OO ver the summer, the Adventist communities of Smolensk and Pavlovsky Posad accepted new believers into their membership. On August 22, four people were baptized in Smolensk, and on July 25, in Pavlovsky Posad, three people.
Valentina and Olga talk about their path to God.
I am 24 years old and I was finally baptized. When I was 12 years old, I learned about the true God. During that period, I lost one of the most important people in human life – my father – and consolation did not come for a long time. Once, I really wanted to see a movie about Christ, and I came across the “Gospel of John” (2003). At school, I shared my grief with a friend. She brought me a little gospel that her mother had given her. I spent every day after school reading this book. Not even a week had passed before Anya invited me to visit. Aunt Siran (my friend’s mom) told me about God, and assured me that I was not alone in my grief; that there is a Lord who cares for us. These words were a breath of fresh air for me, because before that none of my relatives could console me. This is how I found my Heavenly Father.
In the 10th grade, spiritual thirst awoke in me again. And the Lord brought me back to this woman. Every Saturday I came to visit her, and we studied the holy scriptures in detail, and prayed. During that period, I was constantly with God in my thoughts and even my school essays could not do without mentioning him. Those were joyful days; I was glowing, I wanted to tell everyone about God. But my parents weren’t happy with my faith.
Then I went to college: a new environment, friends, knowledge, and many temptations, and less time for reading the Bible and prayer. I limited myself to prayer at night, thanking God for all his deeds. Despite the fact that I left him, the Lord was always there and constantly reminded me of that fact.
I knew that they were praying for me. My friend’s mom periodically invited me to church on Saturdays, but I always had reasons not to go. This continued after graduation. Now all my precious time was occupied by work, and again, there was no place for Christ in my life. I felt that I missed reading the Bible, for God, for the state of the world that only he can give. But occupied by my daily duties, I put off this step to God.
Recently, God managed to reach my heart. Just like when I was 12, I wanted to be with God no matter what. Aunt Siran invited me to participate in online conferences on Saturdays (since in the conditions of the coronavirus it was not possible to attend church), and I agreed. How happy I am that I took this small step towards the great God! Now, even on the busiest days, I have time for him. He became the center of my life.
July 25 was my new birthday. Fears, doubts, and shame are gone, and I know that the Lord is with me everywhere. We change, our life and environment change, but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13: 8).
I avoided God for a very long time and I am very sorry that so much time was wasted. Now I am 45 years old, and I am glad that God has waited for me. The Lord revealed himself to me through Siranush, a wonderful person.
Before we met, I had many questions, but few answers. I didn’t know how to pray; I often thought, “How dare I address him, me being who I am?” I felt like I was becoming stone – tough and angry. I was ashamed of myself, but I continued to push myself: it is necessary, you are strong, you can. Remembering this I feel ashamed, before God and the people who know me.
Siranush told me that God is not a villain who destroys everyone, but a loving, compassionate, patient Father. That He is alive, real. “God is not somewhere out there,” he told me, “but here, near, close, stretching out his hand, just do not push him away.” These words changed everything in me! We began to read the holy scriptures and attend church on Saturdays, and soon I found answers to my tormenting questions. I wanted to be baptized as soon as possible, to enter into a covenant with God.
On Saturday, July 25, I was baptized – the most wonderful event in my life. After a rainy, cool week, it was a sunny, warm day. I will remember the feeling of happiness and harmony for my entire lifetime. I believe that in difficult times, these memories will support and strengthen my faith in Christ.