Imprisoned to be free

 In Europe, News, West and Central Asia

A hard knock life

Growing up without a mother was hard for Yury Naumov and his brother. She had passed away when he was six years old, and his father had never really recovered. To cope with the pain, his father started to drink.

By the time Yury was 10, he was looking after his own life. That was when Yury first tried drugs. Yury always looked a little older than he really was and figured that’s why he was allowed to smoke marijuana with the older kids.

The first time Yury went to prison, he was 12. He was given 15 days for breaking into an army officer’s car. That was the first time he felt afraid. In hindsight, Yury realised that his prison sentence was designed to enable him to realise that actions have consequences and that he should choose a different way to live. But he did the opposite. Yury found himself wanting more and more of the lifestyle he saw around him – one of smoking, drinking, and crime.

At 13, Yury learned how to steal cars. Then he crashed into a pedestrian at a bus stop. The woman survived, but Yury was arrested and put into an adult prison this time. He was the youngest inmate in the whole facility. Yury wondered why others seemed to have a chance in life, but he did not. During Yury’s two years in prison, his father died from alcoholism.

Free from prison at 16, Yury expected that his life would develop for the better. But is wasn’t long before he was offered opium. He was interested to try the drug that others would give everything for, just to get a hit. By 20, Yury was a regular heavy drug user and had also been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Often in need of cash, there was one time Yury was standing in an office when he saw a notebook computer on the desk. Looking to the left and right and realising there was no one around, he slipped it into his backpack and climbed out the window. Selling it at the local market, Yury used the money to buy drugs and gambled the rest away. As he walked home that evening, he saw the police outside his apartment. They had evidence that he had stolen the computer and he was once again taken to court and put in prison.

The turning point

Yury learned about Jesus from some local Christians who are involved in prison ministry. One of those believers is Aleksey Notkin, a team member of OM and teacher in the OM Russian Discipleship Centre. Aleksey leads a weekly Bible Study in the Novosibirsk hospital-prison facility. Yury struggled to understand at first, but eventually came to the knowledge that God loves him and wants to change his life.

Yury gave his life to Christ and when he was released from prison six months later, his first priority was to be baptised. A couple of months after his release, Yury began studying at the OM Russia Discipleship Centre. While at the Discipleship Centre, Yury is learning how to understand the Bible, to preach, to serve in various ways and bring the gospel to those who need to hear.

After completing his study, Yury is willing to follow Jesus wherever He might call him to serve and minister to others the life-changing message of the gospel.

Credit: Tim Kay
© 2016 OM International

The Discipleship Centre is the focus of our 2016 Father's Day Campaign

$1000 will train and send out others like Yuri

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