Interview with Anastasia Akimova, 1-st year student in the Transformative Leadership master’s degree program.
Could you share a little bit about how you came to know God?
I was born into a Christian home. My parents, who were missionaries in Russia at that time, raised me in a missionary environment. Later we all moved to Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, but awareness of my calling as a missionary never left me. When I turned 12, I decided to get baptized. I remember being driven by the desire to eventually go to heaven. Actually, I was allowed to get baptized just two years later at the age of 14. To tell the truth, there was time was a time in my life when I strayed from my faith in Jesus. However, when I was 18, I got seriously sick and doctors insisted on surgery. Got God was faithful and healed me. After that I made the ultimate decision to serve Him for life. So, at that time I truly repented and got actively involved into ministry...є
What kind of ministry were you involved in?
Initially, I was actively involved in youth ministry. I even became a youth leader at my home church in Donetsk. When I realized my urgent need for knowledge and leadership skills, I decided to go to Kyiv Bible Institute. The education I got there turned out to be quite helpful. Also, being a student of music (I play the violin), I took part in worship ministry.
What kind of impact did the war in Eastern Ukraine have on your life?
Actually, the war, which broke in 2014, split our church in half, as one part of the congregation was pro-Russian, and the other part was pro-Ukrainian. Unfortunately, disunity that surfaced as a result of the turmoil were no good and led to tension and political arguments. Later, when the paramilitaries, who fought government forces, came and sealed the church premises. Those who remained started gathering at homes.
Long before the war started my parents had planned to go to India as missionaries. So they left… but I decided to go to Odessa in southern Ukraine, for a week or so with nothing but a small bag in my hand, hoping that I would be able to return to Donetsk. However, I never went back.
How did you end up in India?
I went to India for the first time in the summer of 2016 for a short two-month mission trip. I just wanted to help my parents, younger brother and sister who, having a vision from the Lord, had gone there before.
Our family’s ministry is located in the city called Dehradun or Dehra Dun, which is the interim capital city of Uttarakhand, a state in the northern part of India. When I arrived, I immediately fell in love with the indigenous people. I don’t remember having any cultural shock at all.
While in India, we don’t want to waste our time. There are different goals we pursue, the most important being to make Christ known, serve people’ needs, and raise local leaders.
Today, we have already formed 14 home groups. Since Indians are polytheists, Christianity is not very welcome. First and foremost, we teach that there is just one God. Then my parents preach the Gospel, and we help them in numerous ways. My sister and I, for example, give guitar lessons to children and adults. Since it makes us culturally equal, we, as usual, are all seated. Apart from holding Bible study meetings, we serve teenagers, the most of whom are orphans, at a hostel. We are so happy that God is working in the hearts of His future ministers in India!