Eugene Kozachenko's Testimony
There are about 50 million people living in my own country, Ukraine. I was born in the city of Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine, in 1974. The city is a big industrial center and is called the industrial heart of the Ukraine. The region has many coalmines and steel plants producing metal products, such as steel pipes, etc. My father was half Jewish and for many years worked at a big plant in our city, which has about 1.2 million people. Being ambitious, he moved up the corporate ladder of success, and when I was about thirteen he became a trade union boss, where he oversaw the work of all the trade unions, seeing that the workers are treated fairly. My mother was a teacher of English at the high school in the city. This is perhaps where I got my great love of languages. But looking back I see how God used all of the above to bring me to Himself and use me further.
I entered the University in 1992 in the foreign languages and literature department. I graduated from the University in 1997 with a Master’s Degree in Foreign Language and Literature, so I have specialized skills qualifying me to be a teacher and a professional translator. When I was a second year student in 1993, someone told me that if I wanted to meet Americans and to practice my English, and also be paid for my services, that it would be a great opportunity. I was told the American group was staying at the ‘Dneipropetrovsk’ Hotel and that I should meet them there the next day. So I did.
The following morning I skipped my classes and went to meet the Americans. I was introduced to the leader of the group – Dr. Henry Benach at the hotel entrance, and he said, We are going to put you to a test, and he spoke rapidly to me, asking me if I understood what he was saying. Yes, sir, I replied. That’s how I was hired and assigned to two Americans as their translator. Their names were Mack Burton and his brother, Archie. So, since I had my father’s car that day, which he as not aware of, we drove around town doing street preaching.
I worked for three days with the group and then they all moved on to another city. But this is when I got saved, in September of the year 1993.
I was an unsaved person, translating street sermons, asking questions like: What is redemption? I also asked, What is Calvary? Pastor Mack Burton answered my questions and I was able to repeat the words as he preached, though I did not understand the meanings. One evening, however, we sat down together and it was then that Brother Burton explained it all to me, and that is when I got saved. My life was transformed.
I continued as a translator and in 1993, I served as a part-time translator for the IBJM group when they returned to Ukraine. Then in 1994 I traveled with the group, and in 1995, I moved up to be a second translator, and in 1996 I became the main translator for the witnessing team. Then, in the years 1997, 1998 and 1999, I worked as the coordinator for the trips in the Ukraine, making all the arrangements.
So, you see, I am a product of Missions, reached for Christ in my own country by those who came from the States to tell us about Jesus.
In 1995, I invited Olga Vasilenko, my wife-to-be, to the big meeting at the hall, and then to the hotel where the team was staying. It was there that she had a talk with an elderly preacher and as a result, she accepted Christ. About two weeks later, Olga and I were married. In 1999, God gave us a precious little baby girl named Dasha, our son Nikita in 2001, our daughter Sophia in 2004 and Evan in 2006.Ever since I have been saved I have wanted to work for the Lord. My father wanted me to become a businessman. However, I never worked for the world a day in my life.
For about a year and a half I helped in a work with orphanages in the Zhitomir region, but for years I had reservations about the Jewish people. Many people blame the Jews for all sorts of things and sometimes even Christians have ill feelings toward them, and that grieves my heart. Henry Benach talked to me in 1998 and encouraged me to become a missionaryto the Jews, but I hesitated. In 1999, I came to the States with a singing quartet where I translated for them and we had meetings with Evangelist Glenn Mathews, who has a real love for the Jewish people. At the Holocaust Museum in Miami, Florida, I completely surrendered my life to work among the Jews. Mike King, a fellow missionary, had taken me there, and my heart was touched by the suffering and persecution of the Jewish people. I cried and told the Lord that I loved His chosen people and wanted to see them saved.
Praise the Lord since year 2000 He has involved us in His work among the Jews and gentiles of Ukraine, city of Dnipro. Two independent Baptist churches were started and dozens of Jews and hundreds of Gentiles saved throughout these years. To Him be the glory for all He has done! Amen!