The center is operated by Cornerstone, a Russian church which we work alongside. On average there are usually about 30 young men and women at the center going through the 8 month rehabilitation course. The success rate for those who complete the full course is about 50% after two years. This is much higher than the secular rate which is typically about 3% from the information we have read.
We love watching the transformation that happens in the lives of the young men and women as they go through the course. We will be featuring some of their testimonies on the blog over the next couple of months.
This brother is Dmitry. He is one of two senior leaders currently working at the center. Dmitry, or Dima, as we call him is a great young leader. He has a really gentle disposition, while at the same time maintaining his authority as a leader. That is a great combination.
Dima is 32 years old and a veteran of the Russian army, having served for a year in Chechnya. He is also a former drug addict starting when he was 16 years old! He is lucky because during that time he never ended up in prison, which is usual for drug addicts in Russia.
Three years ago a drug using friend of Dima’s went through the rehab program, successfully completed the course, and is now living a happy life with his wife and children. After Alexei's rehabilitation they would see each other occasionally and Alexei would always encourage Dima to enter rehab, but he declined the offer every time. Finally in December of 2008 Dima realized that he couldn't go on living the drug lifestyle and wanted help. He called the Drug rehabilitation center hot line and entered the program.
Dima, like most rehabilitants, spent his first week in rehab wondering if he would stay. Being suddenly immersed into Christian Charismatic worship and life can be very overwhelming for those who enter the center. Almost all of them at first think the place is full of crazy people. Dima, however, overcame his fears and stayed.
Being a stubborn sort of guy he determined that he would stay through to the end and
over the next few months he began to grow in the Lord and see positive changes happen in his life. After the first four month course he went on to the second four months and began serving as a small group mentor/leader. It was here that I think his natural leadership skills began to be noticed. He completed his second four months and decided to stay for the optional additional four months. At that point the current senior leader of the center was leaving the position to go off to missionary training school. Dima was asked if he would become a senior leader. He thought, “no one else is available. I suppose I should do this.”
Dima now lives every other week at the center and a week in the city. At the center he has responsibility for about 30 addicts going through rehabilitation. When we watch Dima working with people we see an intense young man who really cares about people. We also see a gentle but determined young man. We really hope that he will continue to serve and perhaps to go on to church plant and pastor in the next year or two.
Dima has a wife and a young child. His wife works full-time to support the family, allowing Dima to be in ministry on a very small salary/stipend. They live together with Dima’s parents. Next week we will have them over to our place to share a meal and to speak into their lives.
It is a real joy for Karen and I to be able to work alongside brothers and sisters like this. When you read this pray for Dima and his family. Pray that the Lord will continue the work that has begun in this young family and that they will continue to live for and serve Him.