People of Willmar – Vova Glogovskiy

Vova, a pastor’s kid in Ukraine, developed a love for music and began playing the guitar in 5th grade. By age 12, he was devoted to weight lifting. He attended a regional competition where a representative of a sport school saw him. The school that was two hours away invited Vova to attend. At just 13, he moved to the campus where he spent the next year studying and spending four hours per day practicing.

Then, war came to the region. The school sent all of the students home.

Home for about a month, the war was moving closer. Vova’s dad and a pastor friend arranged for about 20 teenagers to go to a bible camp in a safer region. During his month there, Vova’s parents fled their home and moved to a safer area. Another sports school opportunity presented itself, this time, at a school six hours away. Vova went on to spend a year there making new friends and having new experiences.

Then there was an unexpected turn.

Despite the fact that Vova had never even considered traveling to the United States, he was presented with a chance to do just that. A pastor friend of his dad’s worked with Helen Arends and others to arrange a trip for 12 teens to spend a month and a half in America. Vova was connected with Al and Helen Arends to stay at their farm near Willmar, MN. Having grown up in a Russian speaking area of the Ukraine, Vova knew Ukranian and Russian, but not English. Thankfully, his host Helen had grown up in Russia.

Vova had fun in the Arends’ home and enjoyed his time with their family. When the month and a half was up, he was invited by Al and Helen to stay with them and go to school here. It had never been in Vova’s plans, but clearly it was in God’s plan. God had made his moves.

The first year was hard as he attended school while still unable to speak English. It was tough not being able to express himself. Helen helped him in the beginning by speaking with him in Russian. Then, she switched to only English. He says, “she made me swim.”

Now, a senior in High School at CMCS, Vova speaks English easily. He is involved with On-Call Ministries and has rekindled his love for music. Vova and a group of teenagers go around to churches where they play music and tell their stories.

When I ask what comes next, Vova says that he hadn’t planned how his life had unfolded so far, so he was just praying and listening to find out what God has in store for him next.

– Marn Steinwand
– Photo by Dana Arends