Interview with Andriy Petruchenko, a student in the master’s Urban Mission program.
Could you share a little bit about yourself?
Originally, I am from Crimea. My wife and I came to Kyiv in 2012 from Sevastopol to open a rehabilitation center for alcohol and drug addicts, people who are in difficult circumstances, former inmates, etc. Today, I am a senior pastor of Rock of Salvation Church and director of the charity fund of the same name.
What is your current rehabilitation ministry about?
As of today, we have already opened eight rehabilitation centers – so called mercy houses – in the Kyiv metro area. The first rehabilitation center started in September of 2012 when I 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.
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 is an adaptation center for those who have been through rehabilitation. The eighth center has just opened.
Currently, there are more than 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.
Recently we started another church for former and current rehab patients in the town of Hostomel, which is not far from Kyiv. Also, we serve socially vulnerable people in prisons, hospices, clinics. We don’t want to stop here. We understand how important it is to keep on opening such centers and churches in Ukraine.
What is your team?
Our team is made of former rehab patients. 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?
Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary has been very helpful in our ministry. I am a student there in Urban Mission master’s program. It is really great to realize that your potential is growing. The seminary is a well of knowledge I need to develop the vision and calling from the Lord.
Three our ministers are also UETS students. One of them is a pastor. It is a great privilege for us to cooperate with the seminary because we aim at raising competence of our ministers in order to become more effective in work with socially vulnerable people both in Ukraine and beyond. I am sure more of our ministers will study here so that the Church could grow – this our vision – “to remote corners of the earth.”
Theological education is more than just study; it has practical application in our 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 five 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.