Stories From The Field

Changed Lives in Romania

Hi! My name is Octavian Ciudesnic, but my friends call me Tavi. I am a missionary pastor in Icoana, Olt County, in the south of Romania. In 2015 I graduated from the Baptist Theological Institute in Bucharest, Romania, where I also took all of the YMI-sponsored youth ministry training courses.

In 2017 my wife and I moved to Icoana where we wanted to bring the gospel of Christ to every creature. Not long after beginning my ministry here, the Lord use me to lead a young man, Ababei Sebastian, who had just turned his life over to Christ.  I discipled him according to the training I received from Phil Rice at a the seminary in Bucharest. Thanks so much to Phil Rice and YMI for equipping me to minister to the youth in Romania like Ababei. May there be many, many more youth come to Christ!

Below is Ababei’s story in his own words:

One way God used Tavi in my life was to set a good example. After becoming a follower of Jesus, Tavi spent much time with me. He was like a parent for me. We read the Bible together and prayed together.  He helped me understand my Bible and cared about me and watched over me.

I was raised in a Christian family with Christian principles, my grandfather being the first person in my village to turn to the Lord Savior. I went to a little church with my family and heard you had to have a relationship with Christ, but I did not understand that. I thought it was enough to go to church once a week and pray. 

As I grew up, I began to attend church less and less. As I went through the 10th and 11th grades my life was heading down the wrong path, and I began to get involved in things like sports betting at a gambling agency where I went every day. There was a desire to earn money and to be someone. Then at the age of 19, I moved to the city of Brasov with a desire to have money and a career. However, my problems continued – and got worse.

I started drinking with the boys in the apartment where I was living and with whom I worked at my company. I was thirsty for fame and fortune, but I started to drink more and my salary was spent on gambling.

Then one day after playing basketball with one of my friends, one of them said to me, “Do you want to do something even more fun?”  I said yes. After playing basketball we took a walk and my friend handed me what I thought was a cigarette, and he and I both smoked, but then I realized it was a drug. I asked him what it was, and he told me it was cannabis. Soon my life became darker and darker as I got more involved in gambling, alcohol and drugs. I felt a profound state of guilt and wanted to somehow go back to God, but I could not as I had given Satan authority over my life, just as Adam and Eve had done in the Garden of Eden.

Whenever I wanted to turn to God, Satan would whisper to me, “What God, what God? Where is God?”  I had come to no longer believe that God was even there, even though He had been there all the time. 

After six months I lost my job. I returned to my home in Icoana where I continued to live my out of control life, even though I did not like doing these things at all. My life was a wreck and continued to become darker.

But God’s light would soon begin to come into my life. One day my mom came to me to in an effort to help me change my life. She asked me to listen to a Christian song that was very different than the genre of music I was currently listening to. The song was called “Turn Young”. The Holy Spirit illuminated my heart through this song.

Through loneliness, and the Holy Spirit searching my heart, I decided one day to listen once again to that song. While listening, the Holy Spirit came upon me so deeply that I began to cry. It was at that moment that I turned to Christ and asked his forgiveness. The sense of guilt went away and I felt a strong burning in my heart. Peace, love and quietness began to encompass me.

On that day, June 2017, I was born again. From that day my life of drinking, gambling, drugs and smoking was turned completely around.

Tavi continues to disciple and mentor me. Now, I only live with and for the Lord, desiring very much to serve Him.

Thank you YMI for equipping Tavi to disciple me as a new Christian. I will forever be grateful!

Sincerely,

Ababei Icoana (Romania)