By Kirill Shevchenko
OCEAN CITY, Md.—I came to the coffeehouse at Ocean City Baptist Church (OCBC) to eat some free food. That is usually what foreign students come for. I knew they had music somewhere in the building but I didn’t know what day or time. After a meal, I asked someone about the music and they directed me to go upstairs and that’s where my story begins.
As I approached the stage, I met Troy Chute (OCBC praise leader) and several others. They were jamming together and I asked if I could join them. Troy let me in. He was so nice and kind to me, he was like, “Of course, you can join us, brother! That is why we gather here.” Then I thought, “Wow! What a nice atmosphere.” I had the best time playing with Troy and other students. It was an amazing time and good atmosphere. When we finished the music night, Troy invited me to play in the worship band. I didn’t know what he was talking about exactly but I liked the idea of playing in a band, even though I didn’t think I was good enough to play on the stage. When we finished I found myself being happy as if I was a child. I felt that I was home even though my home, Kazakhstan, was far away.
What I liked most was Troy’s warmth and kindness, I could see God in his eyes and temper. In two days, I came to OCBC for the service to play music and said to Troy that I was nervous and not sure if I’d be able to handle it with music and chords and so on. He said, “Kirill, I’m not perfect, so don’t worry about it.” When the service started I saw Troy praying which was a little bit weird for me, because in our culture, orthodox Christians never pray aloud, but I liked it because I could hear what they pray for and about; so it was nice.
Then Troy invited me one more time and then said, “Kirill, this is your spot for the summer. You can play electric guitar in the services.” Even though I had never played electric before. And I started coming Monday for the free dinners and to the coffee houses and Sunday services to have fun and to get to know more people.
One of the first missionaries from OCBC that I met was Michelle. She was the first to ask me about God. What was interesting for me is that later when I came to Christ she told me that they were praying for me (which shocked and surprised me in good way). I thought what nice people I meet here!
Then I met Jacob who became a very good friend of mine. And all of the missionaries were nice to me and I liked spending time with them. I saw that these people had something that I’d been looking for.
I decided to go for Bible study, which Pastor Terry [Davis – former pastor of Ocean City Baptist Church] was leading. In this Bible study, I found myself very comfortable because they were talking about deep and spiritual things and that was what I was looking for.
Then I became a frequent guest of OCBC. We played music, met new students, studied the Bible, played frisbee, went to the Assateague Island for the camp fire. It was an amazing time and experience. So I was thinking about God and Jesus more and more.
Then God sent Oleg (a Campus Crusade international student worker from Ukraine) into my life and she told me a lot more about God in Russian which was much more understandable for me. Then I talked to Troy and Sean [Davis, pastor of Ocean City Baptist Church] about some things that we experience and face in life. They helped me to answer these questions. They told me about God, that God has a plan for us. So I was surrounded by a good good atmosphere and nice people.
Well, my words are not enough to express what I experienced. One night Ms. Lynn [Davis – Resort Ministry Missionary] asked me how I was, what I thought about God and everything and she showed me how I can accept Christ.
And on July 24, I asked God into my life. When I told Sean about my decision he was so happy and asked if I wanted to get baptized in the Atlantic Ocean. The next day I got baptized.
Kirill’s experience at home
Before I got back home some of my brothers in Christ found Jesus followers in my hometown and gave me their numbers. I called them and met them on the student’s meeting (coffeehouse), and they invited me to their home church where I shared my testimony. As time passed I found myself as a part of this church.
Arman, one of the leaders of the church, took the initiative and asked me out just for sharing life experiences and talking about God and everything.
He also suggested doing Bible studies every Thursday with me where he helped me understand the Bible and pray to God. I praise God and am grateful to Him for all these things.
Of course I face troubles and problems in life, but God sees me and takes care of me and my family. It is just so amazing how my life is being changed.
I am trying to bring God’s truth and Gospel no matter where I am. I know sometimes I fail or our enemy tries to knock me down, but with God’s help I try to bring a mission everywhere.
God answers prayers. I see some of my friends coming to Christ. God is doing work here, too. But it is interesting that I found Him in Ocean City.