Testimony of Sablone Rachele, a student of psychology at UETS and missionary from Italy.
I was born in a Christian family. My grandparents were the first to repent in our village. Actually, all my relatives are believers. I enjoyed going to church. I have always had a living relationship with God who touched my heart even in early childhood.
Upon graduation from trade school when I was nineteen, I heard a calling from God to make the choice between further education and ministry. That was not an easy choice, but I was seeking God’s will. I was reluctant to go anywhere as I really loved my country and my church. At that time, I knew nothing about IBTI college in England. However, deep inside I had a sense that God was calling me into missions. It was beyond me or my desires.
Coincidentally, I had heard about a certain Bible college in England. So, I went there and applied. It was there that I met my future husband. After we graduated we went with him to his native country of Ukraine. It was unpleasant when people would say that all I cared about was getting married. In fact, it was God’s plan for me and my ministry. I was going to a country that was in ruins (in the 1990s), going away from my native land, away from my mother. If I had not been convinced that it was God’s will for my life, I would have never made that choice.
I have gone through many difficulties, both physical and moral, most of which are not yet behind me. However, when looking back and analyzing my life, I see that all of my family members are believers and all of my children are in ministry. They don’t want to leave Ukraine. It may be surprising as they could immigrate to any country in the wordl (I have relatives everywhere, including Europe and America). My children could make good money, but they consider themselves Ukrainians more than Italians. They are trye Ukrainian patriots.
The church my husband is pastoring is small and growing slowly. We are not satisfied with our ministry, though visitors say they feel there like at a spiritual oasis. We work with children a lot. Of course, we would love to see a great revival in this place that we love. However, even if our eyes don’t see it, we will continue to do whatever we can.
My husband and I have enrolled in UETS’ Foundations of Christian Care and Psychological Counselling certificate program. Recently our daughter completed this program and we saw how it has helped her grow. Pastoral experience, of course, is also important, but it is not enough. Everyone should have a basic understanding of the human psyche.
Just as an example, let’s say one of your churchgoers comes up and shares his or her problems. You start praying, but the problem doesn’t go away. Then you see that the person is at the brink of psychological or even psychiatric disorder. In other words, there is a need for medical treatment. Unfortunately, people here are not used to the very idea of psychological help. That is why we need better knowledge of psychology in order to explain the need to see a doctor. In this respect a psychotherapist is not different from a dentist we see when having a toothache.
As for psychological counseling, along with the lack of acceptance of psychology by some pastors, there is another extreme, when ministers, equipped only with superficial knowledge, bring only more harm through their counseling. I have personally experienced this. That is why it is so important to realize that counseling is a gift that requires personal responsibility when practiced.