Kazakhstan Ministry Training
My name is Veronika and I am receiving Kazakhstan ministry training at Christian Leaders Institute. I am from Astana, Kazakhstan. The main two religions here are Islam and Russian Orthodox Christianity. We also have Catholic, Judaism, and other minor religions. By law, it is forbidden to preach in public places, only in registered religious organizations. Overall, it is not very strict, but you have to be very careful where and how you talk about God.
I have always believed in God. For me, God was one and did not matter how I called him (Jesus, Allah, Buddha). As a child, I would always pray and talk to Him. Once I became older, I started thinking that religions are just various paths that lead to God. I had this idea that Russian people believe in Jesus, we believe in our ancestors who are now with God, Arab people believe in Allah, so as far as you are a good person and following one of these paths, you are good. So, I would go to a church, to a mosque, to visit my ancestors’ cemetery and I did not feel guilty that I was going to church and not to a mosque. It was more about what was more convenient that day. I had never read the Bible nor the Qoran.
When I was 28, I was lost and confused about life and everything that was going on in my life. My sister was having major problems with her family. We grew up close to each other and I consider my sister as my second mom and her husband is like my real brother, father, and friend. They were going through some tough times. Since their problems were not my problems (as my psychiatrist said), I should live a happy life. I tried moving to another city just to leave all my problems in my hometown. I was in financial debt and was in a depression. So when my sister’s family was discussing their divorce (and to me, they were my role model family and my ideal couple), I stopped believing in marriage.
Finally, I saw no point in living on this planet. I did not think of committing suicide. I just lived one day at a time with no hope nor any happiness. In my mind though, I was having so many questions about God, about people, about life, and why I am here. One day, I met my friend’s friend and she invited me to get coffee. That day we talked about God and most of my questions were answered. She is a Christian. After that, I started going to her small group meetings. One day, I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord. My life became so different once I felt that Jesus loved me.
I have not thought about my ministry dream until now in my Kazakhstan ministry training. I am still trying to identify my talents and how I can use them to serve. In general, I would love to connect different people around the world particularly Christians and unite them. I think that if the churches from all over the world were united and could see that we are one body of Jesus, we would make our God’s church stronger. In this matter, we need to communicate with each other. We could work together to reach others and show that no matter where you are and what nationality you are, the Christian family is big, strong, united, loving, caring, and one.
This first class in my Kazakhstan ministry training with Christian Leaders Institute has helped me to reevaluate my priorities, rethink my values, and made me start searching for my talents. I identify most with a small group leader because I am an introvert and I feel safe and comfortable at home. I like having causal atmosphere conversations at home with just a few people. I believe in small groups and I know how powerful they can be in serving the Lord. I think I am a hospitable person and would be a good small group leader.
I am not involved in any ministry right now. However, the Lord has been so gracious to me that I want other people to experience what I am experiencing. I see so many people are living busy lives and inside their souls are empty with no joy. They are stressed, anxious and having many problems. I want to help those people and show them that they can live much happier lives with Jesus. Surely, I still do have problems and concerns, but with Jesus, I have that peace that the world does not give and I feel safe. I try to solve my problems, but I am living in joy and peace.
For me personally, there is a big challenge to stay here during the winter. Winter lasts for 6 months, I hate cold weather and my prayer starts with asking God to give me courage and strength to stay happy and not get into a bad mood because of cold. I always try to leave my city during the winter. I am still praying if God will relocate me to another city where it is warm.
My local church will surely support me in my ministry, I have to decide it first. In my family, I am the only Christian in my entire family. So far, some of them are supportive (they just say “Do what makes you happy”), and some of them are totally against it.
This scholarship at CLI in my Kazakhstan ministry training will give me the opportunity to study the Bible more and to get to know Lord better. It will give me a documentation about my education in case I will need it in future, and it will help me to identify my talents which I will use to serve the Lord.
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