Veronika was born and raised in Belarus in a post-communist environment. No one from her family was Christian. As a child, she attended a Russian Orthodox Church (the national church in Belarus) with her grandmother. From a young age, she had an idea about God but in her words, “it was a very general one, as the Gospel wasn’t presented clearly”. As she grew up, she came across a variety of different philosophies and teachings, so her “understanding of the one living God became completely vague & obscure”.
By God’s grace, she had the opportunity to study Business Management overseas at a Christian university. She attended some Bible classes and remembers “reading about Jesus but still being skeptical about everything the Bible was saying”. But in her last year of university things changed.
“I found myself in a dark season of my life where I seemed to lose meaning & purpose. That’s when I turned to Jesus, this time with a softened heart. The Bible didn’t seem to be just a regular book anymore but God’s living word about Jesus who, first and foremost, helped me to realize that I’m a sinner and I need a Saviour. From that moment onwards I believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Redeemer.”
In 2016, she was to become part of a small IFES student ministry in her home country. The team was inexperienced and had many challenges. She explains that the nation was in “a post-communist spiritual vacuum. But despite persecution, the Gospel was impacting the lives of students and many young people were searching for hope, relationship and meaning, which can only be found in the Gospel of Jesus.”
In 2017, Veronika heard about an AFES Apprenticeship. She felt God was stirring her heart “to help Belarus, and gain helpful tools and ideas to be more effective through this training”. God opened the door for her to come to Australia and be involved in campus ministry, with AFES providing the training. Two years on, she has come to Moore College as a first year student to study the Advanced Diploma of Bible, Mission & Ministry. She is thankful for this opportunity:
“I am excited to have this valuable opportunity to study at Moore College to grow and be equipped with knowledge so I can serve people, particularly students in Belarus, where I hope to return at some point in the future. I hope to see many Belarusians come to know Jesus!”