word of knowledge
Communist Defector Finds God After Miracle Healing
By Tim Smith
The 700 Club
Stoian Iankov is a man of the sea – a proud fisherman for over 40 years. His story begins in his homeland of Communist Bulgaria.
“When I was a kid, my dad started taking me fishing. And he took me fishing one Sunday, and that’s when it all started. We caught more fish than anyone else around us, and I was on fire for fishing. Later on, I finished the 8th grade and getting ready to go to middle school, to learn a trade, I noticed that the only people that could leave the country were the fisherman. They were the only ones who could leave the country. I wanted to go to fishing school, so that’s what I did in 1972.”
Stoian went to a military sponsored fishing school. He learned his craft well, but he was also taught something else.
“You’re in an environment where you are constantly brainwashed to believe in that system of Communism/Socialism, and Atheism and Evolution. You have to understand there is no personal freedom in Communism and Socialism. Everything is controlled by the government, and you did what the government told you to.”
He completed the four-year program, and Stoian’s first assignment was aboard the first Bulgarian vessel to trawl off the northwest coast of the United States. But Stoian had other plans.
“Everyone’s dream, at that time, was to defect and live in the United States, in a country so powerful and so advanced. We all knew how advanced the United States was, but we didn’t know how much.”
While their boat was docked in Portland, Stoian and two other crewmen left the boat. A guard stopped them on the gangplank.
“His job was to make sure no one came on the vessel, or left. But once every hour he has to go around the ship and check everything. He said, ‘Where are you guys going?’ We said, ‘We’re defecting.’ He said, ‘No, you’re not.’ And we said, ‘Why not?’ Basically, he didn’t want to be a witness, so he said, ‘Every hour I have to go around the ship, so when I disappear out of view, just go ahead and leave.’”
It was that simple. Stoian was free. He got a job right away as a crewman on a local trawler. As the years went by, he worked his way up to part owner of a trawler, making routine trips to Alaska. He soon met Angelique and they married in 1986. She was a Christian, but Stoian wasn’t.
“He was this big, tough, ornery, Alaskan fisherman,” says Angelique. “‘Get out of my way, I’m coming through, and I don’t care.’”
“My wife had tried to talk to me about God and Jesus, but I rejected it, because of my background,” says Stoian. “And just striving to be the best at what I was doing.”
“He’d get really angry when I’d mention God, or try to talk about God. So after a while, I just stopped,” says Angelique.
Decades of hard work took their toll on Stoian, and he developed excruciating sciatica in his back and leg.
“He was in a lot of pain,” remembers Angelique, “and it had increased to the point where he was immobile. And Stoian had been in this recliner sleeping and laying, sitting for at least a week and a half.”
As the pain got worse, Stoian watched more television. One day, Angelique had an idea.
“She took the channel changer away from me, and you guys know what that means when the man doesn’t have the channel changer. And, she put a tape in.”
“My mother had sent us this video,” adds Angelique, “and of course it was these incredible stories of miracles, healings, and people being saved.”
“At the end of the tape when Pat Robertson started talking about this man that sitting in a chair with excruciating pain, it was basically describing me exactly down to the last detail,” says Stoian. “It was me, and that’s what got my attention. And then at the end when he said ‘In the name of Jesus, you are healed, get up and walk’ it really got my attention.”
“And I looked at him, and I said, ‘What are you waiting for? Stand up.’ And he stood up.”
“When I got up off the chair and I started walking around, and I was shaking my leg, there was no pain. There was zero pain.” says Stoian. “I knew right then there was a God. I started believing in God right then, and right there.”
“When you feel the power of God coming over you, it’s like no other feeling,” says Angelique. “You know God is there.”
“Ever since that day, my back has been pain free,” says Stoian. “There is no pain.”
Stoian became a Christian that day. He and Angelique joined a church, and were baptized together.
“That was a key turning point in our lives, that healing because we both experienced that at the exact same moment,” says Angelique. “God began to work and move in our lives from that point, and He kept on.”
Stoian’s journey as a fisherman started over 40 years ago, and he’s still going strong today. He has his own boat and crew, and continues to fish in Alaska when he’s not working from his home office.
“If someone who was born and raised in a communist country, and being brainwashed in evolution theory, which has no legs to stand on – if someone like that can come to this country and be saved, and become a believer in God, and a follower of Jesus, then there is hope for everyone else,” says Stoian. “Because I rejected God all my life, until God got a hold of me and told me that He can do all kinds of things for me. All I have to do is ask Him. And that’s all it takes, for you to ask God and He will come into your heart. And He will change your life, and you will never be the same.”
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