As a child, Steven Durst’s life felt out of control. “My childhood was a mess filled with confusion and uncertainty,” stated Steven. “I felt unsure and insecure regarding my future. Always moving around, I never knew where I would go next or who I would be with.”
Steven was born in a struggling, post-Soviet Russia in 1996. After his father died, his mother, unable to raise Steven by herself, left her four-year-old boy at an orphanage. For the next three years, Steven moved from orphanage to orphanage. In 2003, an organization brought him and a group of older-aged orphans, who were considered less likely to be adopted, to the United States in hopes they might find a family.
The Durst family had no plans to adopt another child. They already had a five-year-old adopted son and two older girls of their own, who were starting their adult journeys. The Dursts hoped to encourage other families that were looking into the adoption process. That was until seven-year-old Steven literally ran across their path, at which point Mrs. Durst knew Steven was supposed to be part of their family.
The American Nightmare
For the first year, they were one big happy family living the American dream. Soon, the dream would turn into a nightmare. He and his brother constantly fought for their parents’ approval. At home and school, Steven was argumentative, angry, and usually in trouble. It seemed he would do whatever he could to push away anyone that tried to care for him. His parents didn’t know what to do.
No matter how hard he tried to be good, problems kept happening. How could he make amends for things he didn’t remember doing? If he was the problem, then he reasoned the only thing he could do to fix it was to leave. In his mind, if he was gone, then the Dursts would no longer have any problems. He didn’t need anyone, he could take care of himself.
Unwanted & Unlovable
After his third attempt at running away, the Durst family knew that Steven needed help beyond what they alone could provide. They had tried therapy, tried a Boys Home, and even a special care facility. Nothing worked. Knowing of their struggle, a counselor recommended Show-Me Christian Youth Home.
Things wouldn’t magically change for 12-year-old Steven. On the outside, he came across as a combative ‘know-it-all’ teen. On the inside was the same anxious, depressed orphan, whose survival instincts worked overdrive to push anyone away before they could leave and hurt him.
Year by year, God would chip away at the lies that had bound Steven. He had believed that he was unwanted, unlovable, and could trust only himself. That is why no one wanted him in Russia. That is why his Durst family sent him away. It would only be a matter of time before Show-Me came to the same conclusion. Yet, there was something different about Show-Me that he couldn’t explain.
Transformed Inside and Out
As Steven recounted, “it was through the ceaseless love, care, dedication, and the model demonstrated by the workers and volunteers at Show-Me that started the transformation of my life. By their example, I began to recognize their reflection of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In 2011, Steven came to the realization that he could not do it on his own. He needed a Savior. He gave his life to Jesus Christ and was baptized. “Because of the Spirit of the Lord, I was able to break free from the lies and chains that were holding me down,” stated Steven.
Over the next few years, Steven would become a new creation – inside and out. Knowing Christ would never fail or leave him, he began to trust others. He no longer resisted guidance. While he still faced occasional stumbles, he now sought his Show-Me family’s counsel to overcome these challenges. Their wisdom was especially helpful as he began to prepare and walk into his adult life.
Through the Path to Purpose program and conversations with some of his Show-Me family, who had served in the military, Steven realized the benefits of a military career. He thrived in the structure and routine of Show-Me. Military life would strengthen that discipline. After graduation in 2015, Steven enlisted in the Air Force.
Over the next six years, he served as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Launch and Recovery Sensor Operator, flying the MQ-9 Reaper. He completed six tours in Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Italy, Afghanistan, and Niger before leaving the Air Force in January of 2022 as a Senior Airman.
Steven invested and saved enough of his salary to buy a house and start classes at the University of Las Vegas Business School. Today, he is working toward a degree in finance and operates his own YouTube finance channel.
Chosen & Beloved
Looking back, Steven realizes God was in control the whole time. He isn’t unwanted; he was chosen by his Durst and Show-Me families. He isn’t unlovable; he is loved so much that the King of Kings died for him; he is so loved that his parents made some of the hardest decisions of their lives so that he could have the best chance possible.
“The greatest act of help we can offer to those in need is to direct them, not towards worldly solutions, but to Jesus Christ,” reminds Steven. “That is why Show-Me is successful in transforming lives because they point to Jesus, who is able to change you from the inside out and make you a new creation.”
–Shoe-Me Christian Youth Home | Join our Prayer Partner List to receive bi-monthly and urgent prayer requests. Call 660-347-5982 or sign up at www.ShowMeHelpingKids.com