Hleb was raised under the Communist regime in the Soviet Belarus by a single mom. He did not know his physical father or even about him until he turned 15. It would be many years before Hleb would meet physical father and long after he met his Heavenly Father. When Hleb grew up, his mom was history teacher in a public school. At home she had a copy of a New Testament that was printed in 1914. They never read the Bible. But one night his mom opened it and started reading through the genealogy of Jesus. To Hleb, it was so boring!
When Hleb went to college to train as a translator/interpreter, he sang in a student choir (unrelated to any church). Since they were all language students, they sang various songs in different languages, including Christian gospels and medieval chorales. In particular, one of the songs was on Psalms 137 in both English and German. The song did not make sense until Hleb opened a Bible at random and read Psalms 137 in his own language. That aroused some interest in reading the Bible for himself.
When US missionaries ‘flooded’ the ex-USSR with different evangelistic projects, they were desperately looking for translators and interpreters to help them. Needless to say, most of those interpreters were non-believers and had a very limited understanding of the gospel. Through work experience Hleb heard the Gospel and soon enough agreed with it intellectually. Though he tried to fight the Gospel message with the secular logic, he totally failed and agreed with the Message. That was when he accepted Christianity.
Following Hleb's acceptance of Christianity, it took him long seven more years to embrace the Gospel and trust Christ with all his heart. By that time he was married, had two children and worked as a teacher of English in a public high school. When he trusted Christ, he already had a class of his students/disciples. He did not have to travel far to find his ministry focus group. This took place in 2000 and since then Hleb became the Hlebinator2000.
Soon after trusting in Christ, Hleb started working with teenagers at a high school ministry called Generation. One snowy winter day, he met Hal Hays from California and spent a lot of time persuading him to join Generation in doing summer projects. Since then, Hleb and Hal have been partners and friends.
In 2011, when Encouragement Intl started expanding, Hleb was offered to become the Director of Translation. Since then Hal and Hleb have traveled in France, Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal and Belarus together. Hleb’s responsibility has been not only translating during seminars, but also coordinating with other pastors and ministers in Slavic churches in Europe.
In 2015 Hleb was invited to lead a missionary church plant in Albufeira, Portugal. He and his family (wife Sasha and eight kids) moved to Albufeira and lead a small church plant where Hleb is serving as a pastor. Meanwhile, he still continues to participate at EII activities in Europe as a translator and cultural advisor/coordinator.
Hleb is EII’s Director of Translators and translates Hal, Pat and Jim during the seminars, as well as providing public relations with the ministry leaders in Eastern and Western Europe. This entails:
- Making initial contacts and establishing relationships with ministry leaders in Europe through consistent electronic communication and personal visitation
- Maintaining these relationships with the leaders and making plans for future ministry projects.
- Providing a trusted spiritual environment to share needs and frustrations
- Translating materials for the seminars.
- Finding appropriate literature and making it available for ministry leaders in Europe.
- Arranging travel plans on the other side of the Atlantic
- Translating during the seminars in Europe.
- Overseeing other part-time translators used on occasion by EII.
This position as Director of Translators opened a door at the end of 2015 for Hleb to serve as EII’s missionary in Portugal as a pastor to the Slavic Evangelical Church in Albufeira, Portugal. He leads this little church plant providing the preaching/teaching of the Word, mentoring, discipleship, and counseling. This entails:
- Teaching God’s Word by preaching on Sundays and leading mid-week Bible studies
- Making personal home visits (for discipleship and mentoring) of church members made necessary by the odd working schedules for Russian speaking residents of this region of Portugal.
- Representing the church in Albufeira at the Union of Slavic churches of Portugal as a part of the Pastors’ Council.