Editor’s note: Scott Stemple, leader of FamilyLife in Ukraine, collected this testimony from Andrei and Natasha Davidenko, HomeBuilders leaders in Ukraine
We were married in May of 2004, and we had many conflicts from the very start of our marriage. We just couldn’t seem to understand one another. Natasha always wanted to solve our conflicts as soon as they arose, but I needed time to cool down a bit. I worked long hours and often just wanted to catch up on my sleep on the weekends. This didn’t give Natasha much of a chance to do the things she dreamed of us doing together, and we began to drift apart.
In the fall of 2008 I went through a very difficult time. I was struggling in my family. I quit my church responsibilities and then left the church. It was at this time (February 2009) that we came to our first HomeBuilders meeting.
It was an amazing feeling as we were walking home from that first meeting. I felt like God, in His great mercy, had given us this group as a gift from Him. The atmosphere and the questions that we discussed enabled us to open up to one another like we never had before.
As we continued to be involved in the group and go on our dates to do our “homework” we began to understand the things that we needed to work on in our relationship. We noticed that we were having fewer conflicts, and I was more attentive to Natasha’s needs. We also developed new habits and began to get rid of the bad habits we had formed during the first five years of our marriage.
The couple who was leading our group moved in May 2009. Natasha and I were so excited about the progress we had seen in our relationship through this group, and we realized that if we did not agree to lead that it would stop meeting. Therefore we decided to take a step of faith and try our hand at leading.
We greatly enjoyed leading this group, but we also became aware of many other couples in our church who were having marriage problems. During one of the church services there was an announcement about HomeBuilders groups, and couples began to ask us questions about how they could participate. We decided to start a second group, but the number of interested couples just continued to grow so we started another group in September of that same year.
Now we are leading three groups. We are hoping and praying that in the near future some of the couples who are now in these groups will have the desire and vision to step into the leadership role.
The more I talk with families the more I become convinced that the HomeBuilders materials touch on very important and pertinent questions of family life. When couples become involved in these groups they become closer to one another and to God. I am sure that as this ministry continues to develop in Ukraine we will see fewer divorces and more families living out God’s plan for the family.