Yuri and Svetlana
MTS Student Profile – In Their Own Words
Yuri and Svetlana
Yuri and his wife Svetlana serve a church of the city of Izobilny, Stavropol Territory – population 38,000.
Yuri serves as lead-pastor and is deeply involved in prison ministry. Svetlana is engaged in children’s work. They have five children.
There were no ministers in Izobilny – and no male believers to be found. No one was there to conduct the church services at all. The only church in the area consisted of several faithful, elderly women.
Yuri and Svetlana sold their home and moved to a new place in Izobilny. It was a difficult transition. Relationships were hard to build. The couple fasted and prayed. Little by little, new believers began to appear, some moved into town and new believers repented and joined them in worship. Soon, a new collection of core members emerged. The church began to grow. Thank God!
The church formed a program for the rehabilitation of people struggling with addictions. Yuri and Svetlana welcome needy folks (some homeless, some alcoholics) into their home. They bathe, dress, and feed them – providing the warmth of home. They believe that it is very important when they see a person in need to offer material help, even arranging for rehabilitation programs. Recently, when Yuri learned that a car was needed for the prison ministry to the north, he readily donated his own minivan.
Svetlana testifies that she had never deeply thought about the meaning of the Bible. But with her training, she came to see what Jesus wanted to say – to her. Before this, she could not connect the application of the Bible’s teaching to her life and community. This was much more than simple memorization. Now, her study of the Bible guides her life and energizes their ministry.
Today, Yuri encourages all the preachers and brothers of the church to be trained at the seminary. He constantly challenges them and encourages them to keep on learning and growing. Svetlana brings young women to work with the children, both Sundays and at summer camp. Both Yuri and Svetlana value the role of education very highly.
Yuri says: “The reality of my past life stays with me: I won’t kneel before anyone! But I could not resist the love of Christ. His sacrifice for me is not in vain!”