We were happy to welcome a new member into our church: Tima. He is 20 years of age. From what I see as his pastor, Tima is a wonderful disciple of Jesus who gladly studies the Word with me and always discovers something new. The Lord sent him to our church just in time when COVID-19 started. His help with media ministry has been indispensable to us. We pray that Tima will have a long and faithful life in the service of the Lord. He loves the church and he has a heart for his unbelieving friends. His testimony has been translated from Russian. Read below:
I was born into a believing family. Like many children of believing parents, I treated this superficially. In summer bible camps as a child, I repented 3 times based on the promise of forgiveness of sins from the leaders. These moments were not true repentance, but manipulation from sad music and peer pressure. As a child, I was in rather bad company, but I loved to talk about the meaning of life. However, I knew that I myself did not fully understand what I was talking about and sounded pretty stupid. I boasted in my flesh of things I did not really know.
I also always had a bad speech structure and I studied poorly too. I had such poor vision, I could not see the board from the first desk, but I was sitting on the last one. I was proud and therefore too embarrassed to wear glasses, which only hurt my studies further. I kept my studies on the back burner. In the church we encouraged an active type of activity, sports, events, etc., I was withdrawn and could not join the circles of the church. In the church, I had a friend with whom we talked for 10 years. Once we decided to go to youth groups and discussion groups in our church, youth groups had questions with prizes, etc., which turned me off, since it has nothing to do with my main reason for coming. The gospel was explained there, superficially, and I had a lot of questions.
During church, we would also read verses and discuss them as a group. The leader of the discussion asked our thoughts. We expressed how we agree and disagreed on different topics. One time, when I explained that I look at salvation as a gift and election, the leader told me that I was wrong. Even though he was the leader, he did not convince me that I was wrong. After a while my friend said that he is an atheist, claiming the God of the Bible is generally terrible and cruel. We talked for a while, but he no longer comes to church.
I was sitting alone at a church meeting, not talking to anyone. It was time for the church’s planned call to respond but I realized I was empty and had nothing to say. My life seemed incomprehensible to me. I realized what I had been telling my friends about the meaning of life, I myself did not understand. Over time I had a dark depression begin. It was so bad, the only relief I could find was from a prescription. After a while, my father invited me to talk about my downward spiral. I was reluctant to go, but still did so anyway. This was a significant turning point for me as things I did not understand before began to unfold. I understood better over this period of time that Christ is the only one who can save me. I said in the last church that I do not understand almost anything and if I get baptized, it will be just self-deception. I was insistent that this was not the right thing to do and that this could not save me. Pastor Anatoly was very helpful in disciplining me and evangelizing me patiently. I have moved now to be able to attend the church he pastors. I am convinced of the Lord’s saving work in my life and that Christ is the only way to be saved. It was not a short or an easy road, but I am joyful to be in a church under this pastoral care I know I need.