Ivan Voronaev went from Cossack to Christian, from American immigrant to returning back to Ukraine, as a pastor. It only took a 9 year old girl and her neighbor to change his life.
His neighbor Annie (left) invited Ivan's daughter Vera to her church. Vera received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Her daddy wanted that, too. She prayed with him and he got it.
Travel back then was by boat. Here is one boat the Voronaevs traveled on
He received the call from God to go back to his homeland. Are you nuts? he might have asked. But he answered the call. His homeland was no longer Ukraine or Russia, it was a new land called the Soviet Union.
Ivan, wife Ekaterina and their two oldest children.
Getting into Soviet Union was not as easy as it might sound. Eventually they got their papers and returned to their homeland.
The people in the Soviet Union were so hungry for God. No half baked believers there. You were all in or all out.
Voronaev center sits with some of the pastors in his Pentacostal Union. On his left, Vasil Pavlov sits. We feature his story in two shows.
By 1927 the rules in Soviet Union had changed. Soviet leadership thought the Orthodox church had been properly put down and they began working on suppressing this new Pentecostal movement. 800 pastors were rounded up and sent to prison. When Voronaev had his turn, his wife took over his ministry. In her 50s, she would end up spending 25 years in Soviet gulag.
While Ivan Voroanev would earn his martyr's crown in 1937, his wife was released just before the 2nd largest Revival in the 1950s where 1.3 million Soviets found Christ. While over 12 million Christians or new converts would die behind bars, the Soviet Union was never able to put out the flames of what they called an inferno. We just call it Revival Fire. Ekaterina's children had emigrated safely to America and they helped her emigrate spending her final years with her family