In the Soviet Union during the communist era one group of workers who had secure employment were artists. They were given a clear brief: to make the communist ideology visible in open spaces. This they did, by building statues of Lenin for town and village squares.
One of these artists was Eugenij Degterenko, 60, who made this large statue, pictured, in the city of Donetsk, Ukraine.
Over the years, however, Eugenij found that although his working life was flourishing his personal life wasn’t. “I had many problems,” says Eugenij. “My first marriage ended and I lost contact with my child. I then remarried but somehow my life wasn’t working out.
“I had a friend whom I used to drink with. He became a Christian. One day he said to me, ‘Eugenij, you have so many questions; you can find the answers in this book.’ He gave me a copy of the New Testament. I began reading it. One day I couldn’t resist anymore and I gave my life to Jesus.”
However, Eugenij’s wife, who was deeply involved in politics, wasn’t happy. She rang his work and he was called before the senior managers to defend himself. Everyone wanted to save him from this ‘cult.’ Fortunately, despite the opposition, Eugenij clung onto his new-found faith.
Today, Eugenij is the pastor of a church on the outskirts of Donetsk. He still uses his artistic abilities, these days to make stained glass windows for his church. His wife is also happy and sings in the church choir.
This article is from The Word at Work – New Year 2012.