“Victor Barbinyagra—Kharkiv, Ukraine,” Liahona, July 2018
Victor was born three months premature. As a result, he has several disabilities and was unable to walk until he was seven years old. Despite the challenges he faces, Victor has chosen to be a happy person. He finds joy in reaching out and showing love to others.
Leslie Nilsson, photographer
I was born three months premature Doctors were saying that I probably could not do anything, but my mother was always trying to find different sources to help me. For years, I received different treatments, but I still couldn’t walk.
Finally, my mother found a treatment that could possibly help me start walking. She decided before doing that to ask the missionaries to give me a blessing. After I received the blessing, we went to the doctor. The treatment was just different physical exercises. Eventually, after doing those exercises, I started walking.
Sometimes I get upset about my disabilities, but I try not to show this. Usually I’m a happy person, and I just don’t show my frustrations to others.
When I was a teenager, however, there was a time when I was depressed.
I didn’t want to go to church. I asked God, “Why am I this way? Why can’t you make me better? Why don’t I have good relationships with others?” These questions discouraged me and made me feel really sad, and I didn’t know how I could change my situation, so I thought that maybe ending my life was the answer.
But then I thought about my mother and how she would react. I thought that she would probably feel really sorry and feel that she did something wrong or did not do enough to help me. That’s when I decided that I was going to live and keep going.
In the end, I feel that I’m a pretty happy person.
I do have problems, just like everyone else has. They’re not bigger or smaller, and though we may not be able to solve them 100 percent, I know we can cope with our problems and we can move forward for sure.
I know that God has a plan for every person in this life no matter who they are.
My mother used to tell me that the most handsome person can be the most unhappy, and an ugly person can be really happy.
Because of the Church, I know that you can be happy no matter what, because the plan of God is a plan of happiness. I believe that happiness is something that is inside of us, not outside.
Happiness comes from having faith, relying on God, and living the gospel. This helps us have the right attitude and use what we have to better ourselves.
For every person, there is always something better in the future, and if there is something negative, you can deal with it.
I’m trying to love people because the most important thing in life is our connection with people. I try to love my family because family is our future, it’s our everything. And I’m grateful to God for everything I have.
To anyone who struggles, I would say: Try to accept yourself as you are in the moment, even with all your disadvantages, and believe that you can become better.