Gennady Mikhailov is a church planter and pastor in the Irkutsk region of Siberia. Together with the fellowship of pastors there, Gennady is also working in evangelism and church planting among the many surrounding villages and cities. HeartCry began supporting Gennady in April of 2012.
TESTIMONY OF CONVERSION
I was born into a family of unbelievers, where Russian Orthodox traditions and holidays were observed, but God was never worshiped in a way that the Scriptures dictate.
God began speaking to me in 1986. I had taken a new job in a place where there was one believer who was an employee. Through him, God gave me the opportunity to become more familiar with the teaching of the Bible. I began to read the New Testament along with some spiritual literature, and I asked a lot of questions to believers with whom I came into contact. I was interested in talking about God and everything related to Him. Occasionally, I would also visit a Baptist church in Irkutsk.
Despite my new-found interest in knowing about God, I did not truly know Him. I continued to lead a godless way of life. I was a guitar player in a rock band and enjoyed immensely the life-style that came with it. I sinned and drew pleasure from it, even though I had a clear understanding that such a life was displeasing to God and that I should not live in such a way. At that time, I came very close to divorcing my wife, despite the fact that we already had two children. I was extremely argumentative and prideful. My proud heart was hindering my life and created many problems. This made things quite miserable.
Finally, one night, by God’s grace, He intervened in a special way. I remember that night very distinctly. I returned home from a rock band rehearsal. I was drunk and had a big argument with my wife. I locked myself away from her in the kitchen and had my dinner alone. On the wall in front of me was a small calendar with Bible verses and short commentaries for each day – it was a gift from believers. I would forget to keep the days current for weeks at a time, and I noticed then that the calendar was out of date. I got up from the table to remove some of the old pages, but a verse from Isaiah 48 caught my eye. It was verse 18:
“Oh, that you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
God spoke to me through this verse. I read the text over and over again, and it resonated in my mind. It wasn’t an audible voice, but rather, somewhere inside. I understood then that it was God calling me, and for the first time in my life I knelt down and asked God to change my life and my heart. He broke me of my desire for sin and brought me to repentance before Him.
I woke up the next morning with a headache because of the alcohol, but I distinctly remembered the night before and my prayer. Moreover, I immediately noticed that there was a change inside me. The voice of my conscience became much louder. I could no longer tolerate the very things I could do and say the day before. I somehow instantly stopped cursing. I reconciled with my wife and began eagerly waiting for Sunday to come so that I could go to meet with the other believers. My life began to change radically. I left the band and abandoned the music career. I am now a completely different man!
CALL TO MINISTRY
Iwas baptized by faith in 1990 and became a member of a church in Irkutsk. God continued to work in me, and I was ordained to be a deacon in that church in 1998. By that time, I was already preaching from the pulpit occasionally and participating in missionary trips and evangelism throughout Siberia and the Irkutsk region.
In 2000, I graduated from Bible school, and our church started a new church plant in a different part of the city. I was involved from the very beginning of this church and was appointed as pastor in 2004. Looking back on my past life, I am grateful to God for the way that He has led me. I am thankful for all the joys and griefs, successes and failures. Today I am filled with a desire to serve our Lord and to serve Him from the heart.