Dear Pastor Sunday, dear father!
I, Yaroslav Shumovskii, the son of Pastor Yelena Shevchenko, am writing to you, because I want you to know about the influence you’ve had on my life. I came to the Embassy of God Church four and a half years ago. Even though I had received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour one and a half years prior to that, my mind was still filled with depravity and lust towards all girls and women; my mind was rotten as a result of watching pornography. However, when I studied your teaching about temptations and lust, I received total freedom. I am sexually free and my mentality about girls has changed 100%. When I remember how ‘damaged’ in the head I was and compare it to the renewed mind I have today, I can only shout to Jesus of how happy I am to serve Him even for this gift alone. And this gift came through you, Pastor. I am so happy. My inner man has changed so much that I started to serve girls, who are involved in sex as a business. And my dream is to develop a program for them, which healthily reintegrates them into society, where they can have jobs of integrity.
There is another change as well. After high school I entered Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. I finished school with a golden medal and took part in academic competitions, because God gave me many talents and at this level studies were a piece of cake to me. I did not pay any price of working hard. In the university I could no longer profit by my talents alone, so I became a poor student. After every failed exam I would promise myself that I would spend two hours a day studying. I would always fail to do that. I failed many exams, had many unfinished papers, and hence stress. At the end of every term, I would have only one week to get myself ready for an exam. I never did. I always dragged it for days, and then would make a decision to study for 3 days with no breaks. However, I always ended up getting distracted. Even on the last day before the exam I would read superficially. I thought, “I will study the whole night”. When the night would come, I would go to bed. Then I’d plan to read my notes in the morning. I always ended up sleeping until the minute I had to leave home for the exam. As a result, I always went to take my exams unprepared, hoping for “grace”…
Once I heard your sermon “Life is a battle, and everything started to change. I attended an HMT with you, finished my university, and took responsibility for my life. I became a member of your home group, started doing social prevention activities for youth and teenagers. I registered an NGO for youth “Generation of reformers Movement”, of which I am the president, and the supervisor of a number of projects, particularly of the School of Reformers. I applied and was accepted to get my MA in social work at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. I was a speaker at a contest of public speaking in the English language among the masters of the Academy with the topic of proving that God created the Earth and people. I started to work for myself and provide others with employment. I succeeded in managing my life and in becoming disciplined so well that I became a role-model in my local church. I became an assistant to my pastor. They trust me to speak from the stage. I have had hands laid on me to become an ordained minister. Everyone who did not know me before I came to the Embassy of God Church, think that I was born with these qualities, that I have always been this way. But all these victories came to me through you!
Another change in me is my self-esteem. As long as I can remember myself, I have always lacked confidence, in ‘supporting roles’. In addition to that, I was always sad; I was never filled with joy to jump and dance. I am absolutely different now. The song “You have turned my mourning into dancing, my sorrow into joy” is about me. I jump, dance, laugh. I am brave as a lion, and I am ready to stand against unlawfulness. And again people think that I was born with leadership qualities… it’s because they had not seen me before the change. This joy, the inner peace with God, strength in the spirit, confidence – all of it is as a result of your teaching and influence!
I am sincerely grateful to you as a father for shaping my personality. I am a fruit of your work, and you are deep inside me. However, most of all I am grateful to you for my mentor – Pastor Yelena Shevchenko! All the changes that I have described above along with many others which you will still get to know about, were brought forth by her. You provided the tools and she worked on me. I know you because I know her, and she knows you. When I came to the Embassy of God Church, she was responsible for ministering to persons who had come from other churches. She said to me, “Welcome to the Embassy of God family”. Since then I’ve really been in a family. She has been my cover, advisor, and a representative of God and you to me. She brings balance to me and supervises all my initiatives. You cannot even imagine how much she gives me! She gives her life, time and energy to help me build up. She takes interest not only in my spiritual growth, but in all spheres of my life: my health, hygiene, finances, my image, studies, relationships in my family, my character, and my plans for my own family. Therefore, my greatest gratitude to you is for helping her, for raising and preparing her, for making her a history maker like you.
I am completely confident in your motives and loyal to the vision and directions of the “New Embassy of God”. Pastor Yelena helped me to define my calling, which is apostolic reformation of South Eastern Asia. I want to be another pastor Sunday in that region. I have the passion and burden that compels me – to take salvation to Asians, plant churches, raise a youth movement, and bring social reformation to their countries. Therefore, as soon as we have raised a church in Ukraine and gone through the necessary stages of test and preparation we will head to South Eastern Asia.
I have found life that has a deep meaning. And you will always hear it from me that you have been the channel for this. I love you, dear Pastor! I wish that even at the times when you hear threats, slander, and rejection from somebody you would always be confident that your work has fruits – grateful Ukrainians, whose destinies have been changed to be in accordance with the plan of God.
Translated by Kate Popova
Edited by Kizito Leacock