Friday, July 30, 2010

In his own words

We met 18-year-old Pasha on the first night of our recent camp in a rural southern Ukrainian village. He caught the attention of our staff immediately when the first question out of his mouth was, “are you going to be teaching us about the Bible this week?" Upon hearing, 'yes' his response was-- 'well then this week is for me!'

This wasn't the typical response for an 18-year-old boy who has grown up in an orphanage. So I knew I wanted to learn more about this boy... I wanted to find out why he seemed different.

Every day he would come to my English lesson (one of the elective choices) and try soooo hard to commit something to memory! He wanted to learn English desperately- but it just wouldn't click. And when I say wouldn't I really mean it! I spent about 5 days in a row working on 3 phrases that he could not remember for the life of him. But yet he kept on coming back...he kept on trying.

I don't know if you've seen the movie 'Kung Fu Panda' (if not I recommend it!) But we watched it at this camp so it was fresh on my mind at the time- and I couldn't help but relate the story to Pasha. I kept calling Pasha my little Kung Fu Panda. He wanted to do something so desperately that he just didn't seem apt to learn-- I even doubted he could learn! He seemed just like the Panda who wanted to be a Kung Fu fighter- but to all visible appearances it just didn't seem quite possible. I think God reminded me of the Panda so that I wouldn't give up on Pasha- so that I would believe that he could learn! And when I learned his story I found out what he was up against.

While at camp Pasha took the time to write down his testimony of how he came to know Jesus and I wanted to share it with you here (after translation of course). Reading his testimony showed me that he has an amazing ability to organize his thoughts - even with the little education he has received. He can learn- he just needs to be instructed in the right way! I could tell you all about him, and what I learned- but I figured it would be better to hear it straight from him...from his heart. So take a few moments to see how Pasha came to know Jesus...and you will see how God is at work speaking today!

My name is Pasha Kaplinkov. I am 18 years old. I want to share my life story with you.

When I was 11 years old I was smoking, drinking and every evening going out with my friends. We would wonder around and make fun of people by keeping them awake at night.

I have two other brothers and a sister in my family. Our mother was drinking a lot while we would get into fights with other boys. After one of such fights I was kicked out of my school. While staying at home I would get into arguments with my Mom because of her drinking and often ran away to stay with my friends- being gone from home for long periods of time. I wondered around and thought: why do I have such parents who don’t care for me and don’t teach me?

I liked causing problems to people so they'd become angry and would complain to my Mom that her son breaks windows and scares people. At that time my brother Andrey and I were going to the Bible lessons. Andrey was given a Bible and was reading it and God blessed him. I couldn’t read. I knew that He existed, but I didn’t know where He was. I was looking for Him and asked people. They said that He’s in the sky. I looked up to the sky and asked: “God, I’m looking for you, find me please!” I cried and went home. I was looking for Him all day long yet didn’t find Him.

One day a lady came and said, that we must to get ready for school (the orphanage). I stayed there until 4th grade but often would run from there back to home home. I didn’t want to study and constantly was fighting with other boys. They said that I needed to be transferred to another orphanage. That is when they brought me to Kalinenska.

When I arrived to this orphanage I liked it. I learned that Christians come visit the school once in a while. When I started to understand things about God I learned that there is Jesus and that He died for my sins. I started to pray. One time I heard a song and started to cry and said to Jesus: “Jesus, if You hear me forgive me my sins”. By the time I was 16 I knew it all: that Jesus died and saved me, and I was feeling great. But I was still sinning and couldn’t step away from it. I suffered as I didn’t want to sin. When I turned 17 I understood that I have to accept Jesus as my Savior sincerely. I prayed to Jesus and said: ”My dear Jesus, change my heart. I want to be God’s man and be wise”. And God changed me: I started to become wise and strong. I confessed my sins before God and accepted Him as my Savior.

Yet when we went to a camp at the sea I forgot about God. But He loved me and was jealous for me. He gave me His love and blessed me, and I acted like that towards Him: I started to swear and I would get into fights again.

Once I went to my room and fell asleep. I saw a dream: a big hand opened the doors, and a voice said: “Look at them, I don’t want you to become like them.” And I saw people fighting and being engaged in sexual activities, and I heard people crying and suffering in hell. Then He said: “Pasha, if you will not repent then after school you will die on the road somewhere and nobody will know why you died.” He said: “If you do my will I will bless you.” Then he said 3 times: “Repent”. I woke up and He said: “Think about the things I told you”. I confessed my sins and decided to follow God because it was Him speaking to me. He loves me. I made mistakes yet I started to correct them and overcome evil.

Right now I am 18 years old and I am finishing my 9th year in school. I will go to Kherson to continue my study after graduation. God loves me and this love is very strong. Before I was evil, I was smoking, drinking, fighting, lying, disobeyed my Mom. But when I accepted Jesus into my heart He changed my life. If you’re a sinner – come to Jesus and he will change your life too.

His words...I'm just posting them here-- praying they bring you encouragement. God is at work in Ukraine and he is changing lives...I know because I see it evidenced in the life of my Kung Fu Panda- Pasha.


Evie's Story said...

BEEEEAUTIFUL post Karen. Goosebumps! May the seeds you have sewn into his life this summer continue to bear much fruit and make him a leader and light in that nation! Such a precious testimony!

Love and miss you friend. Sorry I missed our window to talk. Want to catch up with you before you leave for England!

Debra Reymundo Atchison said...

Incredible story! Thanks for sharing it. It reminds me of why I've fallen in love with the orphans of Ukraine and keep wanting to bring them home. God is definitely alive and working in the hearts of orphans in Ukraine. Thanks for sharing your Kung Fu Panda!

Anonymous said...


It was so awesome to hear how God has a hold on Pasha's life. God is so faithful to care for His sheep (or pandas). God is using you in such a special way to invest in the life of Ukrainian orphans. Thanks for keeping us up to date on the precious lives you encounter on your journeys.

Donna said...

You are just a special, inspiring person amd your posts are amazing!! I think you could add up all your posts into a book one day. Keep fighting the good fight...I look forward to reading more!