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Dmitry'I decided to make a convenant'
My name is Dmitry. I was born in 1977 in the Crimea, in the city of Yevpatoriya. I grew up in a small and very poor family: my parents, my younger sister and I. I've always been a rebellious and disobedient son. My strict mother often punished me for my disobedience. I did not understand then - when and for what she was beating me. My father loved to drink and often came home drunk.

At home my parents constantly insulted each other with rude words, and my sister and I always quarreled and fought. When I went to school, I studied more or less well at first, but then I started hanging out with bad companies, neglecting my studies, shirking school and doing all sorts of bad things. I even had to repeat several school years. Meanwhile a potential for self-destruction was developing in my inner world.

I never graduated from school properly; I left everything and went to work. I started smoking cigarettes and drinking, then using drugs, sometimes in large doses, and led a completely destructive lifestyle. Since my childhood I had been heading straight into the very lair of the beast, without feeling it. I was an atheist, even a blasphemer, and in my youth I was fond of communist ideas. I believed that they were the truth and the meaning of life. In short, I was deceived. This world attracted me with everything it had to offer: women, alcohol, drugs, loud parties in bad companies...

When I arrived in Israel, I was almost 20 years old and I did not realize what a terrible fall awaited me. Now, however, I see that God never left me. I made aliyah to Israel with my parents and sister in 1996, and settled down in the city of Bnei Brak. I lived with them there for one year and because of the nostalgia started drinking a lot of alcohol with a relative who immigrated with us as well. Then 19 years of a completely sinful, godless life followed. There was even a period when I was selling light drugs (marijuana), but it did not last long. My "career" was over when I was sentenced to jail time. All this was in Jerusalem. There I lived for many years, there my daughter was born, who still does not know who her dad is, and this thought tortures me all the time.

Then I went to Tel Aviv and lived on the streets. I holed up in various places for many years, drank, smoked dope and shot up, until I finally got tired of this life, of this drug driven homeless struggle for survival. I knew only a little about God then, but His grace was with me, although I did not understand it. I was deeply wrong about everything. It was God who saved me many times from death - though I thought that all the credit belonged to me. So many things happened in my life! There were cases of overdose, I was beaten up, sometimes had to steal, to spend time in jail - and all that for the sake of drugs.

In November 2012 I entered the rehabilitation center in Ashkelon for the first time – a place where the Lord God, Jesus Christ, gave people freedom from anything associated with sin and this fallen world. I began my rehabilitation, but in the first months I did not realize where I was and how I had to behave with the people around me. Eventually I left the rehab and returned to Tel Aviv.

In total I spent twelve years on the streets. It was a very difficult time. Once, when I lived in a "dog park" in Tel Aviv, I was approached by guys from "Aviv Center" and offered to come and eat something. I went with them to "Aviv Center" and there I was offered to go to Ashkelon rehab again. I agreed and went there.

I have been in the center for 9 months already. I have decided to make a covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ and commit my life to Him. I want my testimony to draw many hearts to the Lord. Now together with other guys from the rehab I regularly come to Tel Aviv to serve in "Aviv Center" and help other homeless people.

Dmitry, March 2016

'The Last Stop'

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