My name is Alexei. I was born in the Russian city of Tambov into an average family. I did not know anything about God. My parents did not deny God’s existence, but they did not know Him and never sought to know. I thought that God probably existed as some kind of higher intelligence, which science would discover someday. My only knowledge of the church was the Orthodox Church. I perceived the church as an organization created to govern people and gain some personal benefit. However, I did recognize the difference between faith and religion.
As I grew older, I followed worldly values. My ego was at the center of everything. I believed my life depended on me only. I did not pay any attention to the fact that my actions hurt others. I didn’t care for anybody but myself. I desired to be successful following my personal lust, pride, self-affirmation, and arrogance. My pastimes were boozing and indecent entertainment. During my senior years at the university, I began to realize that I was building my life the wrong way.
I became conscious of my carelessness, laziness, disorganization, lies, and self-deception. I tried to correct my life. I served in the army, cutting down on alcohol and other useless entertainment. I realized that I had to be a responsible person that people could rely on, a good husband in the future, and a real man. But all my moral rules and will did not work. My values and role models were misleading. I was in the bondage of sin.
One day, a new colleague (a believer, as I learned later) joined our staff at work. When we got to know each other, I realized that she was a good and interesting person, kind and sympathetic. However, her stories about Easter and Christmas celebrations confused me. “Surely it is a cult,” I thought. I really wanted to save her from it!
She sent me links to a sermon and gave me a book called What is the Gospel? In this book, I read about the depth of our sinfulness. I pictured myself helping my grandmother cross the road, and at the same time being angry at someone and wishing him evil. The idea that even our sinful thoughts are a sin before God transformed my mind. In my life, there was plenty of sin. My thoughts were full of malice, fornication, lust, and dirty language. I imagined myself standing before God and having nothing to say to justify myself. I realized that I was totally wrong and felt hopeless. There is nothing good inside me. I am a sinner. How can I be saved? The answer was in that book ― faith in Jesus Christ. I needed God’s grace and mercy. And I repented. Then I was invited to an evangelical church. In February 2016, I visited Russian Bible Church for the first time and was baptized at their Christmas retreat.
Now I see how amazingly God works with me. I feel His father’s hand in all circumstances of my life. More and more I am filled with gratitude for His gift of salvation, which I do not deserve. Life is changing to the better. It is filled with new colors, meanings and joy!
Editor’s Note: Russian Bible Church in Moscow is pastored by SGA-sponsored missionary pastor Eugene Bakhmutsky. Eugene shared this wonderful testimony with us recently.