From childhood I have always loved playing football.  And when there was a chance to be chosen for the team at school, I rapidly went forward.  I very much wanted to become a good footballer and play for the team.  My dream came true, first they invited me into a special class and then I played in the team.

Then I got into the Olympic team.  And then it happened that returning from a game as we were journeying through a mountain pass the bus’s brakes stopped working.  The bus began to pick up speed quickly,  Thank God, there was an emergency slip road we succeeded in turning into.  When we got there the driver managed to stop the bus.  We jumped out of it and at that moment we saw that a big lorry was coming round the bend.  We realised that we could have run into it.  In that instant I was afraid for real.  I did not want to die at 19 years of age.  From then on I thought seriously about death and the fear of death began to be present in my life.

When I came to the end of my football career, thoughts about the meaning of life, the purpose of life, became a constant feature.  Thoughts of death gave me no peace.  I began to drink.  I tried to deafen everything.  I lost my family, my work, my friends.  I moved to the village of Krasnaya Ryechka.  And here the event which changed my life took place.  I met brother A (afterwards I learned that he was a graduate of EMC).  He told me about Christ.  I found the meaning and purpose of life.  My fear of death passed away.  I was able to realise that when the following situation occurred.

It happened that, returning from a visit to friends, two of my companions decided to take me home.  Having got into the back seat of the car, I began to pray before the journey, and they waited during that time without moving from where we were.  Then we set off.  On the road as we approached a crossroads, in front of us came a car going through a red light, straight across our road.  My companions looked round at me in fright.  We understood that the time we had spent in prayer had saved our lives.  I had no fear then.  I felt an inner peace and calm. I was sure that if I died I would go to heaven.