“My parents were communists, and my mother was even the secretary of the Communist Party in our area. I was their only child, and I had all that I wished for. For us, life in the Soviet Union was good.”
At age 15, however, the world of Rusnac Alexander began to unravel.
When Rusnac left home to study at a technical school, he fell in with the wrong crowd. Four years later he returned home a different young man—one that was addicted to drugs. “My parents and doctors tried to help me,” Rusnac told me, “but it was hopeless.”
Rusnac then came up with his own idea: “If I marry and have a family, then I’ll be able to shake off this addiction” he reasoned. He eventually found a wife, Svetlana, and together they started a family, but Rusnac didn’t find deliverance from the chemicals he hated.
When Rusnac’s mother heard about a friend’s son who was delivered from his drug addiction through prayer, she decided to seek God for her own son. In the process, she found the Lord herself and repeatedly shared her faith with Rusnac. He wasn’t interested, however, convinced that he “didn’t need God.”
Four criminal convictions over the next ten years didn’t get Rusnac’s attention either. After contracting tuberculosis—and watching three friends die of the disease—he began to fear for his life. He worried about what would happen to his two children if their father were gone. Redoubling his efforts, Rusnac made yet another attempt to quit his habit—but failed again.
Rusnac ultimately admitted himself into a rehabilitation center in Bucha, Ukraine. During his treatment for his addiction and tuberculosis, he stopped running from God. Finally realizing that Jesus was his only solution, he repented and invited Him to take control of the life he’d dragged to such an abysmal depth. Three weeks later Rusnac returned home a new creation in Christ, delivered from his addiction and healed of tuberculosis!
Thankful for God’s great mercy, Rusnac felt called to help others caught in the same chains that had held him. He began ministering in prisons, and in 2005 opened a rehabilitation center in his home city of Mihailovka, Transnistria, a tiny, unrecognized nation sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova. This economically depressed area—where a general sense of hopelessness has driven more than a quarter of Transnistria’s citizens to seek escape through drugs and alcohol—is Rusnac’s mission field.
I learned about Rusnac and his ministry from a trusted partner in Romania. That partner told me about Rusnac’s success in leading addicts to Christ, discipling them at his dilapidated rehab facility, and seeing them delivered. Since then I’ve corresponded with Rusnac at length and learned of his ministry’s greatest needs. Now, through gifts to Heaven’s Family’s Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund, we’re significantly partnering with him (see the “Bigger Picture” below). Later this year, I’ll personally be visiting Rusnac and the men he is serving. Together we’ll rejoice in our partnership in the King’s business of “setting the captives free” (see Luke 4:18)!