Testimony of Max Ciobanu, saxophonist of the band NOT AN IDOL

I am 31 years old and I am married to the most beautiful woman, Vera Ciobanu, whom I love very much.

I was born in a simple family from the country, from Țărăncuța village, Cantemir district. My parents baptized me as a child in the Orthodox Church, according to ancestral tradition. We moved to Chisinau when I was little. I lived near the Dendrarium Park in Chisinau. My brother Sergiu and I went to the Sunday school nearby. Two Korean Christian missionaries, John and Anna, gathered all the children together and studied the Bible and learned Christian songs. Many children gathered there, because it was interesting, unusual and cheerful. I also had toys, candy and fresh water.

One summer I went to a camp with them. One evening at the program, a group of girls were singing Christian songs but they were singing a little shyly and falsely. I stood up and hissed to “encourage” them. I don’t know what was on my mind, but I gave free rein to my earthly nature. After a discussion with the teacher, I was very ashamed of what I did. In my room I repented and asked God for forgiveness.

When I was in the 5th grade, my family and I moved to another part of the city and lost all contact with the believers. My father went to work abroad, and my mother at home tried to keep me and my younger brother in line.

When I was in the 8th grade, I asked my father to take me to the art school “V. Poleacov” to learn to play the clarinet, because I really liked it. Since the age of 7 I have played the whistle and I also sang in the Lia Ciocârlia choir. I was very passionate about music. At one of the solfeggio lessons, a colleague asked me to help him at dictation and so we started talking. My vocabulary was full of “colorful terms” and my colleague Sergiu warned me as soon as I noticed that he was a Christian and asked me not to speak ugly and rude words. Sergiu invited me to the brass band of the Christian charity mission “Salvation Army.” There I recognized the songs I learned as a child, such as “This is the day the Lord has made” and others. I was so glad I got to play there. I remember well that moment of reunion with Christians. It was as if I were flying with joy.

God blessed me and I finished my studies at the art school, then the music high school “Ciprian Porumbescu.” After high school I also graduated from the Academy of Arts of Moldova. I also became a member of the “Salvation Army” mission and a brass band conductor. I was then invited to play in the brass band at Bethel Church. I told my parents and they were very happy. They heard about this church from their parents when they lived in Țărăncuța. I remember how my grandmother used to take me by the hand to the village church. I think my grandparents prayed a lot for our repentance.

Over time, many questions arose about life, marriage, faith, but no answers. My life with God cooled and I became an angry Christian, without peace and without ideas for the future. I wanted a change and started studying English at the ENGLISH FOR A NEW LIFE school.

I really enjoyed the method of teaching English at this school, along with Bible study. I also started attending youth meetings and I really enjoyed it.

After a while of studying English, I also went to the ENGLISH FOR A NEW LIFE camp. It was the same camp in Vatici where I went when I was a child. There I studied English and the Bible course “Marriage Without Regrets.”

For the first time then I met the girl who would become my wife in 3 years. This is a special story. God has miraculously worked on this, as He knows how to do when you let Him lead you through fasting and prayer, without flirting and meetings. At that camp, the pastor Alexei Tentiuc approached me and asked me if I did not want to be baptized. The day before this question, I repented at the sermon of Pastor Vasile Filat. The Lord had convicted me then for my hardened heart.

Following a Bible study about baptism, I realized that this was God’s command and that it was not right to procrastinate with its fulfillment.

Now I am reconciled with God, I am a Christian and together with my wife we are members of the “Buna Vestire” church in Chisinau.

I thank the Lord that He has left us His Word and that we can have a living relationship with Him, being free from all religious customs and forms.

“It is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you. (Hosea 10:12b NASB)

Translated by Olya Trikolich