The Testimony of Igor Shaposhnikov:
I was born in the Soviet Union when being Jewish was something that would hamper you from getting a good education or a decent job. Anti-Semitism was widespread and we had to hide our Jewish names replacing them with more traditional Slavic names. On the street they would swear at you if you looked Jewish. Any religion except for the Orthodox one was forbidden. My family was Jewish by nationality but atheist by faith.
In school we were taught that religion was only for old babushkas (old ladies). I remember being proud that all of my relatives were modern enough not to believe in God.
The goals that were set for us in life were for us to be decent people and be ready to participate in the great task of building a happy Communist future in our country and all over the world. I never understood though the fact that all people die and disappear into thin air. The thought of it gave me shivers and made me wake up in the middle of the night. It seemed unfair and unreasonable. My family upbringing would give me more incentives to live for; like getting a University diploma, marrying a nice (preferably Jewish) lady and enjoying the time with my kids. I had been looking though for something else that would explain to me my purpose of living on this Earth.
When the iron curtain of Communism had fallen down the missionaries started coming to an independent Ukraine. I had a chance of owning my first Bible. At first glance it seemed quite boring to read as it was difficult to follow what it was talking about. I also started reading some books on psychology and philosophy with the hope of finding something that would satisfy my spiritual needs.
I felt that the Bible was not really the right book for me. I thought that Christians hated Jews for killing their Jesus. Then there came the day in 1991 when I met people street preaching in downtown in downtown Kharkov and mentioning Jews and Christ at the same time. I immediately got interested and came by them. It was the first time in my life when I found out that Jesus, His apostles and the Bible itself - all of it was 100% Jewish. I tried to listen even more carefully and I found out that I was a sinner and I was going to die as a punishment for my sins. It was bad news but quiet logical. Then the preacher shared with me the good news about the Messiah who came to the Earth to save me and give me eternal life in Heaven.
They asked me to pray and repent then. I could hardly believe in it but I wanted from all my heart all this information to be true! I also liked the loving and caring eyes of the missionary who was witnessing to me. It has been the most important moment of my life as I see it now. My prayer was only the beginning! It took quite a while for me to say goodbye to my former life...There was a moment when I prayed again and I said that my life did not belong to me anymore but to my personal Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ.
He has blessed me with a lovely family, a gospel preaching church and a decent job. I am involved in different ministries that I also treasure as another gift from the Lord to me. I love Jesus, He is real in my life, and He is the answer to all my questions and desires of my soul!
This testimony first appeared in the publication of The Everlasting Nation - March/April 2011. Reposted with permission.
Image updated on 01-14-2014 supplied by Igor Shaposhnikov.