By Vyacheslav Koshkodan
At the age of 16, I was a rocker who listened to Nirvana and Metallica, had long hair, and wore torn clothing. I spent my nights at a dancehall, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana in my small hometown in the former Soviet republic of Moldova.
Then a Seventh-day Adventist church member took an interest in me. He didn’t condemn me but instead spoke about his love for Jesus. He often asked me, “Have you read the Bible?”
Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com
After a while, I began to wonder why this guy wanted me to read the Bible. One evening I took a Bible with me to the dancehall and began to read. It was like a fairy tale to me, and I didn’t take it seriously. But I kept reading, and something strange happened. My life began to change. Things that I once liked were no longer exciting to me. One night I looked around the dance floor and thought, “What are you doing here?” I went home and never returned.
At home, I continued reading the Bible. I asked the church member many questions, and I began to keep the Sabbath.
Soon I enrolled in the university to study medicine in Moldova’s capital, Chi?inau. We had classes six days a week, Monday through Saturday, but I told the dean that I couldn’t study on Saturday. He replied that I should change my major.
At home, I fell on my knees and prayed, “God, if You want me to become a doctor, help me at school.” As I prayed, the idea came to me to speak directly to the teacher who taught the Saturday classes. I told him about my beliefs, and he gave permission to make up my schoolwork on another day.
When I graduated six years later, my classmates looked at me with respect. They said, “You came to classes only five days a week but you have better marks than us. How is that possible?”
I told them, “I am learning from God, and He is my teacher.” But really, God is more than my teacher. He has made me into a new person.
Today, I’m 33 and the father of three. In addition to being a physician, I’m a pastor and the health director for the Adventist Church in Moldova.
Anything is possible with Jesus. If Jesus could change me, He can change anyone.
Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in fourth quarter 2017 helped turn a Soviet-era health resort into a Pathfinder camp and conference center in Moldova. Thank you for your mission offerings.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at www.adventistmission.org
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