Work with orphanage graduates

In Pursuit of Happiness

 I, Dima Tedeyev, was born on September 11, 1995 in Orenburg, Russia. Soon after, when I’d just turned 3 years old, my mother took my sister and me and moved to Ukraine, in pursuit of personal happiness. However, she did not the find the happiness she sought. Our life was one defined by cold and hunger.

At the age of 8, I ended up in an orphanage/boarding school. In the fifth grade I started smoking. I soon was experimenting with alcohol and marijuana. With each year that passed I sunk deeper and deeper into addiction and soon I could not live without smoking and drinking. By my graduating year, I was just a statistic and had long stopped even pretending to study. I was constantly truant from school, insolent in my attitude to my teachers, and just wanted my own way in everything. I understood that if I kept up, soon I would be living on the street. Homelessness awaited me. I saw no possibility for anything good in my future, but by that time, it seemed that there wasn’t anything I could change.


Graduation day soon arrived. By God’s mercy some local Christians came and invited us to a picnic with them. This was just another entertaining event for all of us. What were we to do with these religious weirdos? We knew they were just going to try to “educate” us with their religious propaganda.

We ate well and listened to their boring songs. Then they started sharing about God and about themselves. As I sat there, a few words of one of the Christians finally registered. I listened to what he said. He was speaking sensibly, and what he had to say was actually interesting. I began to listen carefully to his words. His story amazed and impressed me. At first I didn’t believe him. Could these sort of things really happen in our day and age? It would be great if something like that were to happen to me!

This was the first time that God really touched my heart. I became convicted that I was not living right, that much of my behavior and habits were wrong. I wanted something to change. That night, I prayed.

I myself was amazed the next day when I refused to smoke with my friends. From that day on, I began living a changed life. Soon afterward, I ended up in a Christian youth conference where there were about 5,000 young people. It was unbelievable! There were so many Christian teens and young people all around me! Every word from the pulpit touched my heart. “O, God! How powerful and mighty you are! How merciful you are!” was the cry of my heart. I repented that day... “Lord, I accept You and want to serve You with all my heart and soul!”

O, Jesus! I am infinitely glad that You live inside of me - You have changed my life! You have changed my priorities, my outlook and values! You have changed me! Help me to behave in a manner worthy of Your trust - help me to never cause You pain!

Now I am happy. God has arranged everything wonderfully. He has given me a new large family at Agape Ministry’s Christian Youth Center (Adaptation Center). I’m studying at a trade school and learning a new profession. I try to live by God’s commandments. In the future I want to serve as a leader in the church and bear more and more fruit for my Savior.