Pastor Ivan is am imposing figure. He is one of the biggest Russian men I have ever met. From the time you first lay your eyes on Pastor Ivan, you can tell that he is a man of great influence. You would be a fool to mess with Pastor Ivan. Pastor Ivan is a huge Russian pastor, and his story is absolutely amazing!
Even from his childhood, Pastor Ivan was larger than life. And due to his imposing figure and personality, he was a leader from the beginning. When the old Soviet Union collapsed, he was merely twenty-years-old. As the communist system gave way, the Russian mafia quickly filled the void left by the old communist system.
The leaders of the Russian mafia quickly saw Ivan’s talent to lead. By the mid nineties, Ivan was running the local mafia in his town. While he was the local mafia leader, his girl friend became a Christian, and he didn’t like the person she was becoming. So one day, he found out when his girl friend was going to church and he decided that he would show up at church to “straighten out” the pastor who messing up his life.
As Ivan sat in the church waiting for the pastor to show up, the church began filling up with people. Before he knew it there were over 700 people at church, and he decided it would be best to wait until the end before he “straightened out” the pastor because he says, "I can take on quite a few people, but 700 is even too many for me."
As Ivan sat listening to the praise and the sermon, something crazy was happening. Something inside him, a part of his life that he didn’t even know existed, came to life. His soul was awakened and the words began drawing him to an irresistible force. The pastor gave the call to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and before he realized what was happening, with tears streaming down his face, Ivan found himself marching to the front of the church to confess his sins and take his place in the Kingdom of God.
The mafia leader who went to church to “straighten out” the pastor ended up getting straightened out. Today Pastor Ivan, instead of ruling people with fear, is a Presbyterian pastor who leads people to discover their place in God’s kingdom.