Ilie pastors the church in Rosa Stanca that has had an impact in the suburbs of Cernauti. He is an itinerant preacher among the Ukrainian, Russian and Romanian churches from the Ukraine and travels each year to visit the three churches he planted in the area of Ulan-Ude, Siberia. Ilie and his wife, have three children.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born on the 18th of July 1965. My father and mother were Christians. From my childhood, I knew about God and the narrow path. The Bible was always on our table, and from time to time, I would read from it.
I was always going to the Evangelical Church with my parents, but my behavior at school and with my friends was no different than the rest of the world. When I was about nine years old, I began to have a great fear of death. I knew that if something happened to me, I would go straight to hell. At home, I was a little saint with my parents, but on the street, I was changing completely. I knew that I had to be a believer, but I did not repent.
At the age of fourteen, I lost my desire for going to the church. Often, before I went to bed, I heard my name in my parents’ prayers. Once, my father was very tough on me and he convinced me that I had to go to the church again. I listened to my father and God gave me a thirst for His Word again.
When I was sixteen, I received my identity card, which gave me the right to work. For this reason, I left my village and lived in the town where I also attended church. There, my inner fight really began. It lasted about one year. But then, on my seventeenth birthday, I saw the great need to repent. For the next week, the devil created a great storm inside my soul, but things finally calmed down. On the 25th of July 1982, I received the Lord in my heart. A year later, I was baptized. Then with young people from my church, I started to minister for the Lord. Shortly afterwards, I was called into the army for two years of service. When I returned home, I gave myself to the ministry of the youth. This ministry lasted until May 1989.
In the summer of 1988, the doors of freedom were opened. In February 1989, a missionary who ministered for two years by himself in the Cita Region of Siberia visited our church. He told us about the missionary activity in Siberia, about the lack of workers, and about the new possibilities of serving. In May 1989, two of my friends and I went to spy out the land. We had never seen such spiritual poverty. In a city of 350,000 people, there was only one church of fifteen people. The youngest sister in the church was more than fifty years old and there was only one brother who was eighty-two. The missionary was very tired because he had seen almost no results after working for two years in loneliness. I came back home and I started to fast and pray about serving in Siberia. I received approval from my parents and my church to go to Siberia, and in September of 1989, my two friends and I entered the ministry. Siberia was a long distance from home, approximately 5000 miles.
For one year, we all worked in the city of Cita. We baptized six people – one of them is now my wife. We were married in September 1990. After a week of marriage, we left Cita and went further into Siberia, to the city of Silca. It had a population of about 30,000 people and a small church of five sisters between the ages of sixty and seventy. We lived there for nine years. For eight years, I served as pastor of the church in Silca, and also ministered in the surrounding villages.
We left Siberia and came back to Cernauti, Ukraine in May of 1999. We left behind four churches. Here are some statistics:
- Silca (pop. 30,000) – 27 members;
- Nercinsk (pop. 35,000) – 28 members;
- Peronaisk: (pop. 24,000) – 23 members;
- Cocui (pop. 18,000) – 8 members;
- Other villages and cities where groups of two or three remained.
In total, we left behind us almost ninety believers and ten men who were serving as missionaries. Also, in the city of Cita, God raised up workers who are still living and working for His glory. This thing makes us very glad. God did all these through us, although we do not deserve His mercy.
Starting with the year of 2000, I became pastor of the church, “The Rock of Salvation” in the city of Cernauti. Because the brother in charge of this work left for the States, I was called to reorganize and transform the group into a local church. For two years, with God’s help, I worked with the believers to organize them into a church. I taught them to work without waiting for anyone’s help. I also taught them to have a vision for the future, and to give of themselves and their resources to advance the Kingdom of Heaven.
In September of 2002, the new church was inaugurated. Since that time we have also started works in other villages such as Zavoloca. Our church is also helping at rehabilitation centers and children orphanages. The collaboration with HeartCry gives me the possibility of widening our ministry. I thank the Lord for all that He has given us. I also ask Him for power, health, wisdom and a good vision to serve Him.