Inspiring Story: Robbery, Rehab and Redemption
Mar 27, 2017 1092
Vitalii found Jesus in a Poltava rehab centre in Ukraine, where a GNU pastor came to share the Gospel. Here’s his story in his words:
Could you describe your life leading up to your arrival at the rehab centre?
When I was 13, my parents went abroad to work, and I was left in my grandma’s care in Truskavets. I took their absence hard. Before this, I had been an excellent student at school and received letters of commendation. I also took part in the Academic Olympics in Maths. But changes started occurring in my life. I found myself in a group of older guys. I began smoking, drinking alcohol and missing school. At 15, I injected drugs for the first time in my life. There was no going back.
In 2013, when I was 25, I was put into prison on accounts of robbery. In prison I went on taking drugs, and didn’t understand that if I this continued after my discharge, I would have no future. After being discharged I made up my mind to give it up but I could only resist it for 5 days. My friends, who had been through the rehab centre in Poltava, and who had been sober for about 4 years by that time, advised me to go to the centre in Poltava. They already had their own businesses, cars and families. And as my wife and I had divorced after my first year in prison, I had nothing. So in October 2016 I came to the rehab centre to receive treatment.
What do you think of the Gospel meetings conducted by the GNU pastor? Have they helped with your recovery?
Yes, they have. When I was a child, my grandmother and I attended the Orthodox Church every Sunday. It is common in Eastern Ukraine for a child’s spiritual education to come from his grandma. However, my grandma only taught me how to pray pre-written prayers. But here at the Gospel meetings I was taught how to talk to God.
I hadn’t attended church even once since I was 13. I thought I was not worthy of going because I was doing bad things and I had the idea that God punishes people for their sins. But I have now learned that God loves His children and His aim is to save us from our sins and not to punish us for them. I have a deeper understanding of the Bible and have attended additional Bible studies. I was recently given a Bible, and I know that it is thanks to GNU. Thank you.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Sometimes it’s not easy to think of the future. At 30 years of age, I am only now at the beginning of my new way of life. But I am sure that with God I can get through whatever comes my way. In my first month of treatment at the rehab centre we were asked how we would manage to stand against addiction in the future. My answer was that I could only do it in the strength of God. I am now even more confident of this: that with God I can get through whatever may come my way.
– Vitalii (Edited by Ella Rodionoff)