Andre’s Story From The Field
Hello, my name is Andre and I live in Gostomel, Ukraine, a small town outside of Kiev. I am studying at Dragomanova University while also working in a children’s preschool/kindergarten. My story begins six years ago during a time when my life was challenging and I had a turning point in my faith.
I was just 16 years old and had a very hard break up with a girl I was dating. I was attending church with friends and we were planning to be baptized and join the church. But my parents forbade me to go to church or be baptized, saying I was too young to make that decision. I didn’t expect this reaction from my parents, especially since my mother really loves Misha, my youth pastor and mentor.
To make matters worse, my parents even forbade me to associate with my Christian friends. I was hurt and didn’t understand their motivation. Misha encouraged me to submit to their authority. I still stayed in touch with everyone and slowly began serving again. Two years later, when I turned 18, I informed my parents of my decision to be baptized.
My family had financial problems, so I got a job to earn a little money. My parents then started asking me for money to make what I considered unnecessary purchases. Naturally, it made me angry, and I grew even angrier as this request was repeated many times.
My parents thought that I was giving all my money to the church. Misha reminded me that even in these situations God also shows Himself. We discussed the biblical truth that God is good all the time. Misha supported and believed in me during this difficult time.
This provoked me to action to deal with my anger. Now, when I counsel teenagers, I understand more why Misha did these things. Despite my not-so-wholehearted obedience, now three years later, I have been baptized and am a member of my church, and my relationships with my parents has greatly improved.
God has used Misha in my life in other ways. Even when Misha confesses honestly that things are difficult for him, that he is tired and needs help in ministry, he doesn’t complain, but only asks us, his ministry team, to pray for him. I see him in these difficult moments, and at the same time, I see how much he trusts God.
I am especially grateful to Misha for teaching me how to listen to people. He is a wonderful counselor. I was often demanding and impatient with others on our ministry team, but Misha’s family became an example for me and taught me to accept people just as they are.
I began to understand that people are very different, with very different needs, and I only understand those needs when I listen. This lights a fire in me, and now that I am myself mentoring teenagers, I understand Misha even better.
In the future, after I finish my studies at the university, I plan to enter Kiev Theological Seminary so I can better “share the gospel through sharing my life”, words I often hear from Misha.
I want to thank Youth Ministry International for investing in me by investing in Misha, my youth pastor, and mentor. THANKS!
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