From despair to joy!

Igor was born in 1990 in Moldova. These days he serves God with OM in Bar, Montenegro. He loves to share how knowing Jesus fills him with eternal joy and purpose – because Igor’s younger life was marred by emptiness and the fear of death. This is his story:

I grew up in Moldova in an Orthodox family, although we didn’t talk about God very much. Still, I remember being troubled since childhood by life’s biggest questions: How and why did man come on earth? Why do people die? Is it possible for me to not die, but live forever?

I used to think quite often about death; I hated it so much, knowing that one day I would die too. But I did not want to die; I wanted to live forever! Searching for answers about death, I came to the conclusion that it is inescapable, and the only reality in life. I even began questioning whether God existed. I would look up to the sky, and not seeing God there, I concluded He didn’t exist. As a result, I began to feel an emptiness in my soul, because I could not find a meaning in this life. Why try to achieve anything on this earth – I will die anyway?

Due to my inner emptiness, I started drinking a lot of alcohol, and to live without any sense of purpose. But God cared about me, so when I was 18, He blessed me with a Christian friend. His name was Vitalie. He kept telling me that God existed and that there is eternal life. I liked hearing all of this, because I hated death and I had a huge desire to live eternally. So I continued to listen to what Vitalie was telling me about eternal life. At the same time, I could not believe that what he was saying was real and true. I had little faith, I could not see God, and thus I could not believe in Him.

Despite my stubbornness, Vitalie never gave up, and continued talking about God and eternal life. One evening, when I was nearly 19, he took me along to a prayer meeting at his church. When I entered the church, I was amazed by the atmosphere. People were singing, praying and crying before God. I wondered how they could believe in God, and how they could pray in such a way as if there really was someone listening to their prayers!

I began to pray as well, and I said: “God, if you exist, do something to prove it to me. If you do, I will believe in You and will dedicate my life to You.” After I prayed, I was thinking, “If God truly exists and He is in this church, then something special should happen and I will believe. But if nothing happens, then God doesn’t exist.” So I sat waiting for something to happen, with this huge expectation in my heart. I desperately wanted God to be real and do something so that I could believe.

However, nothing happened after my prayer and I felt so discouraged. I decided that God doesn’t exist and that I would never come to this church again! But right at that moment when I was fighting with my thoughts, deep in my discouragement and disappointment, I heard these words: “You called Me and here I am. I love you and I want to make you one of My children. If I come today, are you ready to come and meet me?” I felt a strong power of God through these words in my whole being. I began to shake and I burst into tears. In that very moment, I received these revelations:

  1. God exists and is more real than any other physical object.
  2. God knows everything about me, from my birth and up until today; He knows my thoughts, my deeds, my feelings, my fears, my sins, and absolutely everything!
  3. I saw that God is holy, holy, and holy! I am dirty, dirty, and dirty with sin.
  4. I felt that even though I am sinful and dirty, God loves me and is ready to receive me with arms wide open.

After this experience, I testified to the whole church that I believe in God, and that I want to dedicate my life to Him!

I remember when Vitalie and I came out of the church, I had an indescribable joy. I had never been so happy before! My joy is in this truth: God exists! He has forgiven me, and I will have eternal life with Him in heaven! I also recall how I turned to Vitalie and told him: “you know… I have such a feeling of being alive, as if only now I began to live!” It was a strange feeling for me, but a wonderful one. When I started to read the Bible, I learned that all people are dead in their sin, but they receive true life when they come to Jesus. From that day, God changed my life and made me a worshipper in the Spirit and in truth, worshipping the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ!

Igor’s background means he understands the disillusion which leads many Montenegrins to reject conventional ‘religion’ altogether, or to look to ‘alternative’ spiritualities. And as Igor boldly shares his story of how meeting God personally freed him from a life of sin, fear and emptiness, and filled him with eternal joy and hope, it is stirring hearts and conversations amongst the people he meets. Please pray that the Lord leads Igor to share his story with those who truly seek Him.

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