Mitia [MEE-tyah] was the son of a crime syndicate godfather. His father was rich and powerful, and Mitia admired him. Mitia quit school and started his own criminal business with his father’s guidance. Soon Mitia was enjoying the riches of crime, just as his father did.
Then two of Mitia’s employees were arrested. They named Mitia, and police went to arrest him. But someone warned Mitia, and he fled before the police arrived. He hid in a neighboring country to wait until it was safe to return home.
While in hiding, someone gave Mitia some Christian literature. It spoke of a life based on love and forgiveness and obedience. Mitia wondered if such a life could be possible.
The literature referred to the Bible, and Mitia searched for one. He found one in a pile of old books in the market. Once he began reading, he couldn’t put it down. Who was this Jesus whose life had changed so many people—people like him? As he read, his former life no longer appealed to him. He yearned for the peace, the hope, and the love he saw in Jesus.
Mitia wanted to tell his family what he had discovered. But as soon as he arrived home, he was arrested. His two former employees had been sentenced to death, and Mitia knew that he faced the same fate.
In prison Mitia found comfort in reading his Bible and sharing God’s message of forgiveness with the other prisoners. To his surprise, he was released from prison.
Mitia remembered a Christian neighbor and went to ask her questions about God that puzzled him. She recognized Mitia and had reason to fear him, but she invited him in. Soon they were reading the Bible verses that answered Mitia’s questions. She invited him to join a small group of Christians who worshipped in a house on Sabbath. Mitia went and was amazed to realize that the Adventists taught everything he had read in the Bible.
When Mitia’s former friends invited him to party or take drugs, Mitia responded, “I’m done with those things. I have a new life now centered in God.” Indeed, God’s love so transformed Mitia’s life that many who knew him listened as he told them that Jesus wants to be their Lord, as well.
Today this former son of a crime family spends his time leading others to Jesus. One piece of literature changed his life. Our mission offerings help provide literature that can lead thousands like Mitia God. Thank you for helping to tell the world God loves them.
Mitia Ismailov lives in Kazakhstan.