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Restoring Family

Published on December 16, 2020

Adelie Cox

If there’s one thing we know to be true about the God we serve, it’s that He has sought to bring restoration to a broken world. As followers of Jesus, we have experienced firsthand the restorative nature of who God is by being freed from the grip of sin and finding new life in Christ.

God has created us to have communion with Him and with others, to be a part of a healthy family and to grow deeper in our faith. But because we live in a fallen world, not everyone has the same experience of what “family” is intended to be. Whether it be divorce, a loss of a parent, an addiction or other circumstances — the family unit can break down, leaving hearts crushed and longing to be whole again.

But nobody’s story is too far out of reach from the goodness and grace of God, and sometimes restoration is closer than we think.

Throughout the ministry, we see thousands of new relationships form and coaches and athletes find new life in Christ for the first time. But two siblings together for the first time through an FCA affiliated sports team? Miraculous.

BrotherDima Rachkovskyy, FCA Area Representative in Kiev, Ukraine, shared the remarkable story of two athletes, Leonid and Bogdan, who discovered they were brothers a few weeks after joining the same FCA basketball team.

“Leonid has been playing for our team since the 2019 season,” Dima said. “He was a professional basketball player in the past and joined our team as the best and most experienced player, plus he is a Christian.”

As a professional athlete, Leonid (Leo) made a name for himself throughout his basketball career. Young players including Bogdan knew of him and looked up to him.

“Bogdan joined our team through a common friend that visited our practice once and told him about us,” Dima said.

Growing up, Leo knew from his father that he had a half-brother, but family circumstances kept them from ever meeting or having a relationship. Not only that, but his father had never met his younger son due to tough choices made in his past.

It wasn’t until after two practices and one game into the season that Leo got the unexpected call from his father who had watched the live stream of their basketball game. His father called and with a trembling voice asked, ‘‘Who is number 12?” Leo responded that it was Bogdan Lastivka and his father continued to ask questions. Putting the pieces together, she shared that he believed Bogdan was Leo’s half-brother.

Leo, of course, was stunned by this news. Since the time he learned he had a half-brother, Leo always wanted the chance to meet him. Quickly making the call to Bogdan, he asked about his mother’s name, where he was from, and sure enough, it all aligned — they were brothers!

Pass“In shock, Leonid told Bogdan that he is his half- brother, and later called me and shared this story, that because of Team FCA he found his brother,” Dima said. “This story reminded me that the work we do has eternal impact and that God has purpose in everything.”

Although the brothers are not on the same page spiritually, Leonid praises God for bringing Bogdan into his life and has hopes for their relationship to grow with time.  

“It’s a great God story,” Dima said. “I believe there is more work to be done in Bogdan’s heart and I hope through Leonid and our team he can give his life to Christ and that this story will have more and more fruit after such an incredible start.”

Currently, Bogdan and Leo coach together and are going through the Bible together, as well as participating in a coaches Huddle. Dima shared that if God had never put a desire on his heart to start this team, those two may have never met.

“Their story encourages me to continue to be faithful and do my part and know that God will do His work,” Dima said. “I personally can't believe this happened through our team and am still amazed how God put everything together.”




By God’s grace and favor, stories of restoration are happening through the influence of faithful staff like Dima, and you can be a part of the impact. Dima and his wife Reily believe in Ukraine’s mission that “every coach in Ukraine deserves to hear the Gospel, to have a Bible in their hands, and to be connected to a Huddle in their area for spiritual growth.” Click here to learn more about Dima and Reily and how you can be a part of Kingdom work throughout Kiev.