From the life of Ivan Mileyev
A young man of twelve years old sat behind the shoulders of fellow choir members. Although the authorities prohibited church involvement at such a young age, he played on the church organ accompanying beautiful singing of the choir in a church at Simferopol. The musician couldn’t be seen. At that time in 1972, the church at Simferopol was large—about 500 people, and was active in ministering to God. It was my school where I developed both spiritually, as well as musically.
I was born and raised in a Christian family. My father Vladimir was a deacon, and my mother sang in a choir. At the age of sixteen, there came a time when I realized that my involvement in the music ministry, and even Bible knowledge, does not automatically make me a Christian. A personal decision to follow Jesus Christ is required. After repenting, I was baptized along with about 30 other members of the youth in Simferopol in 1976. I will never forget the beauty of nature, the waves of the Black Sea, the singing of the choir, the flowers, the instruction of church’ pastors, and my promise to serve Christ and to be faithful to Him for the rest of my life.
At 16, I was in charge of a youth choir which sounded especially well with all the young voices. After finishing the conductor courses in Moscow. I took the advice of E. S. Goncharenko and B. Berezhniy and enrolled in Kiev Musical School. At this time I was active in the music ministry at the Kiev Central Church as a choir and orchestra conductor. In 1986, I enrolled in a Conservatory in Odessa for conducting studies.
My life was devoted to music ministry, and I thought that this was what the Lord called me for. After moving to the United States in 1992, I was serving in music ministry in Hollywood Slavic Church. After moving to Minnesota, I was also serving in the same ministry at the local Russian Baptist Church.
The moment when God called me to the preaching ministry came as a huge surprise. While being at the new church in Bloomington, I was leading a Sunday school for adults. At that point I realized that in addition to the music ministry, the love for the Word of God was also part of my life. I realized that God gave me a spiritual gift of teaching, and the local church members noticed the same thing. At a point when I was faced with a decision of a future ministry, the church anonymously elected me to be a pastor. After this, I studied at a few seminaries, and ministered in the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2007 I was invited to be a missionary as a church planter in SBC California, and because of that I moved to Clovis with my family.
My wife Elena has been a huge support in ministry. God gave us four children: Anna, Alina, Aleksey, and Mark who all live in California. From the beginning of 2016 I have been serving as a strategist in church planting of North American Mission Board. I consider it my privilege to minister to the churches of our Slavic brotherhood which I love very much.