Endless Siberian grasslands spread in all directions. Small towns dot the landscape. In one of these towns stands a small log house that has become a home of hope to many. The house, now home to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, is the dream of Angela and Evgeny (Eugene), a young couple who have dedicated their lives to helping people find God and freedom from their addictions. Angela and Evgeny know firsthand what drugs can do. They both have been addicts.
Angela began using drugs when she was 17. “Eventually drugs and alcohol sucked me in,” she says, “and I was no longer able to live a sober life. One day I saw an invitation to evangelistic meetings, so I went. I fell in love with God. I asked Him to deliver me from drugs, and He did. I joined the Adventist Church. Then God gave me a dream to help others who suffered from alcohol and drug addictions.”
Evgeny started using drugs at 14 and soon was hopelessly addicted. He went through several rehabilitation programs, but his addictions still held him in their grasp.
Evgeny met Angela, who urged him to trust God to free him from his addictions. Evgeny agreed to try one more rehab program. Angela prayed for him, and when Evgeny was released, he was determined never to take drugs again.
He attended church with Angela, and eventually Evgeny was baptized. Soon after, the couple was married.
Evgeny and Angela shared with their pastor their dream to help other addicts find freedom in Christ. The church offered them the little house it owned. With the help of church members, they repaired the run-down house, and today the rooms are filled with people who want to find freedom from drugs. More important, the couple is helping them find freedom in Christ.
Today, less than three years after the little house opened its doors to addicted residents, more than 100 people have found freedom from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. In addition, some 20 people have given their lives to Christ and have been baptized.
Alexander had been a slave to alcohol and drugs for more than 10 years. One day a friend urged him to visit the Adventist rehabilitation center. Alexander entered the rehab program and met Evgeny and Angela.
Days were filled with manual labor, Bible study, and counseling with Angela and Evgeny or with the pastor. This was Alexander’s first introduction to God and prayer. One day Alexander learned that the police had a warrant for his arrest. The group prayed that Alexander could remain at the center. When the authorities learned Alexander was in rehab, they dropped the charges, and Alexander was allowed to stay. During his stay at the center, Alexander accepted Jesus as his Savior.
Alexander was a natural leader. He completed his rehab with a desire to help others who were addicted. When the church decided to establish a rehabilitation center in another town, the leaders asked Alexander to operate the new rehab center as a Global Mission outreach.
Alexander accepted the challenge. His first job was to rehabilitate the run-down house to make it livable. Alexander’s first three residents, all addicted to drugs or alcohol, worked with him to renovate the building.
Sergei had, by his own admission, hit rock bottom. Others had refused to help him, but Alexander welcomed him to the new rehabilitation center. The men worked together to prepare the building for service. And there Sergei met God. Today he is helping Alexander operate the new center.
Yuri was usually drunk and often was arrested for getting into fights. He couldn’t keep a job and drifted from one place to another. Then an Adventist caretaker helped Yuri get into the rehabilitation center. “It was hard,” Yuri admits. “I didn’t know how to study the Bible, didn’t know much about God. But Alexander taught me.” Yuri found freedom from his addictions and acceptance in Christ.
Thousands in Siberia need to find freedom—freedom from addictions and freedom in Christ. Global Mission pioneers and volunteers such as Alexander, Angela, and Evgeny are working to meet the physical and spiritual needs of hurting, hungry individuals in Siberia.
Our mission offerings help establish and support outreach centers such as these in Siberia and around the world. Thank you for giving to mission.
Hans Olson is communication projects manager for the Office of Adventist Mission at the General Conference.