I stood on the gray street in the center of Moscow, amidst the colorless stream of people rushing about their business. Big Dream contract was signed, and soon, here in the capital of my world, on the best street, the House of Fashion with my name would open. It seemed that after the French competition Nina Ricci for young designers, all my boldest hopes suddenly turned into reality! But why do I feel emptiness in my heart? It's as if you've been playing a computer game for a long time with excitement, and at the very end, when you finally win, nothing special happens. Was I born just to spend the next 40 years coming up with new dresses: blue, red, white? A bright sign with my name will appear on the fashionable street. And then what? Colorless boredom spread in my soul like poison... I was desperately searching for meaning of life... After all, I'm doing this for my family, for my daughter who needs a good education... But will she need it when she grows up? We always try to deceive our own heart, which desperately craves genuine purpose.
May be at that moment God looked at me and smiled! Just a few months later, Christ entered my life, and everything changed.
I was born in the USSR, in my family of communists, no one ever spoke about God. I remember the glistening streets of Riga covered in autumn fog, the green Latvian forests, where my dad and I chased deer in Soviet "jeep" - a little GAZ car - hoping to spot them among the bushes. I remember my mother's dresses, the scent of French perfume and powder in her bedroom - my mom is a true beauty. My youth was the rustling of book pages in the library, where I spent days on end, the silence of exhibition halls with strict Latvian paintings and ceramics. It's the smell of paints in the studio of my painting teacher, Janis Simpson, and the silvery Latvian sky in the windows of the studio under the roof. It's the deep sound of the Black Sea and the radiance of the peaks of the Caucasus mountains in Sochi, where I lived every summer, enjoying my grandmother's care and my dreamer and doer grandfather's friendship. It's all with me forever, a gift given to us by our loving parents and God's present. But despite the beautiful childhood, I always felt an emptiness deep in my soul. Re-reading hundreds of complex books, studying great masters' art, I painfully sought the truth, the meaning of life. And I wanted to create, to make something beautiful that would touch people's hearts and make this world better.
One summer day in our spacious apartment on the Volga riverbank, the doorbell rang, and there stood a long-haired, red-haired guy in a striped sailor shirt, matching his hip nickname, Boatswain. As young intellectuals and nonconformists, my husband and I befriended the most unexpected people. One day, even the legendary BG - the famous singer and rock star Boris Grebenshchikov - came to visit us with his band Aquarium. Our little daughter Alice thought he was a real pirate, and local BG fans created something like an altar in our stairwell after his visit, quietly worshipping there for years, smoking and humming his songs.
Boatswain loudly announced that we absolutely had to meet these amazing Americans and attend their incredible conference, especially since we would be accommodated for free in a fabulous Moscow hotel. What a brilliant idea came to the Florida preacher Bob Weiner, to rent a hotel in Moscow and invite 1000 young people from all over the USSR for free, so they could hear about Christ, perhaps for the first time in their lives. Friends, if you prayed and donated money for preaching the Gospel in the USSR, I want to say a big thank you. God uses unconventional ways and opens completely unexpected doors so that those who seek Him can find Him.
Meanwhile, work on my House of Fashion in Moscow was in full swing, and we were soon preparing to move. So enyway I needed to travel to Moscow for business matters.