Church Planter / Pastor - Sullana, Peru
Ivan graduated from a Bible academy in the Dominican Republic and is now serving as the pastor of the church Jesus is the Only Hope in Sullana, Peru.
I come from a dysfunctional home. My mother is a Christian, but my father is not. From a very young age my mother took me to church with her and I have always been surrounded by Christian friends. However, even though I attended church for many years, I was never actually a Christian.
At the age of 17, I heard a message of salvation that was very different from what I had been accustomed to hearing. The Gospel that was preached was new to me, and it was through this sermon that the Lord saved me.
The fact that I had grown up in the church gave me the mistaken idea that I was saved. I never drank or went to parties, and I believed that I was a good person. However, in the Scriptures I found the story of The Rich Young Ruler, of Nicodemus , and of others. God made me understand that I had to be born again.
So, the Lord saved me, called me, and moved me to repentance. I knew that He had chosen me. After this, my understanding of sin and the way I thought about it changed radically, and I separated myself from it. Daily I am coming to know God more, and as I learn more about His holiness, I am more aware of just how sinful I am.
I understood that salvation does not depend on people, but on God himself. I know this because he gives me this testimony; his Spirit teaches and guides me each day, and I see that salvation is more than just the simple appearance of piety. I am thankful to God for his mercy.
In 2003 I was taking classes in order be able to study Civil Construction. During that summer I attended a youth conference and there God gave me the desire to be fully committed to serve him in the ministry. I gave up my career and got involved at the seminary in Sullana. I graduated in 2009, and I can say that ever since I decided to serve the Lord He has never failed to provide for my needs.
The Lord has used several people to create and greatly increase my love for the ministry. I know that God has called me to serve in this ministry, and since I have begun to serve him, I have lacked nothing and I still have not lost the joy of serving him and delighting in him.