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Home News Students Continue Sharing About Their Ministries
Students Continue Sharing About Their Ministries PDF Print E-mail

Interview with Artem Zelenskyi, a part-time second-year student of theology.

Could you share a little bit about yourself and how you came to God?

Originally, I am from the South of Ukraine, near Odesa. I became a drug and alcohol addict at a very early age. Also, I had problems with the law. I tried to stop many times but failed. I went to hospitals, mental institutions – nothing helped.

Today, I know that there were people who were praying for me. These were my friends, former addicts, who had repented and received a new life in Christ. However, being so deep in sin, I did not listen to them at that time.

One day my mother drew a line in the sand and said that I either had to go to a Christian rehab center or leave home. Despite some hesitation I decided to yield and go to a rehab. As a matter of fact, I had previously lived on the street for a time and did not like it at all. So, I went to rehab for my mother’s sake, planning to resume my usual way of life as soon as I was out.

However, God touched my heart there and I realized He had a plan for my life. Moreover, the Lord set me free of all my addictions and gave me a burning desire to serve others.

Once I came to know God, I decided to continue rehab exploring different ministries of the local church, including children’s ministry. Three years after repenting I sensed God’s call to open a rehab center in the town of Hostomel. Later I became a pastor of the church established there. Today, we have around 50 people in our church.

What is your current rehabilitation ministry about?

Right now there are seven Christian rehabilitation centers in the Kyiv metro area. The first rehabilitation center started in September of 2012 when my future pastor received a vision from God to go to Kyiv and establish a rehab center there. Later the center gave birth to a church, attended by rehab patients plus a few others from outside. A month or so after the church was planted I arrived for rehabilitation.

In 2014, the second center was established in Rubizhivka. The beginning of 2016 saw the start of three more rehab centers in different areas around Kyiv – one of them in the town of Hostomel. The seventh center has just opened. This is an adaptation center for those who have been through rehabilitation.

Currently, there are 60 people going through rehabilitation. Now we are in the process of constructing a rehabilitation complex for 100 people in the town of Rubizhivka consisting of two separate parts – one for men and one for women.

What is your team?

Our team is made of former rehab patients, like me. These are people whose lives of various addictions have been transformed by a living faith in Jesus Christ. Having witnessed God’s transforming power, we are committed to sharing it with others who desperately need it.

What is the role of the seminary in your life and ministry?

Being a second-year student of theology and a minister at the same time, theological education is more than just study, it has practical application in my ministry. It is so important to be able to lay a proper foundation for spiritual growth in the lives of those who have just been set free from their addictions. That is why on Mondays we have Bible School classes conducted by my old friend Kyrylo Proshko, an assistant of the UETS Theology Department. I am thankful to Radyslav Tatsiun, head of the resident program, who regularly visits us too.

What are your current prayer needs?

The prayer needs we have today relate to the need for additional rehabilitation workers and financial support for expanding existing centers and opening new ones. With the war going on in Eastern Ukraine for the last four years the need for such centers is tremendous. Post-traumatic stress disorders, depression, addictions – these are present-day realities for Ukraine. Actually, it is not a problem to find suitable locations for rehab centers. The problem is finding people who are willing to take on the responsibility of ministry and the finances needed to cover its expenses.