Senior Russian international student and computer engineering major Mikhail Beresnev leads in the growth of Walla Walla University’s student-led ReNew Sabbath school.
Beresnev was born in Russia’s fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg. He was raised in a traditional Seventh-day Adventist home and his father was the head pastor of his local church. In 2009, his family made a life-changing move to the United States. At the age of 8, Beresnev and his family landed in the tropical state of Hawaii, and shortly thereafter moved from Hawaii to New York before travelling to their final destination in Washington state.
As a child, Beresnev aspired to become a pastor or elder of a church just like his father. Little did he know, this role within the church would come in the form of becoming a Sabbath school leader for university students joined in the pursuit of fellowship and worship.
“Our mission is to build a strong community that seeks to further their understanding of God and of our beliefs,” Beresnev stated.
Beresnev currently serves as the leader of ReNew Sabbath school by providing weekly student-focused Bible lessons. The program is held in the Havstad Alumni Center, where students enjoy morning breakfast, followed by praise and worship. The congregation is then split up into smaller groups to discuss a variety of biblical texts and lessons led out by Beresnev himself. Students can then share their own perspectives based on the teachings and theological interpretations of the Bible.
He described his journey in becoming an active leader within the ReNew Sabbath school program by saying, “I really like to get into theological topics and the first Sabbath school I actually ever tried was the theologian Sabbath school. However, [with] my inexperience in theological topics, I wasn’t able to contribute as much. Then I found ReNew Sabbath school, which provides more equal opportunity for students to contribute in discussion.”
ReNew holds annual services in the foothills of Walla Walla and quarterly game nights hosted by theology professor Dr. Brant Berglin. These are just a few of the fun and interactive ways that students can get involved at ReNew Sabbath school.
Beresnev invites all students to join in the weekly discussions and praise at ReNew Sabbath school held at the Havstad Alumni Center on Saturday mornings from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., encouraging students to become a part of a student-focused and faith-based community here at WWU. 
Interview Mikhail Beresnev, 5/11/2023.