I currently live in the Cayman Islands with my wonderful wife. The Cayman Islands is an extremely religious country. By far, the most dominant faith is Christianity. Caymanians generally follow more traditional religious practices such as Sunday worship service, weekly Bible studies and regular church gatherings. Ministry in the Cayman Islands is dominated by formally ordained pastors, but (bi-vocational) leaders with less formal training and experience can also minister by leading youth groups, Bible studies or through community volunteering. One opportunity for Ministry that is special for the Cayman Islands due to its geographic location is missionary work. Churches in the Cayman Islands organize regular missionary trips to other countries encouraging everyone to join in.
I came to know God at a very young age through the influence of my family. I come from a Ukrainian Catholic Family and as a child we attended Church every Sunday. The Ukrainian Catholic Liturgy is very structured and as a child I would recite and memorize the key points of the liturgy every Sunday. Although I did not fully understand everything I was reading or reciting I definitely felt a sense of comfort being a part of the Church family and the sense of community that came along with it. I would not say I had a personal relationship with God as a child, but I did have a close relationship with Him through regular worship with my family.
As a grew into adolescence and then adulthood I moved away from regular Church attendance, prioritizing school, work and social events in its place. I grew into a completely career driven individual, motivated by money, titles and stature. Working for an extremely large organization I travelled to and lived in different parts of the world and enjoyed financial success. However, I was always looking for more and never felt fulfilled. I thought the answer was to keep working longer and harder in the pursuit of career and financial success.
My lifestyle took a toll on my relationships with friends and family. I spent very little time helping or serving anyone other than myself and I was too self-focused to even consider the possibility that this might not be the best way to live. Through it all, there was always a dark cloud hanging over me. I could never enjoy my accomplishments because they never fulfilled me and so I was always looking for the next achievement, hoping to find self-satisfaction.
My lifestyle eventually started to affect my health in a serious way. I immediately realized that I was permanently damaging body and that my lifestyle was not only not fulfilling me, but it was also destroying me.
I panicked. I was not sure where to turn. So, I picked up a Bible for the first time in years and started reading about Jesus’ teachings and his promises to His believers. I was reassured and immediately found comfort in his teachings. For the first time in my life the possibility that I may not be living in the best way I could entered my reality. I spent the next year reading parts of the Bible, various Bible commentaries and attending Bible studies trying to fit Jesus into my otherwise busy life. I still wasn’t making much progress in my quest for a fulfilled life and was more confused than ever regarding the direction my life should take.
One day at a used book sale I picked up “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. This book documented the historical accuracy and validity of the New Testament, Jesus’s life and Resurrection. By the end of the book I finally understood that the New Testament was more than a general guide for living, but in fact this was the written word of God. I immediately felt excited to live by the words of the New Testament, which suddenly became as real to me as anything else in my life, and the pursuit of a personal relationship with God.
My hope is to continue my ministry training and study of the Bible to strengthen my knowledge in both areas and thus continue to strengthen my faith. I hope to use this knowledge and training to start a Bible study/discussion group to help others strengthen their faith and come to know God in much the same as I did. My ultimate dream would be grow this group into a regular gathering and possibly a micro church.
The words I identify with most would be Bi-vocational leader, small group leader and Church planter.
My local church has supported my ministry calling primarily through regular Bible studies and high quality sermons rooted in God’s word.
I also must acknowledge my wife. Her faith in Jesus has been strong long before I have ever met her. She shares my desire to know Jesus and share that knowledge with others and so we work together towards these goals. Our family has definitely become more unified as we endeavor to spread the word of God and serve others.
A scholarship at CLI is so important to my ministry dream because my call to pursue ministry has been and continues to be rooted in a fundamental understanding of the Holy Bible and its history. I believe that my Ministry calling will flourish with a strong foundation in the Word of God. It is where I rediscovered my faith and where I continue to strengthen my faith.
I am excited to continue my study of the Bible and how to minister to others through CLI’s high quality educational system.
Finally, I have read a great deal about spiritual warfare through the introductory course at CLI. Specifically, competing priorities and opportunities that can pull even the most well intended ministry leader away from their walk with Jesus. Please pray for me to stay focused on the God’s will and not my own, so that I can achieve my Ministry dream confidently, thankfully pursuing Godly aspirations over earthly aspirations.