Finding the Ultimate Architect

Ilya Shchetinin

One World Challenge scholarship student shares how he went from a prospective architect to ministry leader.

I’m from Oregon City, outside Portland. Life was normal, going the usual route until this guy named Stan who was a Summit graduate married someone at my church. Whenever he was speaking, I noticed something different about him, so I finally approached him and said, “Hey, we should talk.”

Stan looked me in the eye for a solid 30 seconds, saying nothing, and I was thinking, What’s going on right now? I just said I wanted to talk.

Then he offered to hang out. We talked about life, and he eventually became my mentor. In a lot of ways, he encouraged me to think differently about God. 

Falling Apart

At the time, I was in a charter high school where if you were doing well, they put you into a college program. Architecture was where I was headed, and part of the program was to get an internship in your field.

I landed an interview with a good company in Portland. It seemed like the perfect opportunity. Long story short, everything was golden. I knew what I wanted. I could see my future.

At the same time, though, I was also being mentored by Stan and that was making me start to factor in questions like ‘What does God want me to do?’ for the first time.

After the interview, I went out to lunch with a couple people from the company, and we started to talk about the future and schools and what my next step was going to be. After lunch, though, I prayed, “God, if this is not your will, just let it fall completely apart.”

Well, I’m here right now, so you know how that went! 

Leaving Home

The architecture internship fell through, but at the time I was thinking, “Hey, this is just a little bump in the road. I’m going back to school. I can figure this out on my own. I don’t need this company. Forget them.”

Once I was back in class, though, nothing was working out there either.

I couldn’t concentrate in class. I’d been a good student, but all of a sudden, I just wasn’t there mentally. Then it hit my heart that God wanted me somewhere else.

I graduated from high school but dropped out college. Without knowing how exactly to explain it, I knew God was going to tell me what to do next.

An opportunity opened up for me to go on a mission trip to northeast India, near the border of China; so I packed my bags and went to Jorhat Assam for two months. After that, I came back right in time to send in my application to Summit.

I got the acceptance letter, worked through the summer, then sold everything I had and came across the country. 

Rediscovering a Dream

One of the greatest things God’s shown me here is his love for me.

I grew up in a situation where the image of God became really distorted in my head. I really didn’t understand who he was, and I especially didn’t see him as my father oras a loving father. 

Realizing the importance of a relationship with God is changing my life and redefining what I want and how I plan for the future.

Nothing has been full-on revealed to me, but there are definitely some hopes and dreams on my heart, and not only for me but for my classmates.

We sat down one day and wrote a bunch of ideas down about what our communities are and how we could start changing them.

One of our passions is music, and mine is certainly art and design. Both of those are typically very secular fields, and we want to start creating a different culture around them. First, we want to start out as a coffee shop, but eventually, we want to open up a center for Christian arts.

Impact the community and then impact the world; we have no idea how this is going to be possible, but it’s there. 

A dream, a passion, and all the people who want to make a difference.