In the story below you will read about Nikolai and how he greatly struggled as he tried to change things in his own power. It wasn’t until he finally gave his life to God that Nikolai found new strength to tackle the sin that he was fighting, and to forgive and love others as Christ loved and forgave him.
Alma, our team member in Central Asia, shares this testimony with us. Please pray for Alma as she continues to gather stories during her challenging pregnancy. As she is struggling with low energy and very hot weather, it was a blessing to her heart to be able to share this “very good testimony of Nikolai who repented at a summer camp.”
Hello, my name is Nikolai. I am 22 years old.
The first time I heard about Jesus was when I was 10 years old. My friends invited me to the church and said that people there were giving presents. In that time, I saw gifts very rarely as my family was not so prosperous. My parents were divorced. My father was in prison and my mom was an alcoholic, so to get a present was something new for me, so I went there. I heard the Gospel there, but it was not interesting for me. I liked people there. They were not swearing, they were not abusive, and Russians and Kazakhs were actually singing and praying together. It was very unusual for me.
I began to visit Sunday school, though I wasn’t interested in faith or the Lord. I visited because I just liked this community: teenagers, constant meetings, trips to nature and tasty meal and tea. In other words, I got there what I couldn’t get at school or home. Today I understand that it was the true love of these people towards me. They always invited me, and always were worrying about me and praying for me. I never gave in return, but they never asked me for anything. All in all, I used the kindness of these people. At church I was one person, but out of church a completely different person.
At school I was a bully. I offended others and other pupils feared me. I did dirty things to people, and it was very funny for me. Nobody knew that I went to church. I had a bad relationship with my mother, and I hated her with my whole heart. And because she was drinking almost every day, she always insulted me.
When I was 15 years old, I understood that I can’t live like people in a church. It was very boring for me and one time my classmate saw me with a Bible and the next day, she yelled before everyone, “the Bible is coming!” Usually I made fun of others, but here they made fun of me. I ultimately decided not to go to the church anymore. When I was near the church, I always tried to pass by the church, but the pastor always saw me.
After graduation, I was preparing to go to college. I had an opportunity to get there without passing exams, because I lied and signed papers saying that I am a sportsman. Because of this I never prepared for exams. I didn’t worry about this and was just having fun times with my friends and playing computer games all night.
One night while I was playing games, I suddenly thought about why I am living. What is the meaning of my life? I stopped playing and was continuing to think about this: Ok, I will go to college, after I will work, will marry, family, kids… what is then? I will grow old and after I will die, and then? I couldn’t find an answer to this question and concluded that my life has no meaning, I lived to die. What is the difference—to die later becoming older or now when I am young? Here I remembered the words from church about hell, sin and judgment. And I understood that after death I will go to hell. I trembled though I didn’t pray and ask the Lord to forgive me, but I decided to begin visiting the church again.
One month later, the youth of our church was invited to a big conference in the region. After that, I was invited to help in a kids summer camp hosted in little cities and villages. I accepted the invitation. Hearing the Gospel which was told to the children, I was thinking, “If it is true that Jesus died for my sin in advance, then I injured Him much in all my life.” Exactly at this moment I believed in the Gospel, and my eyes opened. I found that my mind changed. I saw that I along with the world is rotting by committing so many sins, and we are so horrible by our nature.
Coming back to home I realized two things which followed my repentance:
First, during conversations with my friends I stopped swearing. When I would say bad words, I was very ashamed. Before I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop swearing even when I tried very much. But here, I just believed and repented, and then no foul language. I found the answer from the Bible: For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. My external nature shows my interior nature. It shows who I truly am in my heart and my soul. Then one more passage I found said, ‘The blood of Jesus His Son purifies us from all sin.’ I understood clearly that the changes that were happening in my life were the results of Jesus Christ forgiving me. He is changing my life.
Second, when I saw my mom after repentance, I felt love instead of hate. She became a dear person for me. I was wondering about this, because in the past I tried to forgive her, even saying “I forgive you,” but my hate towards her was always rising. But now, it was like the hate was completely deleted from me. I read from Bible that “God is love.” He loves me and forgave me, and it’s only in Him that I can truly love and find strength to forgive others.
I have now entered into a college in a big city without lying. God provided me with a good job, and I love my profession. In the church I help with children and youth ministry!