Inspiring Story: Andrei’s First Steps As a Christian – Rovno, Ukraine
Mar 10, 2017 1027
My childhood memories of God consist of praying every evening with my grandma, and attending church in the holidays when I stayed with a Protestant relative. I enjoyed the children’s classes at that church and I learned many stories about Jesus. However, I never understood what it had to do with me.
Then my family moved from a rural area to the city of Rovno. For me, a boy from the countryside, this was a huge change. My parents went off to work in Portugal, and I was left with my grandma. At that time some older guys became my friends. I was only 12, and I started drinking alcohol. By 16, I was already addicted to drugs. I only went to church once in three years, and that was to confess my sins so I could erase them and start them all over again.
When I was 24, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. I realised that I had to change something, so I went to a Christian rehab centre where the basis of the program was working productively and reading the Bible. The principle was that you should be devoted to good deeds as much as you used to be devoted to drugs. I didn’t take drugs for the six months I was living there and I recovered from Hepatitis during that time.
Upon leaving rehab, we were directed towards renting housing, and searching for jobs. We did not been TV in the rehab centre, but once I left I started watching erotic videos, then I started taking alcohol and drugs again. The time came when I was fired from my job, my girlfriend left me, and my parents kicked me out of their house. I wondered if I should kill myself. But I didn’t. Instead, I went to my grandma. She begged me to leave, saying that watching me was killing her.
I hadn’t prayed for a long time by then because I didn’t consider I was worthy. But at that moment I begged God for the trouble in my life to end. The next morning my mother came and said she was ready to pay for another attempt at rehab treatment in Poltava. I told her there were closer centres nearby, but she answered, “You go to Poltava or you are on your own.” So I went.
As I kept attending the Christian lessons at the rehab centre, I came to realise how the stories about Jesus related to me
I took my drugs just before I arrived at Poltava, as I was afraid that if the rehab centre found them, they would take them from me and beat me as a punishment, as often happens in other rehab centres. But that didn’t happen. Here, everybody was friendly, and I was simply put into hospital for detoxification. Then I began the program. I went to Bible classes conducted by a GNU-supported pastor. There was a nice, warm atmosphere around him, and he wasn’t aggressive at all. After being discharged from the hospital, I went on attending these Christian lessons at the rehab centre. I came to realise how the stories about Jesus related to me, and my salvation.
I still have much to learn. I am still trying to give up smoking. Sometimes I still allow fury and anger at other people to come into my heart. But then I remember that God is not waiting to punish me, but instead he waits for me with love. I especially want to learn how to pray more, because I know God can hear me and answers my prayers.
Recently I was invited to some additional Gospel meetings, and was recently given a Bible at the meetings. I am so grateful to GNU for this gift, because I have never owned a Bible before.
– Andrei (Edited by Ella Rodionoff)