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A Hope Only From God

Issue 5

Awakened abruptly in late February by the thunder of Russian troops making their way toward the Ukraine capital of Kyiv, Sergei Golovin immediately went to his 87-year-old mother’s apartment. Less than two weeks later and with her urging, Sergei, along with his wife and their adult daughter, fled the war-torn country.

While Sergei has talked with his mother daily, he hasn’t seen her since. However, just as God protected Sergei and his wife and daughter as they escaped Ukraine, first to Poland and then to London, he believes God is with her.


Sergei’s faith isn’t that of a soldier in a foxhole. He met Jesus more than three decades ago at the age of 30, following years of atheist indoctrination as part of his Soviet education to become a research physicist. God also revealed Himself to Sergei’s wife, Olga, and together they started what would become the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics.

Sergei and Olga’s faith has only been strengthened by how they’ve seen God use their ministry. Decades of blessings have opened their eyes to the brightness of His goodness during these dark times. Whether it’s a Russian missile failing to detonate after landing on the second floor of a two-story house in a crowded section of Kharkiv or European neighbors opening their homes to refugees fleeing Ukraine, Sergei and Olga are comforted by the hope only God can offer in what many consider a hopeless situation.


Please share some of your background, including how you came to know Jesus.

I was born to a nonreligious family in the Soviet Union and was working as a physics researcher. The university curriculum included compulsory communist ideology courses like Marxism-Leninism Philosophy, Communist Party History, and Scientific Atheism. As a result, I was thinking of the Bible as a collection of fairy tales. But God forced me to read the Bible by sending me near the North Pole on a work assignment to install research equipment alone and with nothing to read but the Bible (someone gave it to me on the way). After the equipment was installed, I had a lot of spare time and decided to read those “fairy tales,” and found them much more real and reasonable than all the philosophies we had studied.

How did the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics come to be? What is the Center’s mission and what has been its impact throughout not only Eastern Europe, but the entire world?

We cannot say exactly when it started. We had no idea back then about terms like “ministry,” “calling,” “apologetics,” “mission,” etc. We just found something that brings sense to our life and started to share it with others—friends, colleagues, students, neighbors. Later, we found out it was a ministry. By then, our work was recognized under the name of a specific project, and it was too late to change it.

The mission of our ministry is threefold: introducing the Truth to skeptics, strengthening the saints in their confidence in the Truth, and equipping God’s people to proclaim God’s Word effectively.

Our main approach is what we call the “222 strategy.” That stands for the instruction found in 2 Timothy 2:2—to train and equip those who are able to train and equip others.

Our business is not fishing, but raising and equipping net makers. Through three decades of ministry, we have developed a dozen culturally-relevant training courses and organized hundreds of practical seminars and workshops in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Uzbekistan, the United States, Israel, and Portugal. We have published more then 250 books.

Our special focus is on equipping believers in restricted areas where they cannot get in-class training or even could be arrested for having a Christian book at their home. That is why all our resources are available online. Materials from our site—ScienceAndApologetics.com—are downloaded from about 120 countries every year.


What was life like initially following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Early on February 24, we were awakened by the sounds of explosions. Even now it is hard to believe this actually happened. We sent all our workers to the safer regions of Western Ukraine. Some sent their wives and children abroad. Olga, myself, and our younger daughter, Dasha, decided to stay at the ministry’s facilities, spending most of our time in the food storage room used as a bomb shelter because of constant air strike alerts.

By the time the invader troops were just 10 miles from our campus, the news of the Russian massacre at the Kyiv outskirts of Bucha and Irpin was already known, and the board commanded us to leave immediately. We had a couple of hours to pack and left as soon as the curfew was over.

How did God protect you and your family as you made your way out of Ukraine?

We were heading toward the western border by roundabout ways, avoiding the main roads controlled and/or shelled by the Russians. Once, we spent 15 hours in the flow of the refugees and traveled just 50 miles. Very few gas stations had fuel. Those that did were issuing only five gallons per vehicle. Nevertheless, the Lord led and protected us all the way. All the problems were taken care of as soon as we faced them. It was like a “parting of the Red Sea” experience. In 48 hours, we were in Poland.

Why did you end up settling in London? How is God continuing to use you and your family?

It took 10 days (including getting visas) for us to come to London, where our older daughter, Zhenya, works as a Ukrainian company representative. Additionally, through a local church, she spends a lot of time as a volunteer searching housing options for Ukrainian refugees coming to the United Kingdom. Our son-in-law, Vitaliy, having my vehicle, shuttles them to the places.

We are in constant contact with our national workers and the network of partners scattered all over Ukraine. Some are enrolled in the army, some joined the Civil Defense troops, others are serving refugees. We all continue the ministry work online—even those at the front line. This is in addition to the regular work we are involved in helping with specific needs often under the radar of big humanitarian missions. We are highly blessed with the opportunity to share blessings of the Lord’s care with others!

How did your relationship with Christ prepare you for the past several months?

This is actually the second time we had to leave our home because of a military invasion. For most of its history, our ministry was based in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. This time, we were able to focus more not on the losses, but on the praises!

We praise the Lord for the time He gave us to work so productively till the war got started, for providing us a comfortable bomb shelter, for keeping us safe and guiding us on our way out of danger, for people in Europe providing housing to refugees, for Dutch children selling their toys on the street to help Ukrainians, and for aid from other countries, especially the U.S., which has provided five times more than all other countries combined!

We praise the Lord for the enemy troops being driven back when they were just 10 miles away from our campus. We also praise Him for our facilities not being damaged and being taken care of by the manager we employed just recently who joined the Civil Defense troops and stayed in the area.

Our special praises are for the opportunity to have all our resources online! Despite most Christian schools and libraries in Ukraine having been destroyed, our resources still can be accessed from anywhere. This is especially important because most of the refugees are women and children (men under the age of 60 are not allowed to leave the country). Having no books in their language and not able to attend school, children are happy to use the Christian curricula we developed years ago but were unable to incorporate in schools because of the government monopoly. But who cares about official approval when our curricula are the only ones available?!

Do you plan to return to Ukraine after the war?

The war can last for a while. So, we plan to go back to Ukraine as soon as any kind of stability is reached. May the Lord give us wisdom to make that decision in a proper time.

As people struggle to make sense of the war, is there a message you would like to share?

Firstly, I would like to share the message of the book of Revelation that encourages me the most in times like these. It could be presented in three simple statements: Everything is bad. Everything will get worse. But we have already won!

Secondly, we observe enormous unity among Ukrainians now, as well as in other nations around Ukraine, but quite often, the real foundation for this unity is fear and hatred. Nothing unites people faster, but this foundation is very unreliable and pretty short-lived. The only real foundation for the unity that will last is love and hope. And it can be built on Jesus only. 

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