Letter from a Ukrainian man serving life in prison

Hello, Bishop Macedo!

My name is Serhiy Subotnii. Of course you don’t know me, but I believe that it was the will of God that the book “In the Footsteps of Jesus” came into my hands

I would like to share what happened when I received this book.

I was born in the small town of Kertii, in the Ukraine. I grew up in a normal and structured family, but over time, I let myself get involved with some really bad things.

I started stealing, drinking, doing the wrong things, etc. I knew God existed, but that didn’t really matter to me at the time. Today, however, I can say that He never forgot about me, even though I was blind and deaf to Him.

In 2003, I was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. There was another man with me in the cell and he read the Bible every day. He began speaking to me about God, and I became interested.

At first, I read the Bible as if it were a book of stories. But, gradually, I began to accept the true meaning of the Gospel, and that’s when I accepted Jesus as my Savior.

However, I still carried a great hatred towards someone. This went on for some time, until I was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2010.

As I found myself in this situation, God showed me that I had to remove this stone from my soul. I was sure that this was Jesus talking to me, because I forgave the person at that exact moment and a weight fell off my shoulders. I felt an inexplicable peace! After that, I began to think more about being baptized in water and the importance it would have in my life, because it would be such a serious decision. But something would always happen and I never went through with it.

Then, a few days ago, volunteers from the Universal Help Centre in the Ukraine visited us. With permission, we gathered a group in the courtyard, inside a cell, which was something very difficult to do in the past. As the pastor was preaching, it was remarkable how we were able to notice God speaking through him.

They distributed books to all the cells before the meeting, and there was only one left over, which I was able to keep for myself, thank God.

Our meeting was wonderful, especially since we spend 23 hours locked in a cell without seeing the light of day. When I went back to my cell that night, I read your book “In the Footsteps of Jesus” and God spoke strongly to me. That night I made the decision to be baptized in water at the next meeting.

I called my wife and she was very happy. Despite being here for 13 years and sentenced to life, there is an inexplicable joy within me, because I am preparing myself for this baptism.

I thank God for sending volunteers from the UCKG, because they found us here and go to great lengths to help us.

Now we are anxiously awaiting the launch of your book “Nothing to Lose 1”, which will take place on May 10, 2016.

Thank you, Bishop, for the wonderful work that the Help Center has been doing here!

Serhiy Subotnii *, sentenced to life in prison.
Summa, Ukraine.

(*) In the photo below, he is the first from the left, holding the newspaper.



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