I was born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine. My parents and other family members were more atheists than Eastern Orthodox. During the first fourteen years of my life I never met Evangelical Christians, I never read the Bible, and didn’t really care about what happens to a person after one dies. Does God exist? Who is He? What does He want from me? These questions never came to my mind. I thought that all I should care about is making me happy, doing what pleases me, with no particular regard or respect for the needs and wants of others around me. Of course, in my own mind, I still considered myself kind and caring towards my friends and family, yet, with those of no consequence to me I was cruel and insensitive.

I had good grades in school and excelled in athletics, however my heart became callous towards my teachers and classmates. Yet, I still considered myself an outstanding individual; one who is worthy of public attention, respect and even adoration.

I was in a constant search for new pleasures. I tried everything I could think of or get my hands on. I wanted to find satisfaction in life in professional sports, relationships with my peers, carefree entertainment. But I would get sick of things fast, and my heart became more hardened. I didn’t like where I was heading, but I couldn’t do anything about it.

Once I got invited to a youth sports camp. As I found out later, it was organized by a local church with the help of an American shot-term mission team. I got interested and enjoyed spending time with foreigners.

Every evening we would meet to discuss different topics. I tired avoiding anything that had to God, the Bible etc. However, I understood the message of Scripture, God’s character, and my position before Him (it wasn’t hard to convince me that deep down I am sinner who deserves punishment). I even agreed with the fact that God sent His only Son, Jesus, Who was fully God and fully man, and that He died on the cross for my sins. But I didn’t realize I could have a personal relationship with Him, I didn’t know I could be adopted into God’s family and receive the gift of eternal life. I found out, that my sinful conditions demands that I repent of my sin and entrust my life to Jesus Christ as my God and Savior.

This was a very difficult decision for me. I didn’t want to spot living for myself only. I didn’t want to confess my sin before God. But thankfully, God worked in my heart. So one evening I humbled myself in prayer to God and decided to glorify Jesus in my life, because He gave Himself for me, when I still was God’s enemy, in order that I may not perish. Every since that moment I never second-guessed the love, faithfulness, and existence of my Lord. I know that He will always be with me, making me more like Christ every day. And despite the fact that I am still disobedient to Him at times, and stumble into sin, I know that He who began a good work in me will complete it.

Today I want to live for the glory of Jesus Christ and building up of His Church! I praise God for His unfailing love, abounding grace and mercy, which He so freely bestowed on me! Only through restored a relationship with his Maker a person can finally be satisfied in life! Because that is the sole purpose for which we exist.