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Thank You For Bringing First Steps to Russia by Marina Proskurikova

20 October 2016 No Comment

My name is Marina, and this is my story. It is similar to many others, yet it is mine and, thus, special to me. In May of 1999, I accepted the Lord and was baptized in the church in the town of Tikhvin. It was a new beginning . . . a new life with God. I started attending church service on Sunday mornings and became involved with the worship team. Yet, my old life stubbornly clung to me. At the time, I didn’t see anything wrong with that, and, though was reading the Scriptures regularly, I struggled to understand many of the passages and my heart remained deaf and dull to many of them.

Like many new Christians, I faced numerous temptations and trials, and, eventually, met a young man and fell in love. He proposed and I said yes, and I married him although he was not a Christian. This marriage marked my departure from God that lasted 13 long years. I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster, and occasionally I would feel the impulse to plunge myself back into church. So, I would begin going to church services, attend small group meetings, and involve myself in the life of the church. Before long, I would grow lukewarm and stop attending church functions and, rather, follow my husband’s understanding, preferences, priorities, mood, and habits. In those moments, I developed an unhealthy dependence on him. My husband would not try to stop me from going to church, but he did not try to understand why it was important to me.

We had three children in those years, and I continued hoping that my husband would understand and appreciate my faith. But I misplaced my trust in a man rather than God. I tended to think of God as a kind of wizard who must fulfill my desires. After all, I thought, I’m loyal, kind, etc.

What happened next was a complete surprise. My husband filed for divorce. He fell in love with another woman. I felt abandoned and lonely. If not for our children and my church mentors, it may have been the end of my life. I no longer wanted to live. Instead, I wanted to get drunk and escape. But, thank God, I came to understand that only God could help, and I realized that it is God who loves always, never turns away, never lets us down! I had to make a choice: Either I am on God’s side or on the side of sin. There was no other option.

At that time, I joined the Grace Church in Pushkin, and one of the leaders offered to take me through a one-on-one discipleship process called First Steps. I knew I needed help, so I agreed. Before that, my mind was a hodge-podge of random Christian and non-Christian concepts and ideas. As I began going through First Steps, things became ordered and clear. First Steps helped me to read the Bible and pray consistently. God is real to me and He speaks to me about the questions I am concerned about. It is a real miracle. I cannot believe I did not see this before. All of the answers were coming to me from this one book: The bible.

Two years have passed since my divorce. At times, it is not easy, but God is helping me through my pain, un-forgiveness, doubts, and discouragements. I understand that the more I am in love with Jesus, the less attractive sin is.

The Lord has been providing and meeting my needs. He has been sending his special people into my life. He has opened the doors of opportunity and He continually encourages, strengthens, and comforts me. I am so grateful for the one-on-one
discipleship program (First Steps) and for those who have invested in me by walking me through this foundational process. Thank you to all who brought First Steps to Russia. P.S. From Editor: Because First Steps is based in the US, you can find out more about the program by visiting www.disciplinganother.com or call 866.630.4049.

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