I had been living a regular life, nothing special, outstanding or shocking. However, even in that situation the inner tension would not leave me alone — What is my reason for living? Why do I have to strive to live?
Until I was 20 years-old I had been confronted with mere religion. Not finding a satisfactory answer on this issue, I became more and more immersed in a world of despair. But in December 2000, having met with committed Christians, I revealed Christ in my belief system, not as a code of some dogmatic views, but as a real Identity — Who I became extremely interested in.
Over the next six months occurred my long-awaited conversion to faith. After that things were developing rapidly and were full of a spiritual search. The basis of my decision to follow the path of Christianity was my crushing disappointment in life and its meaningless value, as if “You are living for just to die”. Despite all this, it was hard to say goodbye to my old life, because I could not know what was waiting for me there — “on the other side.” But with the Bible in my hand all things started to make sense, and I gained totally unexpected development.
Apart from progressive enlightenment and different types of church ministries, by God’s providence I entered the Krasnoyarsk Bible College in 2003 and then entered the Novosibirsk Biblical Theological Seminary in 2008. Along with that I started a family in 2005. We had our first baby in 2011 and then our second baby in 2017.
Although for some it is not a big deal, it is quite different with me. Mainly, because my attitude toward life itself changed. Everything finally started to come together, and all my intents and purposes obtained the true meaning. Particular mention should be made of the years of study at the seminary, because it was a unique time for me. That was the time when God began to get my thoughts in order. Moreover, the education triggered an apparently irreversible process of the whole long-term transformation in me, since it provided me with the necessary tools and motivation. As a man very close to me said, “Everything has changed but only Jesus is the same”.
The most exciting thing in my study was a priority of biblical theology, which is as just as important in my ministry even to this day. All the necessary conditions were created for us students to absorb spiritual blessings hidden in such simple tools as the Bible and prayer. Each teacher was the best model for us in his own field, and hence inculcated in us a great passion for his own subject and (in general) for that school of godliness.
The ministry of Discipleship I conducted at the Grace Church in the city of Krasnoyarsk since 2016 was the result of the experience I gained at the seminary. There were many fields of education which I was fond of, and among them, probably, the following is worth noting: Theology, Hermeneutics and Homiletics, which in a greater degree determines my workload at the church. Biblical and Theological foundation, methodology, materials, a deep understanding of the Gospel, and, of course, the formation of my personality — all of these things together became my solid base in the church work. At present, my knowledge has not been yet exhausted as the volume of what I have learned is so big that it will be enough for many years to come.
I have a great desire to share all of this with my congregation; to make it available to the longing people of God. If God wants to keep me along the way, there is a desire to pursue my study process — not only to deepen the mastered materials, but also to learn something new (or in a new way), because my appetite for learning after graduation has only grown.
Today, I can say with certainty that God is merciful! I will never be able to fully express all that in my own words! Only my whole life — being transformed according to the Word of our Savior to His eternal glory — might become the best gratitude on my part for everything done by God!
Compassion and the Gospel of Christ are transforming souls in Siberia, and beyond, as people are drawn to the church through encounters with believers.
Pastor Mark Zhuk writes of how the biblical foundation he received at Novosibirsk Biblical-Theological Seminary helped him during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your donation will help change lives in Russia, the former Soviet countries of Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.