Ivan is from Kirovo-Chepetsk. He is the second child in his family: his sister is 22 years old (she is a college student taking distant education program in accounting) and his brother is 11 (he is a high school student). When Ivan’s brother was born, their father left the family. He is not supporting his ex-wife and his children. Ivan’s mother works as a crane-operator at construction sites.
After completing high school, Ivan entered a technical college and studied there for three years. While technical schools are not considered very prestigious, students do develop some professional skills there. Ivan’s specialization was turning. He was one of the top students, receiving prizes from professional competitions during the years of his stidu. He went through an internship program at one of the best factories in the town (a placement he received because of his high academic and professional achievements). After graduation, Ivan was invited by Moscow University of Steel and Alloys to continue his education. But Ivan did not accept. “I didn’t accept the invitation because I realized turning is not the area of my interests,” he explains.
During Ivan’s youth, his mother attended Bible Study groups and a Baptist church. She advised Ivan to participate in the youth program there. Ivan liked to memorize verses and enjoyed the games, sports and other activities of the program. He became interested and started attending the same church his mother attended. Soon he joined the church choir and spent some time in Christian camps. Ivan repented in December 2000. “In the church they spoke about a certain modified life, about such kind of life which will please God,” he says. “When I came to the youth group I saw guys my age who spoke and sang about God. I saw that modified life in those young people; I saw lives committed to God. When I repented, I realized that repentance was a turning point and I should live not for myself but for God.”
Last year, Ivan helped another church to build its own building in a small town not far from Kirovo-Chepetsk. The director of the church choir (she is also Ivan’s counselor) describes him: “When Ivan was a college student, he was actively involved in all school activities – both professional and social. He is really outstanding because he is not a sluggish and indifferent person, but inquisitive and active. Ivan is very sociable and friendly, kind and always ready to help.” In Kirovo-Chepetsk, Ivan was also a member of the City Youth Council.
“I like RACU first of all because of the Christian atmosphere here,” Ivan says. “Students respect each other. We can share our personal experience with each other, and we have wonderful fellowship. I know here I’ll get good education, education that I really need. After my graduation, I want to have a job that will glorify the Lord. And it would be much better if my work will be my ministry. And, though many people dream of living in Moscow, it doesn’t matter where I will live. My place is where God puts me.”