My name is Serghei Mihailov. And this is my story…
I was born on a cold Friday, February 4, 1983 in Chisinau, the capital of Soviet Moldova. I was the first and the only child of a simple working family. My mother, Svetlana, was a drafter in a construction institute. My father, also Serghei, was a technician at one of the Soviet factories with a military designation. At the end of the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s, we sensed that the temperature in Moldovan society began to increase. The Soviet Union was about to fall apart and the national movement was gaining its power from day-to-day. In August 1991, Moldova proclaimed its independence, and in December the Soviet Union collapsed. These events affected the whole country and, in particular, us as a family.
Both of my parents lost their jobs, and all of their efforts to find another job were in vain. We could feel how poverty and crisis began to enter in our home and ruin it. As a result of deep personal crisis and internal conflicts, in 1994 my parents divorced. In search of a means for existence, my mother went to work as a heavy loader at vegetable depot and I began to work as a night cleaner in construction building. Because of the unhealthy environment, loneliness and heavy work, my mother began to fall into alcoholism. At that time, I already was attending a local evangelical church, and these two different worlds of life were coming into deep dissonance and clash. At Easter, in 1999, I finally found myself on the street, having nowhere to go but I just couldn’t live any longer in that lifestyle of immorality. Then, my aunt, Alla, opened for me the doors to her family, where already she cared for three children and an old disabled grandfather.
Living with them, I discovered the miracle of God’s unconditional love and the paradox of Christian faith. Many times, having nothing to eat, suffering from unemployment and continual attacks from a mentally disabled son, they continued to be faithful, thankful and joyful in Christ. God touched my heart, and at age 17, I accepted Christ as my Savior.
This family and the Church became a true refuge/home for me, where I learned many things. My aunt, a true godmother, was investing a lot into our personal development, as well as faith in God. Being a professional artist and writer, she always was approaching things in a very creative way. She was one of the first in the country to create a puppet-theater team to support local missionaries in Moldova to establish or strengthen ministry for children and she involved our family along with other young people to serve churches. In the six years of our engagement with this ministry, we traveled throughout the whole country from the dusty village intersections to the national palace. And within these years, I was a witness of many miracles that God was doing, and many situations where faithfulness and courage were needed. All these things have helped me to learn God’s mission.
In 2004, I was admitted at College of Theology and Education (now University “Divitia Gratiae”), which became a unique opportunity for me to continue my studies. Studying there, I have met many great teachers and students, who shared with me the special experience of growing in faith and discovery of God. Being a student, I was invited by Vladimir Ubeivolc (president and co-founder of Beginning of Life (BOL)) as a volunteer for BOL. Having some experience in freelance journalism and storytelling, also taught by my aunt, I was writing articles and doing interviews for monthly newsletters, about different activities, projects, and people in BOL. This experience allowed me to understand, from within, the vision and the heart of this ministry.
Summer of 2008 became very special in my life. First, I got married to a wonderful lady, Galina, who became my best friend, supporter, critic and partner in ministry and in life; our family was invited to serve in a ministry for children sick with cancer and their families, where we have continued to volunteer for more than 10 years; and Vladimir Ubeivolc invited me to join the BOL team. My dreams became a reality. For me, this ministry made it possible to give a chance to the vulnerable ones to get out of deep poverty and lack of opportunities, and to be set free; the same chance that was given to me in the past. Through this, I became a small part of God’s mercy and grace in the lives of impoverished people.
Over the last decade, lots of things have happened: our three children were born; I managed to complete my master’s degree; I was able to grow from a volunteer to being Executive Director of a great ministry; and I met many wonderful servants of Lord Jesus Christ, and so often I was a witness of a miracle of transformation, true change – both social and spiritual – possible only by God’s power.
Looking in the eyes of vulnerable children, disoriented young people seeking truth, children sick from cancer, or the former victims of exploitation and trafficking, this has been transforming, for myself, first of all, as well as my view of personal and church mission.
The more I continue serve, the more deeply I realize that God is powerful and faithful in His mission.
Are you interested in learning more about how your community can empower Moldovan youth to lead independent lives? Learn more, here!