Jesus Center School 1972-1988
Faith Christian Academy
Yuliya Shubina Serves as an Official Spokesperson for Operation Christams Child
Sometimes it is the simplest of gifts that make the biggest impact as FCA alum Yuliya Shubina has experienced first hand. Yuliya grew up in Uzbekistan and Russia before coming to the United States to study abroad during her junior and senior years of high school. As a nine year old living in Russia, Yuliya received a shoe box from Operation Christmas Child full of Christmas presents. The gift was deeply impactful and created a curiosity in Yuliya, who had never heard of Jesus before. That curiosity about who Jesus is grew, until she came to Faith and opened her heart to enter into a relationship with Him.
Today, over ten years since Yuliya received that special shoe box gift, she is giving back to Operation Christmas Child in a number of ways. While attending Faith, she volunteered at their processing center, helping to prepare shoe boxes to be shipped around the world. After graduating high school in 2010, Yuliya began her pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in Government, specializing in International Relations at Liberty University. While attending Liberty, she was invited to share her story at a conference hosted by Operation Christmas Child. As a result of the experience, Samaritan’s Purse has asked Yuliya to be an official spokesperson for their organization. She now has the opportunity to travel and share her story with others about the hope that a simple gift can bring.
Dear Mr. Wall,
After graduating Faith Christian Academy in 2009 I attended Colorado Christian University with an intended degree in Biblical Studies. I knew that God was calling me to ministry while at Faith, but I just wasn't sure which aspect of ministry that entailed. During my senior year at Faith, a door also opened for me to work for Dare2Share ministries. This connection was made through the drama department and allowed me to travel the U.S. acting on stage in front of thousands of teenagers. I went to school during the week at CCU and traveled with Dare2Share on the weekends. This was a very busy season of life but a very rewarding one as well. While on the Dare2Share tour I met my wife Bethany Nicole Bray. She is an amazing woman of God and the story of how we met still blows me away! God had his hand on the entire situation and continued to open one door after another.
The Dare2Share tour ended and Bethany decided to go to CCU the following year. She was from a small town in Nebraska, so this was a big change for her entire family. She still promises that she felt called to CCU before we even met (another confirmation). Anyway, at this point in my life I started implementing spiritual disciplines like never before and began to hear God's voice like never before (funny how that works). He told me three things: (1) sell my car, (2) marry Bethany, (3) become a youth pastor. I even started having vivid dreams of being a youth pastor and following in the footsteps of some of my spiritual mentors such as Paul Faust and Kurt Vetterling (also Faith alumni). Upon waking from those dreams I would immediately turn to God in prayer because I knew I could never fulfill these things on my own.
First, I drove to Oklahoma to sell my car. My dad knew a guy out there, and he gave me a good bid on it. Next, I asked for Bethany's hand in marriage, and her parents told me to wait two years. This was a reasonable request; however, I knew God was up to something. I secretly began to save money for the engagement ring (thinking it might take me about two years anyway). Upon our return visit to Nebraska over labor day weekend, the Holy Spirit began to stir change her parents' hearts. The last day before our return drive to Denver we all went to church together. The pastor's sermon was titled "love like your dying." It evidently spoke to her parents because they decided to give us their blessing and told us to get married as soon as we wanted. With everyone in tears, we thanked them, gave some huge hugs, and said our goodbyes. Somehow God provided the means for me to buy the ring, and I proposed at the prayer chapel at Faith Bible Chapel on October 4th. I prayed with her, washed her feet, and cried the most intensely joyful tears of my life. It was utterly breathtaking. I literally watched as God moved and fulfilled the words He had spoken to me.
Now, it came time to get a job. I knew that if I wanted to get married, I would need a way to provide for my new family. Since God distinctly told me to be a youth pastor, I decided to start looking. After applying for a few positions and not seeing any success I began to wonder if I was jumping the gun. After all, I was only a sophomore in college, and on paper I didn't have much to offer. The peace of God came over me during this season, and I decided to just wait on Him to move. It was December of 2010 and winter break was about to begin when a girl at CCU asked me to play drums for a winter youth camp at her home church in Colorado Springs. I agreed because she told us there would be free food, free lodging, and free snowboarding! What college student would turn that down! On that trip, God moved in a mighty way. After seeing my interaction with the kids and receiving a direct word from the Lord, the senior pastor offered me the position of being the full time youth pastor. He had no idea that I was even looking for a job and wanting to get married young. I started weeping and he was a little taken back. I told him what a confirmation this was and he started to understand my tears. After discussing things further, Pastor Derek decided to start me right away but allowed me to finish my spring semester at CCU by only commuting down to the springs on the weekends. Bethany and I were ecstatic!
Our next trip to Nebraska shocked Bethany's parents. They couldn't believe that I had already been offered a full time job so quickly, not to mention the fact that it was my dream job and in my academic field of study. They started to realize even further that God was writing a story that was bigger than all the parties involved. Bethany and I wrapped up our spring semester, and I moved to Colorado Springs to start full time as the youth pastor. We then got married on July 2nd, which is an entire story in itself! I have now been the youth pastor of Gateway Church in Colorado Springs for over a year. The youth has been steadily growing, souls have been saved, students have been discipled, and most importantly, God has been receiving all the glory. I wish I could tell you all that has happened in this past year, but there would't be enough room to write it all.
In summary, I am living the dream! Not the "American dream," cause that thing is a lie. But the dream of losing my life for Christ's sake, the dream of being content in all things, and the dream of seeing God come through time and time again. I have an adventure to live, a battle to fight, and a beauty to rescue. What more could a man ask for? I am currently finishing my degree in Religion and Theology through Liberty University and plan to graduate in 2013 (right on schedule). Being a full time husband, pastor, and student has been tough at times, but God has been with me every step of the way.
Oh yeah, there is one last thing....Bethany is pregnant! We are set to have our first baby in September, so add father to that list as well. God has us in His hands and we are excited to see what He's going to do next. Children are a blessing, and although many have warned us not to have them early on, we trust God. Children, like marriage, are just another facet in God's design to make us look more like Jesus. I believe marriage is more about holiness than happiness (happiness is just the icing on the cake). In the same way, having children puts to death our selfish desires and makes us more like Jesus. I know it will be hard work, but it will be the most rewarding thing I will probably ever do! I must decrease so that He may increase. Keep us in your prayers!