By Dima Salyuk, Kiev UBF
I Was Moved That They Hugged Me And Called Me "BROTHER DIMA"
"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Mt 6:10)
1. Losing the meaning of life
My name is Dima Salyuk. I was born in Vinnitsa, Ukraine in 1984. Currently I am in my third year of studying Physics at Kiev National University, which is named after Taras Shevchenko. I was the youngest son in my family so I received a lot of love and care from my parents. I grew up as a selfish person, taking the best for myself, and whenever I was not given something, I would cry in hysteria. But still we were a good family and I especially liked the moments when my brother and I were sent for a whole summer to the village where my grandpa lived. There we would help him with household chores, run about in the forest and fields, play war games, hold campfires and catch fish. The power of death entered my life from childhood. When my grandpa died I sat next to his dead body all day long. I prayed that he may come back to life, but he was really dead. Then the power of death overcame me. I understood that one day I too would die and so I lost the meaning of life and began to seek for pleasures. I became a slave of flesh desires. I could not look at girls without temptation. When my parents went to the village, I would watch pornographic films at night. If they stayed at home, I would wait until everybody fell asleep and went to the TV-room to sin. After that I would pray before God and promise to start a new life the next day. But the next day I did the same thing. I hated myself but could not do anything about my habit. I could not see any meaning for my life. With such a life surely I could not get to heaven. Once I asked my mom about the meaning of our lives. She answered, "We live to leave behind us our successors." This answer did not satisfy me. Does it really matter who will live after me if I will not be there to rejoice about the fruit that I have? Without God it was meaningless to live.
2. The word of God healed my soul
My brother entered Kiev University. I also dreamed to go to Kiev to have freedom from my parents' control. My brother also started to go to church, which frightened my parents. They told me not to follow his ways. In the autumn of 2001 I visited my brother so that he would show me around Kiev. But instead of doing that he brought me to church. I was a little afraid, but I still came. One shepherd hugged me and sisters called me "Brother Dima". I was moved by this. After Sunday worship service I began to think about God and read the New Testament. Later, at the spring conference I heard the testimonies of brothers. I was shocked at how they fearlessly confessed their sins. They had similar problems like me but God changed them wonderfully. I saw myself as a sinner and realized the boundless love of Jesus. "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." I was still afraid to repent of my sins; I thought people would condemn me. But the word of God started to work in me. After that there were two more conferences. Through the message "What is your name?" I accepted Jesus' love toward one demon-possessed sinner. I repented my lust of the flesh, after which I found the great joy of forgiveness. Then a great stone fell off my heart. I could feel that the Lord accepted me into his family.
3. Your will be done
After learning Jesus' love, I wanted to share it with others so I started to invite my friends to church. I would rush to everyone to ask if he believed in Jesus. I also liked the word "shepherd" even though I didn't know what it meant yet. In reality, in order to feed sheep I had to sacrifice my time. I also had to go to the dormitories and look at sour and displeasing faces; but I must have a joyful face even when I didn't have joy. Sometimes I forgot my first meeting with Jesus. And Bible study became a cross to me. Thank Jesus that he fed me at this time. Through Bible study I saw God's personal love for me. He accepted me as I am. Also I saw that sheep needed not only a friend, but a shepherd and a father. I also needed not only a friend to talk nonsense with, but a shepherd who could help me to see vision and to pray with a sincere heart. I prayed to be a shepherd like this to Brother Lonia. I pray also to help sheep enter deeply into the spiritual world and deeply know Jesus. This summer was a time of struggling with temptations for me. I looked too much at one sister. I had shame to confess my sins because I wanted to be respected in the church and I thought of myself as an elder in the church. Especially, it was hard for me to rebuke sheep regarding lust. I felt myself like a liar and a hypocrite. I thank Jesus that he had mercy on me. Jesus had pity on me and by his blood washed me. He did not punish me, but saved me. Jesus accepted me so that I would not live in sin, but in God's purity. God rebuked me through one shepherd. I had to pray and understood that God knew all things. I struggled and decided sincerely to recognize my sins. I decided to dedicate my heart to Jesus through Mark 14:3, "While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head." To overcome lust I decided to look at sisters with a father's heart. I want to have in my heart God's desire, "your kingdom come," and with all my heart reach the kingdom of God and his righteousness. If there is God's desire in my heart, then I can look at sisters as daughters and can sacrifice my life and be a good shepherd for many sheep. I can clearly testify to Jesus to my department without fear that somebody will look down at me. For this I decided to pray everyday for my department after my lessons with the Bible in hand, "Our Father, may your kingdom come to my department."
Lord, let your kingdom come and your will be done. Father, help me to fulfill your desires so that your will becomes my will, and that I may live for your glory like a jar ready to be used.