How I Understood the Gospel After Fifteen Years in Church – Stefan’s Story

Mar 31, 2015 1432

L-R Eliezer Gonzalez, Stefan Vladimir, his daughter, Philip Rodionoff

L-R Eliezer Gonzalez, Stefan Vladimir, his daughter, Philip Rodionoff

My name is Stefan Vladimir. I was born and raised in the Poltava region of Ukraine. I have been an electrical mechanic all my working life.

When my first wife divorced me, I remarried and started a second family with a lady from my village whom I had known from school.

My second wife started attending a Christian church, and then, fifteen years ago, she was baptised. At first I was afraid, because I didn’t understand what Christianity was – I even thought her life might be in danger. So to protect my wife, I started attending church as well. After several visits to the church, I calmed down, and approved of my wife going to church. Then our daughter was born and they had good classes for children at the church. She liked it, and I was pleased.

However, I had a big problem. Although I had been attending church with my wife for more than fifteen years, I could not understand the Bible at all. I tried several times to start reading it, but I found it extremely difficult to grasp its meaning and understand what it was saying.

When Dr Gonzalez and Dr Rodionoff arrived, my wife was invited to attend their meetings, so I went along with her, as I often did. I am very glad I did. I did not miss a single lecture. My daughter, who is twelve years old, also attended many of the meetings and she was very happy to be given a Bible as a gift at one of the meetings. I was also given a modern Russian translation of the New Testament, which I appreciate very much because it is easier to understand.


Baptismal candidates with Stefan on the right.

I was surprised to discover at the meetings by the Australian evangelists that what the Bible says can be confirmed by history and archaeology, and that science is not necessarily inconsistent with the Bible. And more importantly, as I listened to their presentations, for the first time the message of the Bible became clear to me. They introduced me to Jesus, and the Bible now became an relevant and important book for my personal life.


Stefan being baptised


When there was a call for baptism, I did not immediately agree. I was scared and I did not know how it worked and what was expected of me. I saw that a lot of people wanted to be baptised, and I was even worried about the cleanliness of the pool!

When a pastor asked me if I was going to be baptised, I said to him, “No! It’s not hygienic!” He said to me, “No problem, you can be baptised first.” He also gave me a video of a baptism so I could see how it was done.

After I saw the video I calmed down and made my decision. Yes! I would give my life to Jesus Christ through baptism.

The day of my baptism was a happy day for me.

I had known about religion for more than fifteen years, but the main reason why I was baptised was because of the presentations of Dr Gonzalez and Dr Rodionoff. Finally I could understand the Bible, and I knew that I could trust it. And when I understood the Bible, I understood the gospel. Now I know that God loves me.

– Stefan Vladimir, Poltava, Ukraine

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