“My name is Valera. I was born and raised in Kiev in an ordinary family. My parents worked hard, and I was brought up, as it happens, on the street. As a child I started to play football and played so well I even had some prospects. But in order to remain in the sport, I had to make a choice – would I diligently learn in the special football class or would I engage in a regular class, and live as I want?
I chose the latter – so called “freedom”. The consequences of the choice came very quickly. For 12 years I was registered by police as a juvenile offender. I was fascinated by the life of a criminal. I was stealing, drinking alcohol, and smoking. And I did not stop. I liked the new experiences and sensations so my life depended on drugs. At first just cannabis, and before very long, the first injection and I became a slave to drugs.
During two years I had been seduced by sin in a beautiful wrapper: clubs, bars, criminal “romance” … And then – lies and theft to my loved ones. Drug dens, scandals, fights, illness and tears were normal for me. Eventually, I was disappointed in everything: in my choice, in my own beliefs and in life itself. I realized that I was deceived. In pursuit of a beautiful life, and “freedom” I had lost everything. During this time, I buried relationships with a lot of friends and acquaintances, as well as their elderly parents. I was completely broken, lonely and in need. I left behind 2 prison terms and nearly half of my life lived in vain. Instead of happiness – a huge constant emptiness. I realized that it’s all – a dead end. I had nothing to live for. There is no meaning in life, no purpose, no joy, no peace. This is what I found inside a beautiful wrapping of sin.
That is how God found me. I met with faithful people who told me about Christ and sent me to Christian rehabilitation. All my attempts that I made before, to break with drug addiction gave me only an illusion of freedom, and again I returned to drugs. But this time things changed.
The Rehab centre was my happiest time in life. God began to rebuild my shattered life. I saw that there was a completely different life, where people are really happy and can enjoy life without drugs and alcohol. At the rehab centre I saw genuine love and a sincere desire of people to help me. I made new friends. And most importantly, I met Christ. This encounter changed everything in my life. That for which I lived and what I wanted before, had lost all its value. God has given me new goals, new desires, new feelings. This is the second birth! I enthusiastically read the Bible, although I did not like to read. Prayer became a necessary part of life. I’m really a happy person because of His grace and love for me. He gave me a big family – the church. And he gave me a beloved and loving wife and child. God restored my destroyed health. I am truly grateful to God for everything!
Now my whole life and my time belongs to God. I decided to devote my life to the same people like me. After rehabilitation, I realized that my calling is to serve the people who are addicted. We started one rehab centre, then another. The ministry grew. For five years I was the head of the rehabilitation ministry at Kiev which included six rehab centers. Through this ministry a lot of people came to God and what is especially valuable to me is that some of them were my friends, with whom I grew up.
In 2013, my wife and I moved to Rivne to help start a new church.
Events in Ukraine have opened new opportunities for spreading the Gospel. Since 2014 I go to the war zone and serve as a military chaplain. But my heart still burns with the desire to serve dependent people, and God always sends these people my way. Our family and friends prayed to God and He has given the opportunity to open a rehab center for men in the Rivne region.
We ask you to support us in prayer. Pray for: Valera and Mitch Pierce
– the ministry team;
– the people that God will lead to rehabilitation;
– finances for ministry.
We are in need of prayer support and believe that God has called us and leads us in the service of addicted people. Pedchenko Valera and Natasha”