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Oleg and Nataliya Malinovsky, Kyiv

malinovskie3 The ways of the Lord are inscrutable! Many interesting and sometimes mysterious things happen in our lives from time to time. For many of us, these happenings are not clear until the end, and even some others are never clear.

God's ways are not our ways according to Isaiah 55:8-9 and the mercy and love of our Creator, often exceeds our expectations. Whatever the circumstances, God is still knocking on the doors of our hearts and keeps us with His strong invisible hand, even if we do not look in His direction.

This is the love of the Heavenly Father to his children. In 2004, I finally had enough of the life I was living. I had been heavily into drugs for six years, it had cost me my wife and daughter and I knew I needed to quit. There was not a vein on my body that I had not used for drugs and I had bleeding sores all over. I knew I had a choice to make: life or death, and I choose life! I packed up and moved from the city to the country where my parents lived. Little did I know that it was the first step towards a relationship with my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. I can look back now and see the Hand of God leading and guiding me. I spent about three months sober and began to have thoughts about eternity and about God.

I began reading the Bible, but I wasn't getting the peace I thought I would get from it. Instead I was having malinovskiecopy nightmares and felt restless in my spirit. I fell into a deep depression. During this time God used a friend of mine, named Kostya, to minister to me. He was a former drug addict and one that sadly I shared many a syringe with. When I looked into his eyes, he had a new, happiness and peace about him. Something I hadn't seen in him before.

I couldn't wrap my brain around it. It intrigued me and I asked him why he was so happy. He told me that he had found Jesus Christ and received Him as his Lord and Saviour! I was so excited for him and I wanted what he had! I decided to attend church with him and after two meetings, I realized that I needed to be saved and I received Christ as my Saviour! I finally had peace in my heart for the first time in my life! Sadly, this didn't last long and soon my love for God began to fade. Instead, I began to be obsessed with “Christian success” that many evangelical churches in Kiev promoted. Unfortunately, the idea of making God preeminent in one's life took a backseat to the “American dream” of getting married, having a family, getting a good job and making a great deal of money. I got caught up in this like so many others.

It wasn't that I completely put God aside and didn't love Him anymore, but I didn't make Him a priority anymore. I soon got married and found employment. My relationship with God slowly began to fade and our fellowship was not as sweet as it once was. Deep down I was hoping that God would be in agreement with me while I made these decisions, but in my heart I knew He wasn't. On the outside my life seemed wonderful, but inside I knew the truth. I had left my first love. Soon I would discover that there really are consequences for every action we make. I had Hepatitis C from my years of drug abuse. Sins always have consequences, and sometimes not for many years after.

malinovskie2 I went to the hospital and started the treatments. Many things happened while I was there, including: a mistake about my blood being poisoned (thank God it wasn't!), an uncontrollable fever and my condition began to worsen. My body was not handling the treatments well, it had done irreversible damage to my joints and we had to discontinue them before they were finished. Perhaps this was my first, wake-up call from the Lord, but like so many of us, I totally missed it. I was too busy worrying about the future, my head spinning with questions I had no answer to. I didn't know what I was going to do! My hips had been destroyed and I could no longer walk. In June of 2009 I was bedridden. Wake-up call number two. The next 1.5 years of my life were spent bouncing around from hospital to hospital. It felt like a nightmare I couldn't wake up from. Thank God for my sweet wife that practically lived in the hospital with me. She kept my spirits up and took such great care of me. She would be with me before work and after work each day. Only the Lord could have given her the strength and stamina to be there for me so much! I praise Him for that!

While I was in the hospital I had friends come and visit me several times, and I had many others praying for me. God used them and their kindness to soften my heart a little more for God. It had become hardened over the years. I began to come back into good fellowship with the Lord and some joy and peace returned to me.

Praise the Lord, my health began to improve, and for the first 4 years I was able to sit in a wheelchair! During this time God had prepared a surprise for me and just a few short months ago I couldn't even imagine taking a trip down the street in my chair. A good friend of mine, knowing that I already had a wheelchair began to invite me to a Christian camp. I had a great desire to go, but after several years of illness, I wasn't sure I could go. I started to wonder what the camp was like and if I would enjoy it. What would the people be like? But, thank God for my friends, that had the right words of support and encouragement that I needed to hear!

Thank the Lord for the faith I needed to be free from my fears too! All of my fears vanished away when my wife and I arrived at the camp. It was in the village Trushky, Bilotserkivsky in the district of Kyiv. The sweet spirit of the people and the atmosphere when I arrived there was indescribable! I felt like I belonged there! I think this camp has a very special blessing from God. The people there was so kind and welcoming, they truly had a heart for serving the Lord!

It was a very interesting Bible study on the topic of prayer in our lives and I discovered many new things. I enjoyed it because it was in a fun and friendly environment! Bible lessons and contests were followed by skits, songs, and then sweet fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ sometimes until midnight! The children with disabilities are literally came to life in his eyes! I had never seen so many joyful people with disabilities, especially the children! It was a miracle of God!

Another of the blessings from God were the new friends He gave me. Many of them I'll keep in close contact with for many years to come. Some of them I'll correspond with on the Internet to study the word of God and pray together. I believe that this trip to camp was a turning point in our lives. After many difficult years feeling sorry for myself, I breathed a breath of fresh air and a new breath of life. I realized that there is something better than just submit to their situation. Now I'm not afraid to make plans for the future, and to make important decisions. I have many plans for my life that I want to make! For with God nothing is impossible!

I would like to encourage everyone reading this to not be afraid to take difficult decisions to the Lord and ask Him to lead and guide you. I firmly believe that there is One who can help resolve any issues in our lives and fill our hearts with faith and joy! His Name is Jesus Christ!

Thanks also to guide IPOD "I am with you," to all of those who prayerfully and financially support this ministry, and a great team of volunteer ministers who gave my wife and I a piece of God's love! I hope that I will see you all next year!

Oleg and Nataliya Malinovsky, Kyiv






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