Co-Founder & Counselor, Renewal
"God ordained all the circumstances, and I simply made the step of faith to follow."
As a child growing up in Siberia, Russia, Marina Kuzmina never would have imagined Regent University, or America, would play a part in her life. Now as a Regent graduate, Marina muses at how “the impossible” was made possible.
Marina accepted Christ as a fifth-grader when a pastor was allowed to speak at her school after the fall of communism. At age 14, she prayed for God to reveal His purposes in her life. “God spoke to my heart about the outcasts, the lost of society,” she recalls.
A few years later, 18-year-old Marina felt that pull again when Emory DeBusk Jr., a Regent graduate, traveled overseas to begin a ministry to addicts. When Marina met him she felt certain that his plan to establish a recovery program in Russia was her plan too. She quickly became an integral part of his ministry, training the board, staff and student residents.
In 2006, Marina's mentor and friend tragically died of a pulmonary embolism. “Emory was like family to my family,” Marina reflects. “I trained and translated for him for nearly five years.”
Always having admired her mentor's education, DeBusk's sister encouraged Marina to attend Regent to acquire the same degree in psychology and counseling that he had. “That's impossible,” Marina replied. “You're not Russian; you don't understand.”
However, after flying to America to deliver DeBusk's ashes, she hesitantly decided to meet with Regent's admissions director. Ultimately, she received a full scholarship and began a three-year program in August 2007. Because one Regent graduate traveled to the other side of the world to share a life-giving ministry, another life was inspired to walk in his footsteps.
After graduating, Marina joined with two other Regent graduates to open a neurotherapy and counseling practice in Virginia Beach called Renewal. “During my internship in Newport News, I saw so many lives change,” she explains. “God put it on our hearts to open a practice in Hampton Roads.”
Realizing how rare Russian counselors are, Marina believes she is also uniquely equipped to work with families involved in international adoptions. “Children who come over here have many difficulties adjusting … I can speak their language, help them relate and open up more,” she states.
She thanks God for the opportunities He has given her. "He has opened door after door, and I just walked through them."