Sasha Kolinkovsky, Ukraine: Once and Still Medical Doctor Turned Pastor
We met Alexander Kolinkovsky (“Sasha”) at the Lviv, Ukraine airport when we arrived for two weeks’ teaching in Ukraine, accompanied by long-time ministry partners Ed and Alice Kraft.
We had already learned that Sasha is a highly esteemed member of the university faculty, where he teaches advanced courses in the medical school. But on our way to church the next morning, we discovered that Sasha is a pastor as well. He and his wife Olga have two children, daughter Tanya (age 7) and son Vjacheslav (age 5).
In order to attend the Spiritually Healthy Leader® workshops, Sasha took vacation days from his job at the university, occasionally slipping out for meetings in between sessions. His commitment to learning about God’s Word was evident. During the workshops Sasha was always on time, always at the head of the table, and always had Vjacheslav by his side.
Sasha and Olga live humbly. They refuse to give in to the rampant corruption often commensurate in Ukraine with his title and position. People often ask, “Sasha, why don’t you drive a nice car and live in a big house? You’re a doctor! You could demand that people pay you huge sums for your services!” In reply, Sasha explains his role as that of a servant. He uses his skills to help people without resorting to bribery or extortion.
On our last day, Sasha pulled me aside. “Thank you for coming to us and for teaching us these simple but profound truths,” he said. “I needed these workshops – they have strengthened me for my work as pastor here. You have greatly encouraged and equipped me and my family. Slava Bogu! (Praise be to God.)”
We look forward to visiting the Lviv church again to see how God grows them!
My name is Alexander Kolinkovsky. I am 34 years old. I am a medical doctor and work in hygiene and preventive toxicology in Danylo Halitski Lviv National Medical University. I teach hygiene, preventive medicine, human ecology, and toxicology to medical students, doctors, and graduate faculty.
I first read the Bible when given a little pocket New Testament at school by the Gideons. I took this book with me everywhere. My family began to visit a Baptist church. There in 2000, we watched the film Jesus, based on the Gospel of Luke. I accepted Jesus in my life together with all the members of our family. All of us – my mother, father, brother, and me – were interested in Bible study classes which the church offered regularly after the film event.
Previously we had attended Orthodox church, so we knew a little from the Bible. At the Orthodox church I felt mystical spiritual power and had intuitive feeling what is right or not, but never concrete gospel knowledge. Now it was so easy and pleasant to read and understand the Bible as never before – just scripture and nothing more.
I was excited by these Bible study meetings and excited by the pastor’s answers to my questions. His answers always referred to places in scripture so I could discover information for myself. “Sasha please read this section,” he would explain. “Tell me how you understand this.” These answers stimulated me to study the Bible carefully and truthfully.
In 2004, I was baptized and became a church member. Soon I became a regular preacher at Sunday services. God blessed me with a wonderful Christian wife, Olya, in 2005. We have two children – daughter Tanya (age 7) and son Vjacheslav (age 5).
In 2013, our pastor and his family left our church unexpectedly and relocated in the USA. A year later, church members elected me to serve as pastor. I felt myself not ready for such service and was concerned about pitfalls. Until this point, I considered wisdom to be preventing problems or mastering them. I thought that the main way dealing with stones on the road is to go around them, if possible, to avoid the future obstacles.
In late 2014 our dear brothers and sisters in Christ (Dalton and Vicki Jantzen, Ed and Alice kraft) visited Lviv and led many of us in the Spiritually Healthy Leader® workshop and Bible study. We talked about spiritual fitness and finishing well. These families in Christ encouraged us with their personal testimonies and how they lived out their spiritual lives in practical ways. I came to understand that our main obstacle in life is not our fall, and not that we have pitfalls, but that pitfalls have benefits, too. The main task of a Christian is not to try to avoid pitfalls any way but to prepare himself and be always ready to overcome problems with our Lord. I needn’t be afraid of pitfalls. A walk with God may feel dangerous, but I am always safe and well protected. This approach works; it is true and practical indeed.
The visit from 30 60 100 MINISTRIES encouraged our church and me greatly. Please pray for our little church in Lviv and our healthy, spiritual growth.