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Ben's Transformation

“It was last January, I was wandering the streets of Nashville looking for ways to end my life,” recalls Ben. “I remember looking at the trucks passing by thinking, ‘Look, there’s a big truck. But if I jump, this truck driver will suffer.’ It would be my fault. I realized caring about someone brings me joy. I thought about my children. ‘What if they still care? What if they still love me?’ I couldn’t put them through that.”
Ben was born and raised in Kazakhstan, a part of the former Soviet Union. His grandmother, an entertainment manager, made sure Ben experienced art and music. With a love for Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, Ben’s grandmother played their records and Ben listened and memorized the songs.
“I went to college and became an engineer. After graduating, my love of music took over and I played drums for the national orchestra. I took lessons from the best teachers and became a professional musician in Russia.” In 1986, Ben fled Kazakhstan. He traveled to Moscow, to the U.S. in 1991 and eventually to Nashville.
As a professional drummer, Ben developed an interest in the legends of country music, like Johnny Cash and Neil Young. Eddie Bayers, a well-known drummer took an interest in Ben and helped open a few doors. “I started working with Pat McMakin from Sony Tree Studios and Denny Purcell who mastered 200,000 songs in his career for artists such as Elvis, Bob Dillon, Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Wynonna Judd. I was lucky to apprentice with him.”
A few years later, Ben moved to Los Angeles where he turned to drugs and alcohol. He didn’t stay there long. Weak, suicidal, and depressed, Ben’s mental state had deteriorated when he found himself back in Nashville, looking for ways to die. “I’d been gone for ten years. I had no place to go, no one to turn to—until someone pointed me to Nashville Rescue Mission.”
Here, Ben, found more than just food and a bed. “I was greeted with love immediately,” says Ben. “I was in bad physical and mental shape. But I knew I was in a safe place. I had three meals; I went to chapel, where I met Christ. I got on my knees and surrendered. I said, ‘I can trust you Lord. Please save me.’”
Ben started to recover. “It was a healthy atmosphere,” says Ben. “Every morning I woke up, there were people around, they gave me breakfast, and I went to classes. I started to feel better. One day, my case manager said, ‘If you want to stop drinking and using drugs and get your life together, you can enter the program upstairs.’ It sounded interesting. I wanted to know more. He told me they used the Bible to make people feel better, get back to living, and renew mind and spirit.”
“Nashville Rescue Mission has a good program,” shares Ben. “It includes learning God’s word from the best instructors. You have counselors who will talk with you and ask how can they help you—and they mean it. Work therapy is another great part of the program. We are a part of making things look better, organizing, cooking, doing the laundry for the other guests.”  In addition, Ben was blessed with access to a music room, where he can drum for an hour each day.
Ben recently graduated from the program and got a job!  He still wants to return to a career in the music industry, but with a different focus this time.  “I’d love to produce Christian music,” shares Ben. “I even wrote a song about Nashville Rescue Mission.  I’m so grateful for this chance to start over. I’m open to doing anything that glorifies God now, in an hour, tomorrow. He will bring us where He wants us to be! I am proof of that today.”
Will you help other men and women, like Ben, meet Christ and pursue transformation? Your financial gift enables us to continue reaching the hurting here in Middle Tennessee, through our LIfe Recovery Program. 

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