day, trying to survive so they can be reunited with their wives and kids someday.

Today, please pray for Victor and the many Ukrainian fathers making tremendous sacrifices for their families.

And if you’d like to do more to help displaced Ukrainians like Victor survive this war, click the button below to provide emergency essentials like food, shelter, and more for refugees in need.

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