I was born in the Ukraine, in a little town called Beijing. Actually, when I started to go to school, especially the fifth grade, a principle every Monday asked, “Have you been in the church Sunday?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “How many times have I told you to quit going to church?” I said, “Well, I like to go to church. I love God. I love Jesus. I want to go to church.” She said, “If you don’t stop going to church, we will burn your home.” My daddy was in jail many times because the principle told my dad, “Well, if they go to church we will keep them from school to punish them.” They put Daddy in jail many, many times. Daddy did not drink water for two weeks or have food, but he made it. We would support Daddy and year after year we had faith.
I made the decision to be baptized. We had to hide it. I had to walk a long way on a train track. It was dark. I was baptized in the river on March 16th. It was frosting. We had to jump into the cold river. It was three o’clock at night, but we made it. It was very difficult.
After we finished high school, I wanted to be a chef. Me and my dad went to college and brought documents that the college needed. She said, “What do you want to be?” I said, “I want to be a chef.” Right away she asked me the question (I don’t know how she knew), “Are you a Christian?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “We don’t take shtunda.” (Shtunda means “bad Christian”). Shtunda!
I tried looking for a job. Everybody asked me, “Are you a Christian? Are you a Christian? We don’t take Christians.” But I find it. I was working in a day care. As soon as they found out that I was a Christian, they said, “Nope, we don’t want to keep you any longer.” I had to change a lot of jobs because they found out I was a Christian. In 1989 American president opened the door, and we made paper Visa and came to America. It was so excitable, and we were just looking at everything like, “Will this be different?” We go to church, no problem. Nobody persecuting you. They were so nice. You have a freedom here to baptize. You don’t have to hide. You don’t have to worry about it publicly.