I was born in a family, where my mom and dad believe in God. From my early childhood, my parents and I attended the church of Christ in Yekaterinburg. Friends from church would often gather in our home. The atmosphere of those gatherings was always warm and friendly, but didn't get me thinking about God or start questioning the meaning of life.
When I was entering my teen years, I started to have problems with my parents, lots of conflicts and disagreements. I ignored their advice, did what I wanted to do, didn't always tell them the truth; basically I was just full of myself -- prideful. I saw the life kids at school were leading, and I wanted to have that same kind of "freedom." We gossiped and judged other people behind their backs, laughed at whoever wasn't as cool as we were or was different from us. My best friend at school called the church a sect and tried hard to convince me to stop going. She said that there was no such thing as God. Because of her influence I told my parents that I no longer wanted to go to church. I closed up. My parents asked me often what was going on with me, but I didn't want to talk with them.
After a while that friend and I had a fight and she stopped having an influence over me.
The Bible is so right about the influence of friends: 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 in the NIV says, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.' Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God -- I say this to your shame."
I started to think about what real friendship is all about, and some new friends came into my life -- teens from the church in Yekaterinburg. We had a lot of really interesting events, where I learned about God and started to look a little bit into the Bible. I grew to have faith in God, came to believe in Christ, that he died for my sins. With full awareness I made the decision to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, because salvation became very important to me.
I was baptized into Christ on the 27th of April, 2019, and loads of my friends came to the celebration! I am so happy and grateful to God!
--Valya Kalınına (center, in photo)
Translated and reposted by Tammy Fleming from www.icocnews.ru