Maria’s Story: SWW Russia

“I grew up in an ordinary village family, and as a child I felt alone, like no one understood me or looked out for me. I wanted someone to understand and accept me and never leave me. I got married, expecting my husband to be this person for me, but he couldn’t give me what I longed for. When we realized that we wouldn’t get what we wanted out of the marriage, we started destroying our relationship with alcohol and abuse. I felt like I was dying and I had to leave my husband. After our divorce I felt completely alone. I felt that I had no reason to live and started contemplating suicide.

“It was then that a young woman was hired in my workplace who had been through a Christian rehabilitation program. We became friends, and I opened up to her about everything and felt much better. She was always full of love and encouragement, and after a month of getting to know each other at work she invited me to a Bible study. There I met other women who told me about Jesus and how He changed their lives. I felt more at peace and loved there than I ever had in my life, and I made the decision to follow Jesus, opening my heart to Him. He took my broken, wounded, and crushed heart and soul and made them whole again.

“Since then I have started studying in School Without Walls (SWW) and have gotten involved in ministry. I lead a home Bible group and I teach an Alpha Course to introduce people to Christianity. My life has been transformed, and my relationship to myself and people around me has changed completely. God is working in me and leading me. SWW helps me change and grow and prepare me to grow my ministry and bring the message of God’s love to the world around me. SWW helps ministry leaders grow in their missions activities, destroying unhealthy ideas about relationships between Christians and towards the world. The practical ministry component of SWW helps us develop our communications skills, responsibility, and creativity. There are lots of people in churches ready to help out and to serve, yet there is a lack of leaders to provide guidance and direction. SWW is the perfect program to prepare and train those kinds of leaders, and my hope is to continue to develop as a leader through the program.”

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