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Entries in Naberezhnye Chelny (1)


Victor Immanuel's Desire to Help & Heal

Victor and Natasha Immanuel, the Directors of Charis Bible College Naberezhyne Chelny, Russia. (Click to enlarge)Victor Immanuel was born and raised in Vellore, Tamilnadu in India. In 2001, he moved to Russia to study medicine and become a doctor. While studying to help and heal people in St. Petersburg, he had an encounter with the Gospel and met the true Healer, Jesus.

Victor was raised in a home with mixed religious beliefs; his mother was a Christian, while his father preferred to follow Hindu practices. As a teenager, Victor leaned more toward his father's belief in an acceptance of all gods. This leaning changed however, when at the age of 17 he came across a dead dog wasting away in the street. The sight of the dog's rotting carcass prompted Victor to ask himself deep questions: Would he end up like the dog in the street? What was after death? Why was he alive at all? These questions and many others troubled Victor, to the point that he sought the council of local religious leaders. Hindu leaders told him that after death he would go to God or to hell or come back as an animal, depending upon how he lived his life prior to death. They gave him a list of rules and regulations to follow to get to God. When Victor asked if they could guarantee (with one hundred Victor and his family. Victor was born and raised in Vellore, Tamilnadu in India. (Click to enlarge)percent certainty) that he would go to God if he followed all the rules, they said, no. Frightened by the Hindu leaders' lack of security, Victor asked Muslim friends the same questions. Their rule and regulation-rich answers were delivered with similar uncertainty.

Finally, Victor turned to Christian friends for answers; these friends brought Victor to their pastor. The pastor shared the gospel with Victor. Doubting the simplicity of believing in Christ's finished work for salvation, Victor asked the pastor for a one hundred percent guarantee. The pastor's reply startled Victor, "Not 100%...200%! I am sure you will be with God, if you trust in Jesus." Victor Victor ministering during his first mission trip to Chelny (Click to enlarge)received Jesus after his conversation with the pastor.

A short time later, as Victor was seeking the Lord about His plan for his life, he sensed the Lord leading him to Russia. "He said he had a ministry for me in Russia," said Victor. He kept the Lord's words in his heart, and he moved to Russia with the intent to study medicine.

Upon settling in St. Petersburg, Victor became involved with a local church. During one service, it was announced that Carrie Pickett, a Charis Bible College graduate and missionary from Colorado, was going to host bible school classes in the evenings. Victor was excited by the thought of studying medicine during the day and studying the Bible at night.

Victor sitting with mentor, teacher and friend, Mike Pickett, Co-director of CBTC and AWM-Russia, watching Andrew speak during his visit to St. Petersburg, Russia, (Click to enlarge)It was through his evening studies with Carrie that Victor was introduced to Andrew's ministry. Although he frequently heard Carrie mention Andrew by name, he was not terribly interested in him because he had never seen Andrew in person. In 2008, Victor's perspective about Andrew and Christianity was radically transformed when Andrew visited St. Petersburg. Victor said, "Andrew spoke on Spirit, Soul & Body and Believer's Authority, and this totally changed my life... I got the understanding of who I am in the spirit, what kind of power is living inside me, and how to use the [believer's] authority. [Andrew] demonstrated this by healing people. I found what I had been seeking. I went to Andrew's website and downloaded all the teachings. Every day, for four hours, I listened to him, and I got a very good grip on the word of God."

Victor visits with men from a drug rehab. He has seen many healings in this facility. (Click to enlarge)Victor continued his studies enrolling in classes at Charis Bible Training Center. As he grew in the Word, he desired to see the power of God manifest through him; he was looking for an opportunity to see people healed and raised from the dead. In August of 2009, he came across a woman lying in the street. The woman was motionless, and her mother stood nearby crying. Victor stopped to help, and as he supported the woman's head, he prayed in tongues. He heard Holy Spirit instruct him to lay his hand on her heart. Victor spoke and said, "Heart work in the name of Jesus." Immediately, she started breathing, stood up and began walking around."I was so excited to see this happen, to see the word of God accomplished its work; I was so happy," recalled Victor.

Victor's second mission trip to Chelny. He prayed for this boys deaf ears to hear, and they were opened.
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Victor's experience set his ministry in motion. He has seen many other manifestations of God's power since that day. Following his encounters with God, Victor's desire to be a doctor began to wane. He knew he had the power of God on the inside of him—the power to heal and help others, and although he was still in medical school, he turned his full attention to ministry.

One other person had a significant impact on Victor's life as well, CBTC graduate, Natasha Starikova. At first, Victor knew of Natasha only by name, through the church he attended in St. Petersburg. After her CBTC graduation, Natasha became a missionary, and the church often prayed for her as she traveled to foreign countries. Victor put a face with her name in 2010, when she returned to CBTC to Victor and Natasha were married in 2010. (Click to enlarge)teach several leadership classes. The two finally met during Victor's mission trip to Naberezhnye Chelny late in 2010. Victor and Natasha witnessed many miracles on the trip, and had the opportunity to discuss their stories and the desires of their hearts—sharing their passions for Christ. The two had an instant connection, and within days they knew they were to be partners for life. They were married on November 27, 2010.

Eventually, Victor's practice of placing a higher priority on his call to ministry than his medical studies cost him his medical degree, and that is fine with him. Today Victor and Natasha run a CBC extension school in Naberezhnye Chelny and Victor pastors a church called, God's Love, which he planted there two years ago. With regard to his pursuit of ministry Victor said, "Basically I found my ministry place, my wife, provision—everything—just because I chose to follow my heart. I lost my Victor speaking during the commencement ceremony for CBC-Naberezhnye Chelny's first graduating class. (L-R: Victor, Natasha, Andrew, his translator, Vladimir Tcys, Carrie and Mike Pickett).
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medical degree, but I [gained] the most valuable persons and things in my life. I never feel sorry for myself because I don`t have a medical degree. I produce better results as a son of God than as a medical doctor! I've seen a lady raised from the dead. I've seen HIV patients healed, blind eyes and deaf ears opened, coma patients raised up, broken legs healed, tuberculosis and hepatitis C healed, allergies healed, and many, many more. I've produced better results using God's word than using medical knowledge. I am not against medical doctors, but I am not called to be one!"