Arkasha’s Story

2016

My spiritual life began in 2001 when I was baptized in Omsk Church of Christ. Before I became a Christian there were many different events influencing my views, values, and goals in life. From the very childhood, I went in for sports as a soccer goalkeeper. I also coached younger kids sharing my experience. My goal in life at that time was a sport career and I was successfully advancing towards it.

I had to quit sports and coaching because of serious injuries. That changed my whole life. I lost the purpose of my life. It led me to be involved in unlawful activities and committing crimes. Power and money became my obsession. The money I earned this way was not doing me any good. My life became filled with lechery, alcohol, and drugs. Egoism ruled my life. It was devastating. I had no real friends; there was nobody I could rely on. I had no love for other people; there was only love for myself. Nothing made me happy and there was no purpose in my life. I did not know how to start living differently. I was at a deadlock. This way of life led me to prison. It was there when I talked to God for the first time in my life. I did not know how to pray and I just asked God to change my life. And I promised not to go back.

Now I understand God has answered my prayer. I was put on probation and released. I did not know how to start a new life and would find comfort in alcohol. But the desire to make my life better was still there. Once a friend who used to be my partner in drugs, drinking, and unlawful activities came to visit me. He became a believer in Christ and was baptized. He told me about Christ and how God is able to help me also start a new life totally different from the one I had before. I remembered what I asked God in prison about. It was clear my only way was to come to Christ and accept Him as my Lord and Savior. And I was baptized October 7, 2001.

I wanted to live differently very much. It was not very easy to change one’s thinking, attitudes, and life itself. It was difficult to get rid of the habits and beliefs I already had at that moment. In the beginning of my Christian life I tried to live two lives at the same time – live the life Christ offers and keep my old way of life. It didn’t work. I would fall down and start drinking. This situation lasted for three years. The situation was made worse by the fact that I have never worked honestly in my life. All the money I earned was earned unlawfully. I had to start learning how to earn money in an honest way.

 

God helped me change. He made me a totally different person. I see the contrast between my past and my life in Christ now. I understood the need to make the right choices in life. I have found the purpose of my life. My values and priorities have changed and now they are based on God’s values. I praise God for the fifteen years I had with Him since my baptism. He gave me the opportunity to receive Biblical education (Barnaul Affiliate of Sunset Preaching School, 2004-2008), to serve in His church in Barnaul from 2005 to 2015 preaching, teaching group and individual Bible studies, working with deaf, orphanage kids, teenagers, working with addicts, participating in “Footprints in the Sand Christian Camp” in 2009-20012 and leading Celebrate Recovery. In 2006 God also blessed me with a wonderful wife Natasha who is great support for me both in my personal life and in the ministry. In 2015 God led us to serve in Omsk Church of Christ. Here they know me very well – who I was in the beginning of my Christian life and who I am in Christ now. Before our move God have already given me an opportunity to serve in Omsk church. For several years I went to Omsk to teach Bible classes and sermons four times a year for three weeks at a time. Now my wife and I serve in the church here in Omsk full time. I preach, teach Bible studies during the week (there are two studies in different parts of the city), meet with people and have individual Bible studies.

 

Arkasha Lezhnin