Sharing the Light

Growing up as an Adventist in Russia was sometimes dark and lonely for Alena. At Hartland, she’s found a closer walk with Jesus and a new focus for her artistic talent. by Alena Vlasova as told to Andrew Hendrickson


“If you will not stop being part of this sect, you will have no successful future,”my teachers told me.

Growing up in an Adventist home in Russia was difficult. At my public school, Saturday was a school day. This caused difficulty with teachers and students. Making matters worse, I didn’t have a close relationship with God. I was very lonely and depressed, church was a chore, and my life seemed dark and empty. 

Three years ago, a new pastor from South Korea came to our church. His enthusiasm and desire to serve God inspired me. I started singing in the choir, attending youth meetings, praying more, and becoming closer to God and others. 

My mom learned about Hartland College from someone at church. I was still in high school, but my sister Nastasya came and studied health ministry. I decided to come to Hartland because I knew I couldn’t study at a worldly college if I wanted a deeper relationship with God.

This wasn’t easy, however. I couldn’t get a visa; I didn’t have money. But God provided a ticket, and I discovered the Missionary Training Fund, which would help pay for my education.

Studying at Hartland has been a blessing. I’d never thought before about praying before class. 

The teachers are here to support us, unlike those at home. I’ve made many friends from all over the world. I don’t feel lonely anymore, for which I thank God immensely. I rarely read my Bible before, but at Hartland I’ve made a habit of reading every morning and evening. Through this, I’ve learned more about God, myself, and our purpose as Christians in these last days. 

My major at Hartland is Christian media, which is a powerful avenue for ministry to our generation. I studied art in high school, and thought that media was what I should learn, but I didn’t like computers. I prayed a lot. When classes started, I knew this was what I was supposed to do. God knows how to use our talents and potential to His glory. 

In photography class I learned that light is the most important thing. Without light, a picture will just be dark. As Christians we are to be lights to the world. Many people have darkness in their hearts. They want to change, but don’t know how. Our work is to share the light of Jesus with them. 

I am very grateful to those who support students through the Missionary Training Fund. Your financial sacrifice gives us the opportunity to study at the school of Christ.

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